Myrrh, himba tribe
  • Clean beauty
  • Eco & ethical

Myrrh – the incredible story of the Himba tribe

Supporting small farmers and independent growers is a key part of the Green People philosophy and we believe in offering a fair price for the ingredients that go into our products. One of the most remarkable stories behind a Green People ingredient is the story of the Myrrh we use in our One Balm, natural toothpastes and sun lotions.

Von Alexandra Julian

4 Minute read

Green People has always looked for the very best ingredients to use in its certified organic beauty products.

Supporting small farmers and independent growers is a key part of the Green People philosophy and we believe in offering a fair price for the ingredients that go into our products.

One of the most remarkable stories behind a Green People ingredient is the story of the Myrrh we use in our One Balm, natural toothpastes and sun lotions.

Myrrh collected by the Himba tribe

The incredible journey of this ancient, aromatic resin begins in Namibia and Angola where the Commiphorra tree grows and produces a solid sap, known to us as Myrrh resin.

Myrrh sap seeps out from the wood and solidifies in the small cracks and crevices at the bottom of the plant where it is harvested by female members of the Himba tribe.

Myrrh gum himba tribe

Although they source the vast majority of what they need from the land and their livestock, the Himba tribe relies on the sale of Myrrh as their only source of income.

It takes one woman four hours to collect a kilogram of Myrrh gum, and a group of Himba women can collect around 100kg per day.

Green People works closely with an agent who buys all the Myrrh that the Himba tribe collects. Having built a successful relationship with the Himba people, the agent pays a good price for the Myrrh, helping to support their ancient way of life that is under threat from the modern world.

The pure Myrrh resin is then brought to Europe for distillation, where the essential oil is extracted.

Who are the Himba people?

The Himba people are nomadic herders who travel from place to place with their goats, sheep and cattle.

They drink milk from their livestock, but rarely kill an animal for meat and they supplement their diet with grains, chicken, eggs and wild herbs and honey.

Myrrh gum, himba tribe

Clothing and hair styles are an important part of Himba tradition. They paint their bodies with a red otjize paste; a mixture of butterfat and ochre which protects their skin from sun damage and insect bites. The otjize paste is considered a highly desirable cosmetic as it symbolises the rich red colour of the earth and blood, the essence of life.

Hair styles differ depending on age and social status. A married woman wears an ornate headpiece and has many braids that are covered in otjize. Young unmarried girls typically wear two thick braids that are styled forwards to cover the face, and young boys wear a single braid styled to the rear of the head.

The Himba burn Myrrh resin mixed with herbs to cleanse and scent their bodies and clothes. The antimicrobial smoke is wafted over the body and used instead of water, which is scarce in the hot semi-arid climate of their area.

They also use the Myrrh for food, medicine, as a clothing dye, as a glue to mend pots and fill holes and for cleaning teeth.

Why does Green People use Myrrh?

Myrrh has a long history of use as an effective, natural anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and astringent ingredient.

It accelerates skin healing and is beautifully soothing, perfect for use in our One Balm, as well as in our natural toothpastes to keep the gums healthy without the need for harsh chemicals.

Myrrh oil is also used in our organic sun lotions and Hydrating After Sun for its natural protective properties.

Shop for products that contain Myrrh

 

If you’d like to find out more about our natural and organic beauty products, please contact our friendly UK customer care team on 01403 740350 or on social @GreenPeopleUK.

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