Frankincense and Myrrh

Frankincense and myrrh together can be more effective…

Both frankincense and myrrh grow as shrubs or small trees and are from the botanical family of the Burseraceae.  They are produced today commercially in southern Arabia and in northeast Africa.  The original use of frankincense found its popularity for the mourning of the dead as incense in Egypt, whereas, in India it was used for worship.  Myrrh was once the embalming product of choice during the time of the pharaohs in Egypt.

Raw frankincense and myrrh

Myrrh and frankincense have had a spiritual significance since ancient times as noted in the bible with the story of the Three Wise Men who brought the herbs to the baby Jesus.  Eventually they were also used as medicines for physical maladies in the form of incense and oils.

In Chinese medicine books the herbs are classified for vitalizing the circulation of blood and often used for treating traumatic injuries, swellings and masses associated with stasis syndromes.  When combined together they complement each other and together can effectively move the qi and quicken the blood to dispel stasis.

Major indications for the combination of frankincense are:

  • Epigastrum pain, abdominal pain, hypochondria and stagnation in the viscera and bowels
  • Amenorrhea, dysmenorrheal or postpartum pain
  • Wounds, scars, sink inflammation
  • Rheumatic complaints
  • Traumatic injuries that result in pain and swelling and redness

Frankincense tends to ease pain of muscle and tendons, while myrrh works better with activating blood circulation and removing stasis, thus they complement each other well.  They are both aromatic herbs and have a strong smell that can cause nausea and vomiting frankincense is pungent and warm suitable for relieving stiff joints and muscles and both are used in pills and capsules.

Small amounts of raw myrrh as well as frankincense when taken internally can stimulate the digestion processes of the stomach, but can be irritating to the stomach if the amount is too large.  Larger amounts of the raw herbs are used primarily for external application and the lower amounts are used in pill and capsule forms.  Frankincense and myrrh can be taken in larger doses if baked or stir fried after being soaked in rice vinegar.  The dosage ranges from 3-10 mg when taken orally. Both herbs are also available as a soap product, incense and essential oil.


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