Scanning the heavens, as was their spiritual duty, several astrologer priests belonging to the Persian Magi watched with great excitement as Mars, Jupiter and Saturn came together to form the “star of Bethlehem” in Pisces, the sign traditionally associated with the Holy Land. Under this influence, they reasoned, an important, influential person would be born in their time, two millennia ago. They journeyed with gold and two powerful herbs, frankincense and myrrh, to serve as presents for the newly born Joshua ben Joseph (Jesus, son of Joseph). Long popular in the Middle East, these green medicines belong to the same family that includes elemi, a well-regarded tree native to the Philippines from which an aromatic oleoresin is harvested. The ancient Egyptians used elemi oil in their embalming processes.

What does it do?

When Ralph Lauren, Dior and Chanel—among other high-end body care companies—beat a path to the forests of the Philippines to negotiate deals for mega-amounts of elemi oil (Chanel alone sought 10 metric tons per month!), you begin to understand why this marvelous plant medicine has long been perceived as a weaver of green healing magic. Elemi stimulates the production of tensin, a protein that helps delay the skin’s aging process, giving the user a more vibrant, youthful appearance. A potent antiseptic known to conquer bacteria, viruses and fungi, elemi also has analgesic properties that give it reign over joint pain and sprains. Perhaps elemi shines brightest when addressing respiratory complaints such as bronchitis and excess mucus.

About the herb

The tree that provides elemi oil basks in the Philippine sunshine as it climbs a full 100 feet skyward. Slicing the bark releases the rich white oleoresin that is collected for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Elemi’s name, rooted in ancient mystical musings, means “as above, so below.” Known to cure the body of various physical complaints while soothing the mind and emotions, elemi is used to balance the spirit above with the physical self that lies below.

Recommended dosage

Add a few drops of elemi oil to your bath to promote inner peace by de-stressing and calming the nerves. Blended in massage oil, elemi soothes and cures infections of the skin.

The opinions expressed are solely the writer’s. NOTE: Visit to read Ted PanDeva Zagar’s other articles and columns that discuss the benefits of herbs and natural foods. DISCLAIMER: The author’s comments are not intended to serve as medical advice, and he urges his readers to seek qualified wellness professionals to resolve matters of health.