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Search Health Information    Myrrh

Myrrh

Uses

Botanical names:
Commiphora molmol

Parts Used & Where Grown

Myrrh grows as a shrub in desert regions, particularly in northeastern Africa and the Middle East. The resin obtained from the stems is used in medicinal preparations.

What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
2 Stars
Gingivitis (Caraway, Chamomile, Clove Oil, Echinacea, Menthol, Peppermint, Sage)
0.5 ml in half a glass of water three times per day swished slowly in the mouth before spitting out
A mouthwash containing sage oil, peppermint oil, menthol, chamomile tincture, expressed juice from echinacea, myrrh tincture, clove oil, and caraway oil has been used successfully to treat gingivitis.

A mouthwash combination that includes sage oil, peppermint oil, menthol, chamomile tincture, expressed juice from echinacea , myrrh tincture, clove oil, and caraway oil has been used successfully to treat gingivitis.2 In cases of acute gum inflammation, 0.5 ml of the herbal mixture in half a glass of water three times daily is recommended by some herbalists. This herbal preparation should be swished slowly in the mouth before spitting out. To prevent recurrences, slightly less of the mixture can be used less frequently.

A toothpaste containing sage oil, peppermint oil, chamomile tincture, expressed juice from Echinacea purpurea, myrrh tincture, and rhatany tincture has been used to accompany this mouthwash in managing gingivitis.3

Of the many herbs listed above, chamomile, echinacea, and myrrh should be priorities. These three herbs can provide anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial actions critical to successfully treating gingivitis.

2 Stars
Schistosomiasis
Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner
In one trial, 98% of people with schistosomiasis (a parasitic infection) who were treated with a combination of resin and volatile oil of myrrh were cured of the infection.
In a preliminary trial, patients with schistosomiasis (a parasitic infection) were treated with a combination of resin and volatile oil of myrrh, in the amount of 10 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight per day for three days. The cure rate was 91.7% and, of those who did not respond, 76.5% were cured by a second six-day course of treatment, increasing the overall cure rate to 98.1%.4
1 Star
Canker Sores
Refer to label instructions
Myrrh is a traditional remedy with wound-healing properties that has a long history of use for mouth and gum irritations.

Myrrh , another traditional remedy with wound-healing properties, has a long history of use for mouth and gum irritations. Some herbalists suggest mixing 200 to 300 mg of herbal extract or 4 ml of myrrh tincture with warm water and swishing it in the mouth before swallowing; this can be done two to three times per day.

1 Star
Cold Sores
Refer to label instructions
In traditional herbal medicine, tinctures of various herbs including myrrh have been applied topically to herpes outbreaks in order to promote healing.

In traditional herbal medicine, tinctures of various herbs, including chaparral , St. John’s wort , goldenseal , myrrh , and echinacea , have been applied topically to herpes outbreaks in order to promote healing.5

1 Star
Common Cold and Sore Throat
Refer to label instructions
The resin of the herb myrrh has been shown to kill various microbes and to stimulate macrophages (a type of white blood cell).

Elderberry has shown antiviral activity and thus may be useful for some people with common colds. Elder flowers are a traditional diaphoretic remedy for helping to break fevers and promote sweating during a cold. Horseradish has antibiotic properties, which may account for its usefulness in easing throat and upper respiratory tract infections. The resin of the herb myrrh has been shown to kill various microbes and to stimulate macrophages (a type of white blood cell).6  Usnea has a traditional reputation as an antiseptic and is sometimes used for people with common colds.7

1 Star
Halitosis
Refer to label instructions
Volatile oils made from myrrh have antibacterial properties and may be effective in mouthwash or toothpaste form.

The potent effects of some commercial mouthwashes may be due to the inclusion of thymol (from thyme ) and eukalyptol (from eucalyptus )—volatile oils that have proven activity against bacteria. One report showed bacterial counts plummet in as little as 30 seconds following a mouthrinse with the commercial mouthwash Listerine™, which contains thymol and eukalyptol.8 Thymol alone has been shown in research to inhibit the growth of bacteria found in the mouth.9 , 10 Because of their antibacterial properties, other volatile oils made from tea tree ,11 clove, caraway , peppermint , and sage ,12 as well as the herbs myrrh 13 and bloodroot ,14 might be considered in a mouthwash or toothpaste. Due to potential allergic reactions and potential side effects if some of these oils are swallowed, it is best to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before pursuing self-treatment with volatile oils that are not in approved over-the-counter products for halitosis.

1 Star
Infection
Refer to label instructions
Myrrh is an herb that directly attack microbes.
1 Star
Ulcerative Colitis
Refer to label instructions
Myrrh is an anti-inflammatory and soothing herb that may be effective in the treatment of ulcerative colitis.

