Frankincense and myrrh are synonymous with this time of year, but are they still relevant?
Most people think of Christmas and ancient times whenever these spices are mentioned. However, beauty products containing frankincense and myrrh continue to prove popular today. While we are familiar with the names, their benefits are less celebrated.
“The Frankincense tree grows on rocky hillsides in Yemen and Oman. Frankincense oil is rejuvenating, balancing and relaxing and is distilled from oleo gum resin,” skincare maven Antonia Burrell told Cover Media. “Frankincense is antiseptic and is excellent to help dry, sensitive, mature, acne and sun damaged skin.
“Myrrh is a small scrubby tree from the Middle East and North East Africa. The tree excludes a gum from its incised trunk that is hardened into beads. Myrrh was used by the ancient Egyptians in the embalming process because of its remarkable preserving action on the skin.”
Frankincense is believed to rejuvenate and brighten skin tone by encouraging the growth of fresh new cells while healing any blemishes or scars. The oil contains a high level of monoterpenes, making it useful in the promotion of youthful skin.
“Monoterpenes have been studied to help stimulate the process of getting rid of damaged cells, which is why Frankincense is particularly helpful for older skins to slow down the process of ageing and helps old scars to heal,” Ada Ooi, founder of 001 Skincare, told Cover Media.
Frankincense is currently a favourite for face serums and moisturising lotions or body oils.
Today, myrrh is used for eczema, chapped, cracked, sensitive, dry, or aged skin. It can ease inflammation and promote skin repair.
“Myrrh oil has one of the highest sesquiterpene contents. Sesquiterpene molecules deliver oxygen molecules to cells, like haemoglobin does in the blood, making it a very powerful anti-oxidant,” Ada explained. “Living in the city while we face environmental aggressors every minute, it can help protect the skin from environmental ageing by neutralising the process of skin oxidation. Myrrh can help heal chronic skin inflammation caused by sunlight, stress and pollution.”
French natural health brand Puressentiel has enjoyed huge success with the Purifying Air Spray, which contains 41 essential oils, including myrrh. This product has clinically proven anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties and kills dust mites, reducing the risk of allergic reactions and respiratory problems.
Both frankincense and myrrh feature in a natural remedy for aching joints. Boswellia & Commiphora is an anti-inflammatory cream claiming to reduce pain and swelling caused by arthritis. The ancient spices, Boswellia Serrata (Frankincense) and Commiphora Molmol (Myrrh), have a long medical history of relieving the inflammation associated with rheumatic and osteopathic forms of arthritis.
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