Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh were gifts borne by the three wise men to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Although we are familiar with the biblical story of the gifts presented on this Christmas day, we can be uncertain about what exactly some of these items are.
Myrrh is a natural gum resin derived from tree sap and prised for its distinctive fragrance. It is a natural blend of essential oils and resin that is used in ointments and perfumes.
The resin comes from species of the Commiphora tree, found in north east Africa and adjacent areas. Myrhh is commonly harvested from the species Commiphora myrrha and Commiphora momol.
To extract the sap from the Commiphora tree a longitudinal cut is made in the trees trunk, which pierces gum resin reservoirs located in the bark. A yellow waxy gum oozes from the cut and hardens to form tear shaped droplets which harden on the side of the tree. The gum becomes hard and glossy after harvesting, and darkens with age to become reddish in colour.
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