Over the last two days, we have discover the gift brought to the baby Jesus by the first two wise men. Gold and frankincense are still highly prized, but what is myrrh, the gift from the third wise man?
Like frankincense, myrrh is a tree resin. It is used as a fragrance, a flavouring and even as a fixative in cosmetics. It can help decrease swelling and kill bacteria.
Myrrh comes from the Commiphora trees, which are commonly found in Somalia and Ethiopia. Myrrh is harvested in a similar way to frankincense, in that the tree bark is cut, allowing the sap to flow out and into the cut, The sap is then left to dry and harden before being harvested. Myrrh is white on the outside and deep red inside.
Myrrh trees are fairly solitary and grow to between 5 and 15 feet tall. They have a scrubby, gnarly appearance.
In the past, much secrecy and mystery was held around the production of both frankincense and myrrh because they highly sought after and keeping their origins mysterious kept the prices high.
Until next time, keep calm and apply some Science