- Commiphora myrrha L.
- Balsamodendron myrrha
- Bursera family
Parts Usually Used
The gum resin, powdered gum
Description of Plant(s) and Culture
Myrrh is the aromatic, gummy substance exuded by certain trees and
shrubs growing in eastern Africa and Arabia. It can also be found
in herb dealer's stock.
Africa and Arabia
Alterative, analgesic, antifungal, antiseptic, astringent, carminative,
emmenagogue, expectorant, antispasmodic, disinfectant, immune stimulant,
circulatory stimulant, stomachic, tonic, vulnerary
An essential oil, resins and gums
Legends, Myths and Stories
Myrrh was one of the precious spices brought to our Lord Jesus when
he was born.
One of the earliest records of man's use of myrrh is found in an
Egyptian papyrus dated about 2000 BC. Ancient Egyptian women rid their
homes of fleas with myrrh pellets. Myrrh was the main ingredient for
the very ancient Egyptian Kyphi incense. Moses was instructed by God
to use myrrh as one of the main ingredients in a holy oil for anointing
the priests (Exodus 30:22-33). Frankincense and myrrh were the two
substances that formed the bases of incense Moses fixed for Jewish
ceremonial rites. There are many references in the Bible to myrrh,
perhaps the most interesting biblical passages about myrrh are found
in the Song of Solomon, where myrrh is compared to the joys of sexual
love (Song of Solomon 1:13 and 4:6).
"And when they came into the house, they saw the young child with
Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they
had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and
frankincense and myrrh." St. Matthew 2:11
The name myrrh is derived from the Arabic word mur meaning "bitter",
referring to the spice's bitter taste.
A legendary account of the origin of myrrh is found in a Syrian myth,
which was later adopted by the Greeks. According to this legend, Myrrha,
the daughter of the King of Syria, Thesis, refused to worship Aphrodite
and was cruelly punished by the goddess, who caused her to commit
incest with her father. With the help of her nurse, Myrrha disguised
herself and deceived her father for eleven nights, but on the twelfth
night Thesis realized who she was. Furious at her, he threatened to
kill Myrrha and began chasing her with a knife. To save her, the gods
transformed her into a myrrh tree. The clear gum resin exuded by the
tree is said to represent Myrrha's tears.
From remote antiquity, this gum-resin has been used since the Tang
Dynasty (AD 600) in Oriental medicines, perfumes, incense, precious
ointments, and sacred oils. Originally imported from Persia, it is
now produced to some extent in southern China.
Its uses are similar to those of frankincense, with which it is often
combined in liniments and incense. Myrrh is one of the most effective
of all known disinfectants. It increases circulation and heart rate.
It is useful for amenorrhea,
uterine tumors, as it purges stagnant blood out of the uterus. Good
for obesity and diabetes.
The alcoholic extracts of echinacea, myrrh, and mullein are combined
to make a medicated oil; an excellent liniment for bruises, aches
and sprains is made from a combination of equal parts of myrrh, goldenseal,
and cayenne, macerated in rubbing alcohol
for about two weeks. Myrrh is commonly used in Chinese medicine for
and circulatory problems.
Myrrh makes a good gargle and mouthwash for sores
in the mouth, denture irritated mouth, and throat,
teeth and gums, coughs, colds,
stomach flu, asthma,
anemia, and other chest problems.
Apply tincture of myrrh full strength to cold sores. It can also be
taken internally for bad breath,
pyorrhea and for loose teeth and weak
gums. Its disinfectant properties make myrrh suitable as a wash
for sores, fungal
infections, traumatic injuries and wounds,
piles, old ulcers,
bedsores, and also as a douche. Add myrrh powder to the sore or wound
after washing for continued disinfectant activity. Cleans the colon
and brings order to the digestive system. Sinus
problems that have been with people for years have improved with
the use of myrrh.
Studies suggest that myrrh stimulates the body's immune system, increasing
resistance to infection.
The clear, fragrant gum resin of myrrh has been used since ancient
times as an incense, as an ingredient in cosmetics and perfumes, as
a fumigant, and in embalming.
Formulas or Dosages
Infusion: steep 1 tsp. myrrh in 1 pint boiling water for a
few minutes and strain. For bad breath, add 1 tsp. goldenseal. Take
1 tsp., 5-6 times a day.
Gargle: steep 1 tsp. myrrh and 1 tsp. boric acid in 1 pint
boiling water. Let stand 30 minutes and strain.
Extract: mix 2 to 5 drops in water for an excellent mouthwash.
Use the powdered resin as a tooth powder to brush the teeth.
Tincture: take 2-5 drops at a time, as needed.
Any resins tend to be difficult to eliminate and can cause minor
damage to the kidneys if taken internally over an extended period.
Very high doses, taken over a long period of time can be dangerous.
Do not exceed the recommended dose. Do not use if pregnant or have
kidney disease without first checking with the doctor. Myrrh is a