The History of Myrrh Incense


Myrrh is a unique, earthy-scented, healing, and beloved resin with a robust history, making it one of the most popular scents today! But what is the history of Myrrh incense? Read on as we break down the origin, timelines, and uses of Myrrh and its incense. 

1. What is Incense?

2. What is Myrrh Incense?

  1. Myrrh Incense Sticks
  2. Natural Myrrh Incense
  3. Benefits of Myrrh Incense

3. The History Of Myrrh Incense

  1. Where Did Myrrh Incense Originate?
  2. Myrrh Incense in Ancient Times
  3. Myrrh Incense Within Religion
  4. Uses of Myrrh Resin Throughout History

4. Nowadays Uses of Myrrh Incense

5. The Bottom Line


What is Incense?

Incense is created by burning aromatic plant material to produce fragrant smoke. It has been used for centuries in religion, spirituality, and aromatherapy, providing benefits such as improving moods, calming the mind, and aligning the Chakras. There are various types of incense, including sticks, cones, coils, loose, and natural.

What is Myrrh Incense?

Myrrh is an earthy, sweet, and fragrant resin sourced from the exotic "Commiphora Myrrh" tree. It is a perfect resin for igniting the senses and balancing the energy centers. Luckily, these admirable qualities also reflect in Myrrh incense. So, what is Myrrh incense, and what are its benefits?

Myrrh Incense Sticks:

Incense sticks are the most popular type of incense. They are made of aromatic wood powders, additives, and a wooden stick as the base. The wood powders combine with fragrant plant extracts, such as essential oils and ground herbs, and then tightly compact around a thin wooden stick, usually made from bamboo. For example, Myrrh incense sticks are aromatic wood powders combined with Myrrh essential oil and ground resin.

Incense sticks are a quick and easy incense solution, perfect for busy days with little downtime. However, they do have some disadvantages and can be harmful if overused. With modern influence, incense sticks usually contain chemical additives. Nevertheless, with conscious and rare use, the effects of incense sticks are minimal to none. They can also have a positive impact on our spirituality.

Natural Myrrh Incense:

Natural incense is a more earthy, fragrant, and ancient type of incense. It involves burning a combination of natural extracts such as essential oils, aromatic resins, and botanicals on a ceramic oil warmer (in this case, natural Myrrh incense involves burning its resin and essential oil). However, these extracts must be burnt alongside water or carrier oil to keep the incense safe from burning.

This incense type is less popular due to its step-by-step process. However, in our eyes, its benefits exceed all other types. Natural incense is less smoky and has a more fresh, earthy, and pleasant fragrance compared to other types. Its ingredients are usually 100% natural without harsh wood powders, making it kinder on the lungs as it usually comes without chemical additives.

Click here to learn more on natural incense.

Benefits of Myrrh Incense:

  • Balances the seven main Chakras
  • Grounds energy
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Increases spiritual awareness
  • Boosts mood
  • Relaxes the mind

The History of Myrrh Incense

Read on as with dive in the history of Myrrh incense! Where did is begin? And what was its significance?

Where Did Myrrh Incense Originate?

Commiphora Myrrha is a small, thorny tree originating from areas within the Arabian Peninsula and Eastern Africa, including Yemen and Kenya respectively. This tree's unique and striking appearance isn't its only redeeming feature. The fragrant and healing resin sourced within its bark is why this tree is so treasured in antiquity and to this day. So, when and where does the use of Myrrh resin as incense begin?

Around 2000 BC, during the height of ancient civilisations and trade markets in the Arabian Peninsula, Myrrh resin became a popularly sought-after ingredient, medicine, and scent. It was likely used and purchased as an ingredient for incense.
 
Though incense was primarily discovered in Asian civilisations such as the Indus Valley and the Quin and Han dynasties, the use of Myrrh as incense dates around 2000 BC in Egypt, where their culture and trade were flourishing. 
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Myrrh Incense in Ancient Times

In Egypt:

Myrrh was named one of the 'seven sacred oils' in ancient Egypt, known for its impressive wound-healing abilities and quality as incense. It was commonly burnt within religious rituals and ceremonies, to fumigate temples, and during embalming.  

