Myrrh is a natural gum that is harvested from the sapwood of a tree native to Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen. This resinous material is syrupy when it first runs from the cut wood, but it quickly hardens into “tears” when exposed to air. Once collected, the resin is aged for several weeks before going to market.
Myrrh gum has a long history of use in the Mediterranean region as fragrance and spice. It is mentioned in the Christian Bible numerous times, most notably as one of the gifts presented by the Three Wise Men to the infant Jesus on the eve of his birth. Myrrh was also among the materials utilized in the elaborate embalming process used by the ancient Egyptians.