In Chinese medicine, our blood is a vital substance that holds our waking spirit. Our blood is mirrored in the resin of trees. It’s no wonder, then, that resins would be used to treat women and birthers postpartum.
Native to the Arabian peninsula and northeastern Africa, Frankincense and Myrrh have been recognized across the world for their physical and spiritually medicinal properties. One study in Tanzania notes that Frankincense is a main substance used in amulets (hirizi) to protect infants against illness. Some believe that the three wise men brought Maryam (Mary) the gifts of these two resins to aid her in postpartum healing, easing depression, anxiety and bleeding.
Pelvic fumigation and steaming practices span the world, including working with plants and resins! In Ayurvedic postpartum healing, midwives prepare a pelvic steam with the smoke of Myrrh. In Chinese medicine, Myrrh is said to “move the blood,” while Frankincense is said to “move the qi.” Together they “effectively move the qi and quicken the blood, dispel stasis, free the flow of the organs, bowels, and channels, quicken the vessels, disperse swelling and stop pain,” according to the herbal manual Dui Yao: The Art of Combining Chinese Medicinals.
What does this mean? Together, Frankincense and Myrrh may:
↠ Help clear stagnation from the pelvis postpartum, such as lochia and blood clots.
↠ Reduce swelling, inflammation and pain.
↠ Prevent infection, since they are both antiseptic and cleansing.
↠ Support emotional healing postpartum. As two resins traditionally used in spiritual healing and birth and death rites, it’s no wonder that they would be used in the spiritually “open” postpartum window.
Thank you to Danielle Hanna of Living Arts Ayurveda for passing on this gorgeous high quality white Frankincense to us this week.
*** Before working with Frankincense and Myrrh, consult with your midwife or doctor. It is contraindicated to steam or fumigate while actively bleeding, including postpartum bleeding.