The Natural Way

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

There are a number of herbs which are considered obsolete by many modern practitioners. Obsolete means the herb is no longer in general use. This can happen for a variety of reasons, some practical, some political, some due to social changes and some just because their use has been long forgotten.

Examples of each case are easy to come by. Mandrake Root is an example of practical obsolescence because it is not grown or harvested in any great quantity. Marijuana is a perfect example of political obsolescence. Sassafras has lost its G.R.A.S. (generally recognized as safe) label by the FDA so that could be either political or social obsolescence. Finally, hensbane is a good example of an herb we've just forgotten how to use.

Of the two herbal gifts brought by the Wise Men at Christmas, frankincense and myrrh, only myrrh is currently used. Frankincense is considered obsolete because we've forgotten how to use it.

Frankincense is similar to myrrh in that it is the resin of a tree (Boswellia carteri) which grows in limited areas in limited numbers and is harvested in limited amounts. The trees are found mostly in Somalia and parts of Saudi Arabia. We do know it is made up of volatile oils, resins and mucilage.

Science knows frankincense shows antimicrobial properties as well as beneficial qualities for the respiratory system. There are no known health hazards or side effects if used reasonably and should make a good carminitive. Modern aromatherapists use this scent to bring harmony as it blends well with cypress, orange, tangerine and sandalwood.

This herbal was often used to perfume the air of the ancient powerful and wealthy class. In ancient days it was thought the scent of frankincense would carry prayers directly to the Creator, thus it is still used in the Catholic Church.

The gift of this amazing resin in the ancient days was a profound statement. It meant the prayers of the user would be carried on high while the physical injuries caused by swords and daggers would be healed without infection or respiratory ailments.

Think about it . . . what an incredibly valuable gift - only for the most revered.

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