The Bible tells us that 3 wise men arrived at the scene of Jesus’s birth bearing gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. That may sound strange compared to modern baby gifts which might be a diaper genie, a mobile or a stuffed animal. We can view Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh as gifts of HEALTH.
Gold, of course, has been valued as ornamental and functional throughout recorded history. For Mary and Joseph gold might have been used to assure a supply of healthful food for the family. (Did you know that gold itself is FDA-approved as a food ingredient? See the lid on my “box of chocolates” cake). In modern times, gold injections have been used for rheumatoid arthritis. The newest thing is gold nanoparticles (teeny tiny particles) which are being researched for a wide variety of medical uses. For example, they may be used in cancer therapy to disrupt tumor cell communications. MORE.
Frankincense sounds very exotic, but is better known by its other name, Boswellia which is sold as both pills and creams. This herb (from tree sap) has a well-deserved reputation for helping arthritis. Boswellia is also used for memory, asthma and other health issues such as an anti-inflammatory for athletes. It is likely that the gift for the holy family was intended as incense because it was typically used in celebrations and ceremonies.
Myrrh is, like Frankincense, the resin or sap from a tree. In ancient times, it had a greater value than even gold. Like Frankincense, it is used as incense, but also as perfume, liniment, and a dressing for wounds. (We could talk about it again at Easter because Aloe and Myrrh were reportedly used in wrapping Jesus’s body after the crucifixion.) In Chinese medicine, Myrrh is believed helpful for heart, liver, and spleen. Indian Ayurveda tradition values Myrrh as a tonic and rejuvenator. In modern times, Myrrh (and closely related guggul) has been found to lower cholesterol. It is often found in oral care products because it is antiseptic and healing. Good Gums is a brand of tooth powder based on baking soda with myrrh and other ingredients added to prevent gum disease. (Note, that product isn’t for everyone because the herbs make it look like dirt and it tastes like what I think dirt would taste like).
Had they existed at the time, a “onesie” might have been an upgrade from swaddling clothes, but it seems that the magi gave Jesus and his parents gifts of much greater importance.