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***** Location: Yemen
***** Season: Various
***** Category: Plant


Commiphora myrrha

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Myrrh is a reddish-brown resinous material, the dried sap of the tree Commiphora myrrha, native to Yemen, Somalia and the eastern parts of Ethiopia. The sap of a number of other Commiphora and Balsamodendron species are also known as myrrh, including that from C. erythraea (sometimes called East Indian myrrh), C. opobalsamum and Balsamodendron kua. Its name entered English via the Ancient Greek, μύρρα, which is probably of Semitic origin. Myrrh is also applied to the potherb Myrrhis odorata otherwise known as "Cicely" or "Sweet Cicely".

The scent of raw myrrh resin and its essential oil is sharp, pleasant, somewhat bitter and can be roughly described as being "stereotypically resinous". When burned, it produces a smoke that is heavy, bitter and somewhat phenolic in scent, which may be tinged with a slight vanillic sweetness.

Myrrh was used as an embalming ointment and was used, up until about the 15th century, as a penitential incense in funerals and cremations. The "holy oil" traditionally used by the Eastern Orthodox Church for performing the sacraments of chrismation and unction is traditionally scented with myrrh, and receiving either of these sacraments is commonly referred to as "receiving the Myrrh".
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More information


Living in Yemen/Aden
yes, we've myrrh and use it like Bakhour.
I was told that burning myrrh cleans the air from germs and insects (flies, moscitos).
Often - by visiting other houses - I could see Al-Magmara (a little clay pot) next to the bathroom doors and smell the typical scent for Loban (Myrrh).
An old woman said: Evil will go away. Did she mean diseases caused by germs etc.(antibacterial)?
So, the gum, made of myrrh, named Loban shall be a blessing in/for pregnancy [however some young women are chewing even today to get pregnant].

In Europe, it could be a winter kigo, associated with the Three Holy Kings Story.

Heike Gewi, Yemen, December 2008


harvesting myrrh
kigo for summer

"The locals collect the liquid in summer from the gum trees where they cut through the trunk making deep pores slanting upwards. The liquid gathers there and in a month’s time it hardens and hence could be easily collected and new cuts are made. Myrrh trees also are dealt with in a similar way, yet this one has a very bitter taste so they only use the outcome as incense or in medications……
In the bible, it is said: Matthew 2:11“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.”Gold according to the eastern traditions symbolizes power and authority, chewing-gum for theology and myrrh for curing disease."
[Yemen Times]
Source: http://www.yementimes.com/article.shtml?i=637&p=lastpage&a=1

Worldwide use


kigo for winter

Ankunft -
Durch Omas Geschichten dringt

Arrival -
making it through granny's tale
the myrrh

Ankunft > adventus [lat.] > Christmas

Heike Gewi


Things found on the way


on the chopping board
dead flies - I burn
myrrh every monday

~ ~ ~

mother of all myrrhs
make me a mom too!
..chewing gum

~ ~ ~

staring at him
myrrh made the desert bloom! -
spice route

~ ~ ~

herbs' blessing -
over her rounded belly
a dove's face

~ ~ ~

harvest time –
the farmer milks
his myrrh trees

Heike Gewi, Yemen, December 2008


Related words



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sakuo said...



Anonymous said...

above comment in english ... please!

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