(Commiphora molmol syn. C. myrrha)
Alias names for Myrrh: Abyssinian Myrrh, African Myrrh, Amyris kataf, Arabian Myrrh, Bal, Balsamodendron Myrrha, Balsamodendrum habessinicum, Bdellium, Bol, Bola, Commiphora, Commiphora abyssinica, Commiphora erythraea, Commiphora habessinica, Commiphora kataf, Commiphora madagascariensis, Commiphora molmol, Commiphora myrrha, Common Myrrh, Didin, Didthin, Gum Myrrh, Heerabol, Hemprichia erythraea, Mirrh, Mo Yao, Murrah, Myrrh Gum, Myrrha, Myrrhe, Opopanax, Resina Commiphorae, Somalien Myrrh, Yemen Myrrh.
Pictures of Myrrh:
References for Myrrh pictures:
- Myrrh leaves and fruit: http://www.kraeuterabc.de/img/krabc/Commiphora_molmol_150.jpg
- Myrrh Tree: http://livingclean.com/homeremedies/images/herbs/myrrh.jpg
- Myrrh Resin: http://malaria.ws/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Myrrh.jpg
About Myrrh: Myrrh comes from a spiny deciduous thorny tree or shrub which grows as thickets to the height of 15 feet in desert regions. It has 4-petaled yellow-red flowers on trifoliate leaves with obovate leaflets and 7mm pointed fruit which are slightly bitter. Originally native to northeast Africa, myrrh now grows in Somalia, Ethiopia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, India, Iran, Thailand and in the West Indies.
Myrrh symbolizes suffering and was one of the three gifts offered to the baby Jesus by the three wise men (Matthew 2:11). Myrrh is one of the oldest known medicines used in ancient Egypt as early as 2000 B.C. as an important sacred anointing oil (Exodus 30:23) and for embalming. Myrrh was mentioned in the Songs of Solomon (1:13, 3:6, 4:14, 5:1, 5 and 13.) Jesus was offered “wine mingled with myrrh” when he was crucified—perhaps as a kindness to ease the pain, though it was done in a mocking manner (Mark 15:23.) Myrrh and aloes (which is actually in the Coral Bell family) were brought by Nicodemus from Jesus’ burial (John 19:39.)
Actions and Uses of Myrrh: Myrrh is a pungent/astringent aromatic herb used as a stimulant, antifungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, expectorant, antispasmodic, carminative, immune stimulant, circulatory stimulant, bitter, tonic and as a mild anesthetic. Myrrh is used as incense, in perfumes and for embalming. Myrrh is a hot/dry/acrid/bitter herb that strengthens the yang energy of the body.
Historical Uses of Myrrh: (Please note that many of these symptoms are yeast-related)
- Abnormal Pap smears
- Athlete’s foot
- Blood cleanser
- Canker sores
- Digestive complaints
- Ear infections
- Head and Hair tonic
- Head colds including glandular involvement
- Hemorrhoids (mixed in a carrier oil and applied topically)
- High cholesterol (lowers)
- Increases intelligence
- Infections and feverish glandular conditions
- Menstrual problems
- Mouth sores
- Phlegm reducer
- Pressure sores
- Skin problems (applied topically)
- Stimulates Macrophage activity
- Throat problems
- Thrush (Candida albicans)
- Tightens the gums
- Ulcerative colitis
- Yeast infections
Parts of Myrrh Plant Used: The sap or resin is collected from branches, dried and then crushed into a powder or made into tincture or essential oil. Myrrh resin is not water soluble, so some herbalists think it is better used externally. I’ve had quite a bit of success using it internally in capsule form for chronic yeast infections. In my practice humans and dogs do well with myrrh in general but cats don’t like it. If you have a dog with chronic skin or ear infections, this may be a good herb to use. Myrrh seems to be hard to find in many locations but you can get it online or through Starwest Botanicals out of California. Here’s that link: http://www.starwest-botanicals.com/product/4oz-myrrh-gum-powder.html
Chemical Constituents of Myrrh: Phytosterols, oligo gum resin, acidic polysaccharides, resin and the volatile oils (herbolene, eugenol and furanosesquiterpenes).
Contraindications, safety issues, concerns, harmful drug interactions and allergy precautions for Myrrh: No adverse side effects from myrrh have been reported, but one reference mentioned that it may decrease blood sugar levels, so if you are taking anything for diabetes, you should monitor your blood levels carefully. Of course, if myrrh helps to balance out yeast, this would make sense. Another resource said that there may be an interaction with blood thinners. When in doubt, check with someone who knows how to use myrrh. Many practitioners in this country do not seem to know enough about it though.
Plant Propagation Tips for Myrrh: Myrrh is propagated from seed in the spring or from cuttings in the fall. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun. I was thinking it would be cool if we gardeners in the United States could grow Myrrh, but here in Idaho that just isn’t going to happen. In 2011 I had started a plant in our nursery called a Spice Bush (Lindera benzoin) from Horizon Herbs. As I was researching on the Horizon website where to transplant it when I noticed that it has similar properties to Myrrh and can be used as a substitute for Myrrh. I’ll have to do some studying on that one, but I’m excited about it.
Helpful Links and References for Myrrh:
- Book: German Commission E Monographs is an excellent resource for any serious herb enthusists.
- Alias names for Myrrh: http://www.medicinenet.com/myrrh/supplements-vitamins.htm