Myrrh – Commiphora molmol
Gum Myrrh is a tree that produces myrrh, which is a resin from the dried tree sap. The tree is native to the Arabian peninsula, Africa and Northeast Kenya.
It is a natural gum or resin extracted from a number of small, thorny tree species of the genus Commiphora. Myrrh resin has been used throughout history as a perfume, incense and medicine and when mixed with wine can also be ingested. The gum is commonly harvested from the species Commiphora myrrha. Another commonly used name, Commiphora molmol, is now considered a synonym of Commiphora myrrha.
In numerous places in the Old Testament, such as Genesis 37:25 and Exodus 30:23, it is mentioned as a rare perfume with intoxicating qualities. It’s also mentioned in the New Testament as one of the three gifts the magi presented to the Christ Child (Matthew 2:11) and present at Jesus’s death and burial. Jesus was offered wine and myrrh before the crucifixion (Mark 15:23). Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea brought a 100-pound mixture of myrrh and aloes to wrap Jesus’ body (John 19:39).
When a tree wound penetrates through the bark and into the sapwood, the tree bleeds a resin. The resulting gum, like frankincense, is such a resin. When people harvest it, they wound the trees repeatedly to bleed them of the gum. Myrrh gum is waxy and coagulates quickly. After the harvest, the gum becomes hard and glossy. The gum is yellowish and may be either clear or opaque. It darkens deeply as it ages, and white streaks emerge.
Commiphora myrrha is native to parts of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, Somalia, Eritrea and eastern Ethiopia. Meetiga, the trade-name of Arabian Myrrh, is more brittle and gummy than the Somalian variety and does not have the latter’s white markings.
Country of Origin: India
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