The ancient Egyptians burnt Myrrh incense during mummification. It was understood to bring eternal prosperity, protection, and peace to the soul and body, especially in the afterlife. The antibacterial properties of Myrrh also helped to cleanse the body before the wrapping process.

Myrrh was also considered significant, spiritual, and high in value. So, perhaps burning Myrrh represented offerings and a sign of devotion to the deities, gods, pharaohs, and other beings of importance.

In China:

During the height of the Nabatean trade (around 200 BC), Myrrh resin was transported to China overseas. Here, Myrrh swiftly became a well-sought-after commodity and incense. China had already discovered and burnt incense for hundreds of years prior, but due to a lack of overseas trade, Myrrh was unheard of until later.

When Myrrh finally found its way into Chinese culture, its popularity was sudden. Myrrh naturally becoming a significant part of their traditional Chinese medicine system. It was commonly used as a form of pain relief, to heal wounds and scars, and to improve congealed blood flow. For these healing effects, they burnt it as incense, made herbal teas, and used its oil for topical reasons.

 

Myrrh Incense Within Religion

Christianity:

Myrrh, similar toFrankincense, has roots within Christianity. This unique resin holds special significance,symbolising the death and suffering of Christ, as well as life and all its blessings.

Myrrh was one of the three gifts given to baby Jesus by the three magi when he was born, and it was also present at his death. As a result, Myrrh is commonly used as ointment, perfume, and incense, representing devoted love for Christ.

Myrrh has naturally become one of Christianity's most sacred scents, commonly burnt and used within their churches and ceremonies. 

Hinduism/Buddhism:

Since the genesis of Hinduism and Buddhism, around 2000 BC, incense has been significant within religion in India, burnt to enhance ceremonies, rituals, prayer, and offerings. Though the exact date of the first use of 'Myrrh incense' in Hinduism is uncertain, it has become a prominent scent used within their practices.

Incense sticks, formed with bamboo as the base, were first invented in the 19th century in India. Myrrh was likely one of the first scents they used in their invention, swiftly causing Myrrh incense sticks to become a significant part of Hindu and Buddhist worship.

Ancient Civilisations: 

Within ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, religion was a significant part of day-to-day culture and living, with close to everything being about spiritual offerings, respect, and devotion to the deities and gods. This being said, within all three of these ancient civilisations, Myrrh incense was a sacred tool, burnt to connect people to higher entities and to cleanse them from evil.

Uses Of Myrrh Resin Throughout History

  • Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine: Myrrh resin was a popular ingredient in many ancient and traditional medicinal systems thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Embalming bodies: There are a few ancient religions in which burning incense during embalmment is performed, and Myrrh was a popular scent used. Burning Myrrh is associated with cleansing the body of sin and to heal any skin abnormalities.
  • Enhance spirituality: Throughout history, burning plants, incense sticks, and resins have been a prominent part of enhancing inner and external spiritual energy, so there must be some truth to its magic. Myrrh is one of the most spiritually-enhancing natural scents.
  • Balance the ChakrasMyrrh is naturally earthy and grounding in fragrance and energy. Ultimately, this makes Myrrh the perfect Root Chakra balancing aroma. It can also help to align our other six main aligning Chakras.

Nowadays Uses of Myrrh Incense

Myrrh incense is used commonly for:

  • Home cleansing
  • Chakra healing
  • Immunity boosting
  • Uplifting moods
  • Improving energy
  • Removing pests
  • Reducing unpleasant aromas
  • Empowering our Third Eye

The Bottom Line

Myrrh and its incense are robust in history, proving prominence in some of the most popular religions, civilisations, and medicinal systems. Thanks to the magical healing properties and pleasant fragrance of Myrrh resin, it remains one of the most beloved, diverse, and sought-after scents in the world. 


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