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Garden of Eve - Newsletter

Winter Plant Traditions; Why Christmas Trees, Frankincense and Myrrh


Winter Plant Traditions

Winter is abundant with cultural and religious tradition. Holidays and celebrations vary, yet have a common thread of coming together to celebrate life, unity, sharing love, heart-felt gifting, and the anticipation of the coming of new life after winter.

I am fascinated by tradition and particularly healing plant traditions of herbs, flowers and trees.  At this time of year plant traditions include evergreen (Christmas) trees, Frankincense and Myrrh.

Evergreen trees have been symbolic of and integral to winter celebrations for thousands of years. Pagan celebrations of winter solstice in the 1500’s decorated homes with branches as it made them think of spring to come. Romans used fir trees to decorate temples at the festival of Saturnalia. And Christians considered it as a sign of everlasting life with god.

The use of evergreens has varied from hanging branches in the house, to hanging boughs over doors and windows, to full trees in the house. In many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits and illness. Decorations of evergreen trees has also evolved from hanging apples, nuts, dates and paper flowers, to ceramic balls and strands of popcorn, tinsel and pretty colored lights.

Why Christmas Trees, Frankincense and Myrr

Healing Traditions

As a healing plant, in northern countries evergreen trees were brought into the home for their positive effect on air quality. The oxygen and anti-microbial properties that the tree imparted into the air was beneficial for bronchial conditions as well as preventing and healing emphysema; actually saving lives.

Also, the evergreen needles were strewn across the floor, and as people walked on them crushing them, they emitted essential oils into the air creating aromatic appeal, as well as infusing their healing properties into the atmosphere.

The early use of Frankincense (Boswellia carterri) and Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) oils is documented in the ancient papyrus of Southern Arabia dating back to 1000 BC. These oils are distilled from gum resins exuded from the bark of trees that grow in Southern Arabia. They are both of the botanical family Burseraceae, and as such have similar appearance and medicinal properties.  

There are so many medicinal, spiritual and skin care benefits from the use of these plants, that demand was soon so high they became regarded as luxury commodities. As the price was driven up, in Biblical times, these resins were ranked along with gold as a suitable gift for the Christ child.

Skin Care

Both Frankincense and Myrrh are useful in skin care products for revitalizing wrinkled and aging skin. Myrrh is particularly useful during winter for dry, cracked skin. 

Essential oils of evergreen trees are beneficial in body creams for alleviating pain and discomfort from tired, overworked muscles. The use of evergreen oils in body creams also benefits the respiratory system as one breathes the aroma.

                     Garden of Eve’s Seasonal Evergreen product is:

Christmas Essence (Mountain Essence) Hand and Body Cream

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Medicinal Uses

Myrrh is an excellent expectorant and thereby beneficial for bronchitis, coughs and colds. As an astringent it is used for inflammation of mucous membranes of the throat and mouth. It is also used to promote menstruation, aid paralysis of limbs, a “broken head” and dropsy.

Frankincense is also a powerful antiseptic and astringent, and used for boils and pimples. It too is inhaled for aiding the respiratory system for bronchitis, colds, coughs and excess mucous production. It calms the nervous system and can relieve pain. When the aroma of Frankincense is inhaled it tends to slow one down, deepening one’s breathing thus causing introspection which helps with meditation and prayer. Frankincense is one of the first ritual oils. During Roman times it was customary to burn in the funeral pyre during cremation to attract the gods, cleansing negative energy and likely to mask the unpleasant odor of burning flesh. It is also used in soaps for ritual cleansing.

The fame and fortune of the cultures of Southern Arabia rose and fell with the use and then disuse of Frankincense and Myrrh. One contributing factor was the declining use of Frankincense as the Christians replaced cremation with a simple burial.

Evergreen trees, Frankincense and Myrrh all have similar respiratory benefit making them particularly suitable as winter medicinal plant traditions.

Happy Healthy Green Holidays,

Eve

Author, Eve Stahl, is a Health Consultant, Herbalist and Skin Care expert. She specializes in using nature’s plants to enhance the health of people and to protect the health of our planet. To achieve this purpose she has created Garden of Eve Skin Care products for sensitive skin and all skin types. You can visit her company at: www.gardenofeve.com Prospective Affiliates visit:www.gardenofeveskincare.com/affiliate-application