Nicole Spear, MS, CNS
Gifts of Christmas & Gifts of Health: Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh
Updated: Aug 23, 2018
For many of us, the Christmas celebration includes three wise men bringing the child, Jesus, three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Not only were these gifts were fit for a king, but they were (and are) esteemed as some of the most valuable gifts for health. Historically, these botanicals were exquisite, expensive, and reserved for royalty. But wait a minute? Aren’t there only two botanicals, and one metal? Interesting, many have argued that the “gold” referred to in Biblical accounts was actually the golden-colored botanical, turmeric. This spice was more costly and precious than actual gold. It originates from the “east” as does frankincense and myrrh.
Regardless of what was given to Jesus – gold or turmeric – the synergistic effects of turmeric, frankincense, and myrrh are astounding and certainly considered gifts fit for kings and health!
All 3 bontanicals target and prevent one of the most destructive processes in the body: inflammation. As our lifestyles become more stressful, our diets less nutritious, and our environment more toxic, inflammation reigns in the body and threatens our health. It weakens our immune system, floods our body with damaging free radicals, and is considered a root cause of many health conditions from cancer to arthritis.
Taking steps to reduce inflammation can accomplish more for your health, than any other action. To learn more about the damaging effects of inflammation, read my newly published book, Healthy Gut, Healthy Life: A Scientifically Proven Plan to Reverse Disease & Chronic Illness.
When you are already a victim of inflammation’s damaging work, the royal botanicals – turmeric, frankincense, and myrrh – can jumpstart your health. Of course, they cannot replace a healthy lifestyle, but they can be critical components of a therapeutic plan to regain your health.
Let’s see how each of these spices can influence the common health problems we face, today.
This bright, gold-colored spice has recently received massive attention among natural health advocates, and for good reason. Its active components are called curcuminoids, which explains why turmeric may also be referred to as curcumin. The plant originates from India and has a long history of use in Eastern Medicine. Its therapeutic constituents are found in the roots of the plant, Curcuma longaI.
Turmeric is best known for effectively reducing inflammation in the body, but studies have also discovered it is a strong antioxidant (reducing damaging free radicals in the body), protects the liver from toxicity, reduces tumor growth, thins the blood, reduces blood lipids (fats), and is an antimicrobial agent.
Here are some of the most common uses for turmeric:
Digestive Disorders: Rigorous clinical studies reveal curcuminoids reduce inflammation in the gut and improves symptoms associated with dyspepsia (abdominal pain, flatulence, belching), peptic ulcers, GERD (gastric acid reflux disease), Crohn’s disease, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and helped maintain remission in patients with ulcerative colitis. Not only does turmeric significantly improve the symptoms of digestive disorders, but also protects the gut from future assaults.
Memory and Mental Disorders: Curcuminoids have been studied in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and found to enhance memory, protect brain cells against damage, and slow the progression of the disease by inhibiting the deposition of plaque that characterizes Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric also increases the concentration of neurotransmitters (serotonin and dopamine) and potentially improves depression.
Diabetes: Many of the long-term effects of diabetes is a result of cell damage from free radicals generated when blood sugar is high or when sugars begin “attaching” themselves to cells, a process known as glycation. Curcuminoids are potent antioxidants shown to protect cells against damage from sugar-induced free radicals, preventing or reducing the long-term consequences of diabetes.
Cancer: Newest research is focusing on curcumin’s promise to inhibit cancer development and progression. Although no direct therapeutic claims can be made, studies have shown curcuminoids can possibly eliminate cancerous stem cells (cells that will become cancerous) associated with colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, brain cancer, and head and neck cancer. Turmeric may offer additional support for maintaining a state of remission and enhancing other cancer therapies.
Frankincense is often referred to as the “king of oils” and its very name means “high quality incense.” It is obtained from tapping the sticky resin of trees of the genus, Boswellia. The resin can be chewed like a gum, but more commonly, it is steam distilled into an essential oil which holds its prized therapeutic components, known as boswellic acids.
As another potent anti-inflammatory agent, frankincense offers relief from a variety of health ailments, but especially chronic inflammatory conditions such as:
Crohn's disease, and
coronary heart disease
In addition to improving inflammation, boswellic acids enhance the immune system and therefore, frankincense is most useful for autoimmune, inflammatory conditions which include rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and others.
Like turmeric, scientific literature has been exploding on the role of frankincense in cancer therapy. Boswellic acids help the body kill cancerous cells, reduce the inflammation that allows cancerous cells to survive, inhibit abnormal cell growth, and has even been shown to work as effectively as two commonly used chemotherapeutic agents!
Finally, frankincense is a powerful tool for enhancing memory and learning. Studies have shown that mothers who consume frankincense during pregnancy produce offspring with greater intelligence. But it has also been used in elderly individuals to enhance short and long-term memory, learning ability, and cognitive performance.
Like Frankincense, myrrh is a resin (sap-like substance) that comes from the tree, Commiphora myrrha. Its active components, known as terpenoids are most often delivered as an essential oil, made from the resin. Similar to the other royal botanicals, myrrh is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, but it also acts as an astringent, and immune-support, used to treat:
More recently, it has also entered the realm of cancer therapies. It has been shown to kill cancerous cells, slow cancer progression, support the body’s ability to target and eliminate cancer cells to prevent the development of cancer, and reduce the inflammatory pathways that enhance the progression and survival of cancer cells.
When inhaled with a diffuser, myrrh can be an expectorant and help decrease inflammation associated with:
other respiratory conditions.
You may have noticed a recurrent theme among these three royal botanicals. Each act as a potent anti-inflammatory and supportive adjunct to cancer. Together, their effects are potentiated, meaning they are a powerful trio when used together. Perhaps, “gold,” frankincense, and myrrh are not only gifts for a king, but among the greatest gifts for good health.