When you think about the holiday season, a certain aroma probably comes to mind. It conjures images of a warm, crackling fire, steaming mugs of mulled wine, and a hint of freshly baked cookies in the air.
Certain scents have the power to transport your mind to a particular time, place, or feeling. Some of these scents are easy to name but others, though familiar, are more difficult to identify. One of the fragrances you’ll most certainly recognize but may not be able to name is myrrh.
Used throughout history in incense, perfumery, and medicine, myrrh is a classic fragrance found in a variety of LAFCO products. Read on to learn more about this scent and its benefits.
What is Myrrh?
Myrrh is not an herb or flower, but a natural gum or resin extracted from a certain type of thorny tree (genus Commiphora). You may recall its inclusion in the Bible story about the three wisemen bringing gifts to the newborn king: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Both frankincense and myrrh are resins.
Derived most frequently from the species Commiphora myrrha, myrrh gum is harvested by repeatedly wounding the tree to bleed the gum. When a wound penetrates the tree’s bark into the sapwood, the tree secretes resin to close the wound. Myrrh gum has a waxy consistency and coagulates very quickly but becomes hard and glossy after harvesting. The process of steam distillation is used to extract myrrh oil from the gum, yielding an amber-colored oil with an earthy scent.
The word myrrh comes from the Semitic root m-r-r meaning “bitter” and it entered the English language through use in the Hebrew Bible. In Ancient Greece, a related word (múron) came to be used as a general term for perfume. In addition to its use in perfumery, myrrh was used by ancient Egyptians for embalming mummies.
The Health Benefits of Myrrh
In traditional Chinese medicine, myrrh is assigned a neutral temperature but classified as bitter and spicy. It offers “blood-moving” powers and is recommended for circulatory problems as well as amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea. While myrrh moves the blood, frankincense moves the qi. The combination of the two is a common treatment for arthritic conditions. In Ayurvedic medicine, myrrh is valued for its tonic and rejuvenating properties.
In more modern times, myrrh still offers a variety of uses in natural and alternative medicine. Here are some of the benefits:
- Myrrh oil kills bacteria and other microbes – burning the incense of frankincense and myrrh can decrease airborne bacteria.
- The natural antimicrobial properties of myrrh make it a valuable addition to natural mouthwash and toothpaste – it has also been used to treat oral infections and inflammation.
- It has been used to treat skin wounds and infections – several studies have shown potential for myrrh oil in treating fungal skin infections and improving wound healing.
- Myrrh oil contains compounds that block the production of inflammatory chemicals that cause swelling and pain – they also interact with opioid receptors in the brain to mask pain.
- It offers powerful antioxidant properties which may help combat oxidative damage from free radicals which contribute to aging and certain diseases.
- When added to sunscreen, myrrh oil may help block ultraviolet rays – it isn’t, however, as effective as the sunscreen itself when used alone.
Myrrh oil is safe to use topically when diluted with carrier oil or can be inhaled through aromatherapy applications. It has an earthy aroma that blends well with citrus, spicy, and floral scents like lemon, frankincense, and lavender. Myrrh combines particularly well with frankincense in part due to their complementary fragrances, but they also create synergy, an interaction that boosts the benefits of both.
Popular LAFCO Products Featuring Myrrh
The earthy, smoky scent of myrrh creates a warm, sensual atmosphere but it can also be quite inspiring. Perfect for use in the bedroom, myrrh also works well in the study. A LAFCO scented candle is the ideal application for subtle fragrance, or a reed diffuser for a lasting aroma and understated ambiance.
Enjoy the sensual scent of myrrh in the following LAFCO products:
- Myrrh Cassis – Create a warm, relaxing atmosphere with this velvety combination of myrrh resin, sweet tobacco flower, and fresh black currant. You’ll catch hints of warm patchouli and cedarwood entwined with the floral scent of Osmanthus in perfect harmony.
- Amber – Ideal for the study, this smoky scent brings together the fresh scents of bergamot and coriander layered over a delicate combination of black orchid and myrrh. Hints of incense and labdanum coalesce into the rich, classic fragrance of golden amber in this scented candle.
If you’re looking for a complementary fragrance, try frankincense, sandalwood, or leather. The following LAFCO products pair perfectly with Myrrh Cassis and Amber:
- Vetiver Sage – The woody undertones of this warm fragrance complements the earthy aroma of myrrh. Presented in a beautiful art glass vessel, this candle adds a touch of warmth to any room.
- Feu de Bois – Fill your home with the gentle combination of sandalwood, leather, and frankincense using this 15-ounce reed diffuser. Also available in the Classic 6-ounce size, this product features natural wood reeds, essential oil-based fragrance, and an art glass vessel.
- Sandalwood – Bright notes of bergamot mingle with the warmth of oud wood, cedar, and sandalwood in this rich fragrance. The woody presentation fades to middle notes of waterlily and ylang ylang, settling into undertones of amber, vanilla, and cotton musk.
Enjoy the earthy aroma of myrrh in your own home or give it as a gift for the upcoming holidays. Myrrh pairs perfectly with classic holiday fragrances like Spiced Pomander, Frosted Pine and Winter Currant. Try all three in a trio of votive candles or create a custom gift with LAFCO holiday fragrances.