The healing powers of Baltic amber
Find out what Baltic amber is and the many health benefits it provides for babies, children, adults and animals
Did you know? If you own a piece of amber, it's probably between 30 - 90 million years old!
Not only is amber an ancient wonder, it's also beautiful, underrated, and as far as we're concerned, pretty darn cool! Many people classify amber as a gemstone or crystal, but it's actually fossilised resin which has taken millions of years to form. Amber is commonly recognised as a pain-reliever for babies, children, adults and even animals since its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties were discovered. Amber is also loved by many people for home decor purposes, as it makes exquisite ornaments!
This dynamic fossilised resin deserves some recognition and credit. If you've had any questions or doubts about amber and its therapeutic properties, read on for some insightful information!
Where does amber come from?
Baltic amber is the most popular type of amber used in amber teething necklaces/anklets, aesthetic jewellery or decorative ornaments. Baltic amber is harvested from the Baltic Sea region after it has washed up on shore. It is also gathered in lakes and rivers, or mined from the earth. The Baltic region is home to the largest known deposit of amber, called Baltic amber or succinite, and dates back 44 million years! Even more impressively, the forests in this region created more than 100 000 tonnes of amber! While amber is predominantly harvested in the Baltic region, amber can also be found on the continents of Africa, Europe, America and Asia (these are not referred to as Baltic amber).
Since the 1850s, people believed that the amber resin was only produced by the Pinites succinifera tree, however it has since been discovered that it in fact originates from several species! A common misconception is that amber is made from tree sap, but it's strictly fossilised resin. The difference between sap and resin is that sap is a fluid that circulates through a plant's vascular system, while resin is a semi-sold substance which is secreted in the outer cells of trees.
Baltic amber is usually a yellow, honey-like color, but may occur in many shades from pale yellow to dark brown. Because amber used to be a soft and sticky tree resin, sometimes Baltic amber products contain insects and small vertebrates, known in the jewellery world as ‘inclusions’.
The healing and therapeutic qualities of amber
You may find yourself wondering whether fossilised tree resin really has any value aside from being pretty. Perhaps you're at your wits end with a screaming teething baby and you're finally willing to try anything! Or maybe you're struggling with arthritic pain and you remember your great aunt once mentioned amber for treating pain.
Whatever your situation may be, we'd like to clarify that Baltic amber for healing is not a modern day money-making scheme. Using Baltic amber for therapeutic purposes is an ancient practice to relieve pain and inflammation. Records tell us that Ancient Romans used Baltic amber to boost their immune system and believed that it helped to cure sore throats, ear and eye problems and stomach complaints. They also used it to ward off evil, madness and negativity!
Hippocrates (the Father of Medicine) who lived from 460 - 377 BC, described various medicinal properties and applications of Baltic amber, which were later used by scientists until the Middle Ages! Terms Oleum succini (amber oil), Balsamum succini (amber balsam) and Extractum succini (amber extract) were often used in the recipes and mixes of the alchemists of the Middle Ages. So if Baltic amber has been respected since ancient times as having medicinal properties, surely there must be science to back it up?
There is! Baltic amber contains one of the highest concentrations of succinic acid that can be found in nature! Succinic acid is a dicarboxylic acid which is gentle, non-toxic and has no side effects whatsoever. Succinic acid occurs naturally in the human body and is involved in several chemical processes in the body, which are mostly related to our metabolism.
Baltic amber is best worn directly on the skin. Direct contact and body heat will cause the Baltic amber to release an oil containing trace amounts of succinic acid, which then is absorbed into the skin and bloodstream.
Here are a few medicinal and therapeutic uses of succinic acid:
Amber relieves stress
By stimulating the brain and nervous system, it is said that succinic acid helps people cope with mental and emotional stress. Many people, including spiritual gurus, use amber to relieve anxiety, stress and negativity! Because succinic acid helps release stress , many users experience a blissful and meditative feeling when wearing Baltic amber. Succinic acid has also shown to successfully relieve irritability and other common symptoms associated with menopause, stressful lifestyles and teething babies.
Amber improves concentration
Because succinic acid works on the nervous system and helps induce a state of bliss and calm, the mind is thus relieved of built-up 'noise' and 'clutter', allowing it to function more clearly. A mind that functions at its optimal level without distraction is able to concentrate at a higher level, retain more information and stay better on track. An increasing number of people who suffer from disorders such as ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are turning to more natural alternatives, as they no longer want to rely on pharmaceutical drugs such as Ritalin, which often come with negative side effects.
One addition for ADHD treatment is Baltic amber. Both children and adults use Baltic amber to aid concentration and bring a sense of inner calm and groundedness. The succinic acid in Baltic amber also helps ease other difficulties which may be associated with ADD/ADHD such as anxiety, depression, upset or anger. Wearing amber is therefore an excellent addition to the holistic treatment of ADHD.
Amber reduces pain and inflammation
While many medical professionals might dispute this, studies have shown that if a small amount of succinic acid is absorbed into the skin from Baltic amber, the body behaves as if you've taken a natural Ibuprofen (analgesic drug), reducing pain and reducing inflammation! Therefore, Baltic amber is often used for teething pain in babies, as well as for arthritis, headaches, tendonitis and generalized pain. Make sure that you wear the amber necklace close to the ailment (i.e. if you have arthritis in your hand, you will find it more advantageous to wear an amber bracelet rather than a Baltic amber necklace).
Not only does Baltic amber provide analgesic effects for babies, children and adults, it's also a wonderful natural solution for pets suffering from joint problems and arthritis! Raw, unpolished amber is also known to be effective in repelling ticks and fleas (will not have an effect on an animal that is already fully infested with ticks and fleas).
Amber strengthens the immune system
Apart from its natural pain relieving properties and its ability to improve brain functioning, Baltic amber’s succinic acid may also help improve your body’s immune system. Succinic acid acts as a powerful antioxidant so after being absorbed into the bloodstream, it helps fight infections, protects cells from damage and lowers acidity of the body! People who suffer from asthma and other respiratory problems often find relief in wearing amber.
Amber improves cardiovascular functioning
Studies have shown that succinic acid helps the heart pump blood properly and rhythmically. This is good for people suffering from certain cardiovascular disorders, and may even help prevent heart attacks or heart failure!
Fun facts about Baltic amber
- Babies are wearing amber beads that are as old as dinosaurs
- Succinic acid is recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- People also use Baltic amber to make healing elixirs (a medicinal solution to ingest)
- Many folk believe Baltic amber is able to transmute negative energies into positive energies
- The oldest amber dates back to 320 million years ago
- Amber used to be used as a form of money
- If you want to determine whether your amber is real or not, drop it in some salt water - if it floats, it's real!
If you have any questions, please contact us or leave a comment below for free health advice. We always love hearing from you!