Aloe vera juice has anti-inflammatory activity and been used by some doctors for people with UC. In a double-blind study of people with mildly to moderately active ulcerative colitis, supplementation with aloe resulted in a complete remission or an improvement in symptoms in 47% of cases, compared with 14% of those given a placebo (a statistically significant difference).16 No significant side effects were seen. The amount of aloe used was 100 ml (approximately 3.5 ounces) twice a day for four weeks. Other traditional anti-inflammatory and soothing herbs, including calendula , flaxseed , licorice , marshmallow , myrrh , and yarrow . Many of these herbs are most effective, according to clinical experience, if taken internally as well as in enema form.17 Enemas should be avoided during acute flare-ups but are useful for mild and chronic inflammation. It is best to consult with a doctor experienced with botanical medicine to learn more about herbal enemas before using them. More research needs to be done to determine the effectiveness of these herbs.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

In ancient times, the red-brown resin of myrrh was used to preserve mummies. It was also used as a remedy for numerous infections, including leprosy and syphilis. Myrrh was also recommended by herbalists for relief from bad breath and for dental conditions.1 In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it has been used to treat bleeding disorders and wounds .

How It Works

Botanical names:
Commiphora molmol

How It Works

The three main constituents of myrrh are the resin, the gum, and the volatile oil. All are thought to be important in myrrh’s activity as an herbal medicine. The resin has reportedly been shown to kill various microbes and to stimulate macrophages (a type of white blood cell) in test tube studies.18 Myrrh also has astringent properties and has a soothing effect on inflamed tissues in the mouth and throat. Studies continue on the potential anticancer and pain-relieving actions of myrrh resin.19 , 20 Human clinical trials are lacking to confirm most uses of myrrh.

In a preliminary trial, patients with schistosomiasis (a parasitic infection) were treated with a combination of resin and volatile oil of myrrh, in the amount of 10 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight per day for three days. The cure rate was 91.7% and, of those who did not respond, 76.5% were cured by a second six-day course of treatment, increasing the overall cure rate to 98.1%.21

How to Use It

The German Commission E monograph recommends that persons either dab the undiluted tincture in the mouth or gargle with 5–10 drops of tincture in a glass of water three times daily.22 In addition, tincture of myrrh, 1–2 ml three times per day, can be taken. The tincture can also be applied topically for canker sores . Due to the gummy nature of the product, a tea cannot be made from myrrh. Capsules, containing up to 1 gram of resin taken three times per day, can be used as well.

Interactions

Botanical names:
Commiphora molmol

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Botanical names:
Commiphora molmol

Side Effects

At the time of writing, there were no well-known side effects caused by this supplement.

References

1. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmet ics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 382-3.

2. Serfaty R, Itic J. Comparative trial with natural herbal mouthwash versus chlorhexidine in gingivitis. J Clin Dent 1988;1:A34-7.

3. Yamnkell S, Emling RC. Two-month evaluation of Parodontax dentifrice. J Clin Dentistry 1988;1:A41.

4. Sheir Z, Nasr AA, Massoud A, et al. A safe, effective, herbal antischistosomal therapy derived from myrrh. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2001;65:700-4.

5. Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs.Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1999.

6. Mills SY. Out of the Earth: The Essential Book of Herbal Medicine. New York: Viking Arkana, 1991.

7. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield, UK: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1985.

8. Kato T, Iijima H, Ishihara K, et al. Antibacterial effects of Listerine on oral bacteria. Bull Tokyo Dent Coll 1990;31:301-7.

9. Cosentino S, Tuberoso CI, Pisano B, et al. In-vitro antimicrobial activity and chemical composition of Sardinian Thymus essential oils. Lett Appl Microbiol 1999;29:130-5.

10. Petersson LG, Edwardsson S, Arends J. Antimicrobial effect of a dental varnish, in vitro. Swed Dent J 1992;16:183-9.

11. Cox SD, Mann CM, Markham JL, et al. The mode of antimicrobial action of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil). J Appl Microbiol 2000;88:170-5.

12. Serfaty R, Itic J. Comparative trial with natural herbal mouthwash versus chlorhexidine in gingivitis. J Clin Dent 1988;1:A34-7.

13. Dolara P, Corte B, Ghelardini C, et al. Local anaesthetic, antibacterial and antifungal properties of sesquiterpenes from myrrh. Planta Med 2000;66:356-8.

14. Hannah JJ, Johnson JD, Kuftinec MM. Long-term clinical evaluation of toothpaste and oral rinse containing sanguinaria extract in controlling plaque, gingival inflammation, and sulcular bleeding during orthodontic treatment. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 1989;96:199-207.

15. Murray MT. The Healing Power of Herbs. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1995.

16. Langmead L, Feakins RM, Goldthorpe S, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral aloe vera gel for active ulcerative colitis. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2004;19:739-47.

17. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield, UK: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1989, 114-5.

18. Mills SY. Out of the Earth: The Essential Book of Herbal Medicine. Middlesex, UK: Viking Arkana, 1991, 500-2.

19. Al-Harbi MM, Qureshi S, Raza M, et al. Anticarcinogenic effect of Commiphora molmol on solid tumors induced by Ehrlich carcinoma cells in mice. Chemotherapy 1994;40:337-47.

20. Dolara P, Luceri C, Ghelardini C, et al. Analgesic effects of myrrh. Nature 1996;376:29.

21. Sheir Z, Nasr AA, Massoud A, et al. A safe, effective, herbal antischistosomal therapy derived from myrrh. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2001;65:700-4.

22. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 173-4.

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