Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh: the gifts from the Three Kings to baby Jesus. Myths abound about these substances, and frankincense and myrrh have been used to enhance spiritual awareness and meditation practices since ancient times. But what about their healing properties?
Frankincense and myrrh were very precious substances at the time of Jesus’ birth, more valued than gold in fact, so it is a symbol of Jesus’ importance that in the Nativity story he is given these gifts. The frankincense and myrrh that were given to Jesus are thought to have come from the Southern Arabian peninsula – the area known today as Oman and Yemen. This is where Boswellia sacra, the most healing of all varieties of Frankincense comes from.
So what are these healing properties? Well perhaps the most astounding is its anti-tumour effects. Research has shown its effects on cancer cells, and indeed in Oman, where locals drink water infused with frankincense or chew the resin, there is very little cancer, or periodontal disease. It has anti-inflammatory and immune stimulating properties and is capable of DNA repair. In common with myrrh, frankincense contains molecules known as sesquiterpenes which cross the blood brain barrier and are capable of affecting memory and emotions and frankincense has been used for depression.
Myrrh is a resin from a tree botanically very similar to frankincense. Some of its ancient uses – for embalming the dead and for leprosy – point to its uses today. It has antiseptic and anti-infectious properties and the powder can be used for cleaning out wounds. Ancient Greek soldiers used to take it to battle with them to stem the bleeding from wounds. It has antioxidant, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, anti-spasmodic and expectorant properties and therefore has a range of health applications. One of the commonly seen ones is in natural toothpastes and mouthwashes as it helps guard against gingivitis and dental infections as well as freshening the breath.
So much for the natural resins of frankincense and myrrh, but what of the metal gold? It might give us pleasure to look at and of course is still highly valued, but does it have any medicinal qualities? In fact it is used in modern medicine as well as homeopathy. In crude form, gold is considered quite toxic from a holistic point of view as the drugs that are made from gold for Rheumatoid Arthritis can produce a lot of side effects. However the homeopathic process of preparing remedies – through trituration, succussion and dilution – renders toxic substances safe whilst at the same time releasing their energetic potential such that substances that are innocuous or inert in their crude, material form can produce profound effects on the psyche. For example, the remedy Natrum muriaticum is made from common salt, but in homeopathic form it becomes one of our deepest acting remedies for states of long-standing grief. So it is with Gold, or Aurum, as we call it in homeopathy. People needing Aurum as a constitutional remedy might have depression, frequently suicidal, in their picture. They are people who often rise to the top, not out of outright ambition, but more from a sense of over-responsibility and duty. When they feel that they have not come up to the mark, there is a sense of falling from grace (they tend to like religious music) which causes the depression. This feeling that their natural place is at the top fits with the mythology around gold. To the Incas and to the ancient Egyptians gold was associated with the Sun, the Source and hence with God.
Kath Law, BIHC homeopath