Conducting some unofficial research on the topic of myrrh in ancient times, I found that having a "supply on hand" was common among those with the means to purchase it. Myrrh was used for a wide variety of medicinal purposes and to bring comfort and healing to a person's soul and body. The woman of the house, if she had the financial means or could set aside money to secure a little at a time, would consider having an bottle of myrrh on hand as necessary as having a fully stocked medicine cabinet or first aid kit.
- Myrrh was used in embalming the Egyptian pharaohs and is listed in the Ebers Papyrus (16th century BC), one of the world’s oldest medical texts.
- The Greeks considered myrrh a sacred substance and those who could afford the resin used it as incense and to treat virtually every illness. The Greeks began using myrrh to replace living sacrifices in the 3rd century AD.
- Frankincense was used in ancient times and throughout the Middle Ages by the Christian church as holy anointing oil.
- Both frankincense and myrrh have a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine, African healing, and Indian Ayurvedic practices.
- Myrrh is the most often repeated aromatic essential oil in the Bible.
In his book Healing Oils of the Bible, Dr. David Stewart suggests that essential oils and their uses were well known at the time the Bible was recorded. Although healing oils such as myrrh and frankincense were very valuable and not commonly used except by the rich, most people would have known exactly what they were and how they could be used – which is why the Bible could refers to these and other herbs and oils without explaining their use.
Antibiotics, penicillin, cortisone, and pain medication weren't available remedies. However, there were some wonderful and very powerful natural ingredients that gave healing and comfort through difficult times. These women were giving the very best they had, the very best they could buy, in order to bless those they loved dearly. That is a timeless message.