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Myrrh, an Ancient Medicine and Perfume

Myrrh has been known throughout history as a medicine and perfume. In medicine it has been used as an antiseptic in mouthwashes, gargles, and toothpastes and as an analgesic for toothaches. It is also used in some liniments and healing salves that may be applied to abrasions and other minor skin ailments. Myrrh was mentioned as a rare perfume in the Hebrew Bible (Genesis 37:25) and a precious gift in the New Testament (Matthew 2:11).

Miriam detects its scent in a luxurious shop that sells antique Etruscan vases. She and her best friend Phoebe have come to the shop in disguise to spy on the proprietor, the man they suspect of planning to murder his mistress:

“Are you sure this is his shop, Miriam?”

“Do you see any other Etruscan antiques around?”

“You’re snapping at me. You’re angry because I made you wear the black wig.”

Phoebe lagged to straighten her wig in a passing window—she’d ultimately chosen the honey-blonde one for herself—while I mounted the low, long flat steps and crossed the threshold on an apron of light. The faintly sweet, earthy scent of myrrh greeted my nose as I entered the marbled interior. It displayed an orderly arrangement of vases, pitchers, statues, chalices, amphora, and amulets, each type in its own cluster of vitrines, each piece professing in calligraphy to be at least five hundred years old.

When Phoebe asks why Miriam thinks it’s his mistress he plans to kill, Miriam answers, “Other than his wife, what other woman would a man want to kill?”

You and Miriam better hurry because he intends to kill her that very day. So, right away, click here.


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