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Kings Bearing Gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh

With the celebration of Christmas, I wanted to write about the significance of the gifts the wise men brought the baby Jesus. According to story of Jesus related to me as a child, in the new testament the gospel of Matthew explains in Chapter 2, Verse 11, “and when they were to come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.” Today’s article will give some other considerations to the meaning of these gifts. All three of the gifts are used medicinally. The importance of these gifts offered benefits far beyond what we have expected.

Let’s begin with the gift of gold. I researched material from Ayurvedic sources. Ayurveda is the science of life according to the ancient healing system of India. All the metals have healing properties and have been used for over 3000 years in treating health conditions. Gold is an effective nerve tonic. It improves memory and intelligence, strengthens the heart muscle and increases stamina. It is good for hysteria, epilepsy, heart attacks, weak lung and spleen. It is said to improve memory and stimulates awareness. One way of taking gold internally that is safe according to Ayurveda is to make gold-medicated water. To prepare such water, place a gold coin or jewelry (I assume 24 karat) into 1 pint of water. Boil until the water is reduced to half or 1 cup. One tsp. of this water may be taken 3 times per day.

The next two gifts were frankincense and myrrh. It is assumed that these were used only as perfumes. Being related in the plant kingdom they are members of the gum family otherwise known as gum guggul. Both being used as fragrance essentials they offer similar properties. Those properties being able to calm the mind, strengthens the nerves, relieve restlessness, anxiety and fear and to counter hypersensitivity. They are said to be energizing yet grounding and stabilizing.

Let’s look at some of the other aspects of both of these herbs and their significance medicinally.

Myrrh, according to authoritative sources, is stated to possess antimicrobial, astringent, expectorant, carminative (gas relieving), antiseptic and vulnerary (wound healing) properties. Traditionally it has been used for ulcers, pharyngitis, phlegm, common cold, wounds and abrasions and specifically for mouth ulcers, and gingivitis.

It is considered to be anti-inflammatory and has been reported to have hypoglycemic (blood sugar lowering) effects. This was seen when it was combined with the herb aloe vera. In relation to side effects there have been none reported. It has been reported to be non-irritating, non sensitizing and non phototoxic to skin. It is contraindicated for those with diabetes, during pregnancy and lactation.

My personal use for myrrh has been in mouthwashes for gum disease and as an anti-staph and strep remedy for sore throats. High doses are not recommended and because of its somewhat bitter taste I don’t think that is a problem.

Let’s look at frankincense also known in the herbal world as boswellia.

Boswellia is used in many oriental perfumes and incense.

The main medical application is for the treatment of arthritis (osteo and rheumatoid) and other inflammatory diseases such as ulcerated colitis and psoriasis. It has been compared to numerous anti-inflammatory drugs and has proven to be effective with less toxicity. Indian authorities have approved it for use with the conditions mentioned above. Again it is not recommended during pregnancy. It is available in capsule form and in topical creams.

The last herb I want to mention is the cousin to frankincense and myrrh, which is called gum guggul. It is highly regarded for a variety of health problems ranging from arthritis to lipid disorders. Researchers began studying the clinical effectiveness of gum guggul based on a classic Ayurvedic medical text which described this herb for the treatment of obesity and disorders of fat. Clinical studies have proven that it lowers cholesterol and triglycerides as well as promoting weight loss. It has been compared to numerous lipid lowering drugs such as, Lopid, Mevacor and Clofibrate. Research shows that it is more effective and does not have side effects. It further states that it has cardioprotective properties and may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. There are no known side effects based on these clinical studies. It is considered non-toxic and is acceptable during pregnancy.

Before using any preparations mentioned above it is important to seek authoritative information concerning proper applications or consult with your health care professional.

As you can see herbs have been used for thousands of years. There are many references in the bible and other ancient materials that may give us clues to compounds found in plants that can have healing properties for many of our ailments.

Be well, healthy and happy!

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