MYRRH ESSENTIAL OIL (COMMIPHORA MYRRHA):
Botanical Name: Commiphora myrrha
Common Method of Extraction: Steam Distilled
Part Typically Used: Resin
Color: Dark aber
Perfumery Note: Base
Strength of Initial Aroma: Warm, slightly musty smell.
Myrrh gum is commonly harvested from the species Commiphora myrrha, which is native to Yemen, Somalia, Eritrea and eastern Ethiopia.
It is a small tree that can grow up to 5 meters high with light bark and knotted branches, few leaves and small white flowers. When the bark is cut, the gum resin exudes as a pale yellow liquid, which dries into reddish-brown lumps the size of a walnut from which the oil is distilled.
The word “myrrh” derives from the Aramaic (murr), and Arabic (mur) meaning “bitter“. Its name entered the English language from the Hebrew Bible, where it is called mor, and later as a Semitic loanword was used in the Greek myth of Myrrha, and later in the Septuagint, in the Greek language, the related word (mýron) became a general term for perfume.
Myrrh (mur), is the aromatic resin of a number of small, thorny tree species of the genus Commiphora, which is an essential oil termed an oleoresin. Myrrh resin is a natural gum. It has been used throughout history as a perfume, incense and medicine.
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.
Myrrh was used by the ancient Egyptians, along with natron, for the embalming of mummies.
Myrrh was traded by camel caravans overland from areas of production in southern Arabia by the Nabataeans to their capital city of Petra, from which it was distributed throughout the Mediterranean region.