By Michael Masterson
When the Three Wise Men gave the Christ child frankincense and myrrh, they were doing much more than giving him something that smelled good. They were giving him a gift of good health. In those days, these two aromatics were widely used as medicine.
Frankincense, a natural antiseptic, sedative, and immune stimulant, was used as a treatment for respiratory problems, depression, infection, and tumors. Myrrh is a natural anti-inflammatory and astringent. It was used as a tonic and as a cure for cancer, leprosy, and syphilis. Mixed with coriander and honey, it was also used to treat herpes.
Both are still used by herbalists for many health problems.
According to the book Did You Ever Wonder… by Jeff Rovin, “Xmas” comes from the Greek word for “Christ,” which is “Xristos.” The shortened form of the word “Christmas” became popular in Europe in the 1500s. Today, we see it a lot, especially in ads. (Maybe because it has the same number of letters as “sale”?)