the eleventh day of Christmas

I hope you all had a wonderful, safe Christmas. We had tons of sunshine & mimosa, while we stayed tucked inside our apartment. Today, my family arrives for continued Christmas celebrations, which include making tartiflette for my sister’s birthday–a recipe I can’t wait to share with you!

I owed you this days ago, but I didn’t have the time to do the research. On day the ninth day of Christmas, I reviewed frankincense, one of the original gifts of Christmas. On Christmas day, I finally had time to do a bit of research on myrrh.

Myrrh

Like frankincense, myrrh was incredibly valuable in ancient times–& as frankincense struggles, modern-day demand for myrrh is increasing. According to the LA Times,

Frankincense, used in perfumes and incense, is faltering. Fifty Christmases from now, production of the fragrant resin could be down by 90% due to threats from fire, grazing and destructive beetles, according to the British Ecological Society’s Journal of Applied Ecology this week.

The value of these two substances, both which harden to resins after seeping from gashes cut in the trees (said to be a reminder of the gashes Jesus suffered at the end of his life), have remained high since Jesus’ time.

One (random) site says, “Because myrrh was used in the embalming or anointing of the dead, it came to represent mortality, suffering, and sorrow,” & is associated with “bitter repentance, mortification of the flesh, and penance.” While we no longer associate myrrh with embalming, many still value its healing qualities.

Over its history, myrrh has been used in place of morphine (when it was frequently mixed with wine), as an expensive perfume or an ointment for “hemlock poisoning, leprosy, worms, snakebites, diarrhea, plague, scurvy and even baldness,”*  as well as ” wrinkled, chapped, and cracked skin”*

Where are you most likely to find myrrh? Many natural health shops still have bottles of myrrh oil, used topically to sooth pain, or in incense form.   It is also commonly used in toothpaste.* For a crazy weekend, try making your own myrrh toothpaste!

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About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
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One Response to the eleventh day of Christmas

  1. Pingback: 12 days of Christmas are coming! | francofile

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