The Magi, Myrrh and the Gift of Science - Happy Holidays from USP | Quality Matters | U.S. Pharmacopeia Blog
 // December 23, 2014

The Magi, Myrrh and the Gift of Science - Happy Holidays from USP

The gift of science - Happy Holidays from USP!
Contributors:

There are many explanations for the gifts of the magi – gold, frankincense and myrrh. At first glance, these items seem like very strange gifts for an infant. Biblical scholars and the popular carol “We Three Kings” point to their symbolic significance: gold for Jesus’ status as king, frankincense a symbol of his priesthood and myrrh a foreshadowing of his death. 

But scientists at Cardiff University in Wales argue that the gifts were more practical.  They were a selection of the finest medicines available at the time, given by some of the best scientists of the time. 

Indeed alchemy, an ancient science, was based on belief in the medicinal properties of gold and the search for a universal elixir. Frankincense and myrrh were used in many forms: incense, essential oils and salves for a wide variety purposes including: insect repellant, wound care, pain relief and embalming. Although gold has been abandoned as a medicine, frankincense and myrrh have been proven to have antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

Today, the scientists at USP offer the world a similar gift: the peace of mind that comes from having medicines, dietary supplements and food ingredients made to strict standards of purity, quality & strength as determined by the best science available.

Happy Holidays!