Trying to harness my inner Badass in preparation for the joyous month of Adar, I went looking for inspiration in The Book of Esther, aka The Megillah.
Queen Esther, our #ATWBiblicalBabe of Adar, was said to be incredibly beautiful. She even married the King of Persia after winning a beauty pageant. Many of our matriarchs - like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel - are also described as exceptionally beautiful.
So, what was their secret?!
I’ve been looking to connect my personal rituals and passion for wellness with my Jewish heritage. With this in mind, I went searching for Esther’s beauty and wellness secrets. I quickly came across this:
“Before she could go into the king she had to complete beauty treatments, with oil of myrrh and six months with perfumes and cosmetics.”
— (ESTHER 2:8-12)
I realized on the evening I first started looking into it, that my natural body wash, was made with myrrh oil! This magical substance has been staring me down in the shower this whole time!
After going down the rabbit hole researching myrrh’s health and beauty benefits, I am so excited to share my newfound knowledge with all of you.
Several studies found that myrrh was able to reduce the proliferation or replication of human cancer cells, inhibiting growth in eight different types of cancer cells (specifically gynecological, skin and breast cancers).
Myrrh has the power to increase the function of white blood cells, which is critical for wound healing. It can also be used for minor skin irritations or wounds, such as athlete's foot, ringworm or minor cuts. Put a few drops on a clean towel, then apply it directly to the skin.
Keep a special stash of myrrh in your purse during the winter months! It can work as a natural expectorant to help relieve coughs, colds, congestion, phlegm, and even help heal bronchitis. Just drop it in tea, or a sink of hot water and breathe in.
Esther and many other biblical babes living in harsh dry climates used myrrh to soothe chapped or cracked skin. Due to its antioxidant properties, it’s great for anti-aging, skin rejuvenation, stretch marks and eczema.
Mix myrrh with carrier oils such as jojoba, almond or olive oil before applying it to the skin (appx 10 drops per ounce). It can also be mixed with an unscented lotion and used directly on the skin. For vitiligo (a skin condition where patches of skin lose pigmentation), blend with sandalwood oil and apply to the skin.
You can also use myrrh to make various natural skin care products when it is blended with other ingredients. For example here’s a recipe for homemade frankincense and myrrh lotion to help treat and tone the skin.
Hot Tip: Share the love! On Purim we send gifts to friends, loved ones and others in our communities. Try making this lotion and packing it inside your Mischloach Manot packages, and send the gift of healthy skin!
Want more inspiration to go natural with your skincare? Check out this post on hormone disruptors and other scary things in our cosmetics.
Commonly used as an ingredient in mouthwash and toothpaste due to its high antioxidant properties and antibacterial nature, myrrh can also be used to heal canker sores by applying a single drop, a few times daily. For a natural mouthwash that prevents gum disease and freshens your breath, mix a few drops with water, swish and rinse.
Myrrh is commonly used in aromatherapy for massages! It can also be added to a warm bath or applied directly to the skin for relaxing, spa vibes at home.
Use myrrh in an essential oil distiller, or add a few drops to hot water and inhale the steam. It blends well with citrus oil, such as bergamot, grapefruit or lemon that help lighten up its strong fragrance.
Myrrh oil has many therapeutic properties, therefore add a few drops to a cold compress and apply it directly to any infected or inflamed area for relief. It is antibacterial, antifungal and helps to reduce swelling and inflammation.Add a few drops to a cold compress and apply it directly to any infected or inflamed area for relief. It is antibacterial and antifungal, and can help reduce swelling and inflammation.
Support healing from digestive problems such as diarrhea, indigestion, and even Inflammatory Bowel Disease (crohn's, ulcerative colitis). In fact, research published in 2016 found that myrrh oil worked as well as a commonly used drug, mesalazine, due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Our ancestors used myrrh for healing, as well as spiritual rituals. It is said to not only help maintain a state of enlightenment, but to also clear negative energy and illusions standing in the way of seeing the truth. (Hello channeling inner Esther!)
It was burned as incense in the first and second temple in Jerusalem, used as the holy anointing oil for high priests, as well as topically for perfume, skin care, and healing. Most importantly, this ancient healing oil can be used as a regular health and spiritual uplifter, helping you channel your inner and outer beauty.
Happy Purim, Queens!
Disclaimers: While Myrrh is considered safe to be ingested by FDA, consult a professional before taking internal doses. Myrrh is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, as it can cause uterine contractions. Some medicines, especially if you are diabetic may contradict. Talk to your doctor if you have any conditions before using Myrrh.