myrrh ( Commiphora myrrha )
Botanical: Commiphora myrrha (HOLMES)
Family: N.O. Bursera
Part Used :The oleo-gum-resin from the stem
Active constituents: an essential oil, resins and gurus , volatile oil containing heerabolene, cadinene, elemol, eugenol, furanodienone, curzerenone, lindestrene, 2 methoxy furanodiene and other derivatives; Resins including alpha, beta commiphoric acid, commiphorinic acid, alpha and Beta heerabomyrrhols; Gum composed of arabinose, galactose, xylose and 4-0-methylglucuronic acid; plant sterols. (Stimulant, expectorant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, carminative. Myrrh is used internally for stomach complaints, tonsillitis, pharyngitis and gingivitis, and externally for ulcers, boils, and wounds. Stimulates the production of white blood corpuscles and has a direct antimicrobial effect.)
The main chemical components of myrrh oil are a-pinene, cadinene, limonene, cuminaldehyde, eugenol, m-cresol, heerabolene, acetic acid, formic acid and other sesquiterpenes and acids
Properties: emmenagogue, expectorant, antispasmodic, volatile oil containing heerabolene, cadinene, elemol, eugenol, furanodienone, curzerenone, lindestrene, 2 methoxy furanodiene and other derivatives; Resins including alpha, beta commiphoric acid, commiphorinic acid, alpha and Beta heerabomyrrhols; Gum composed of arabinose, galactose, xylose and 4-0-methylglucuronic acid; plant sterols. (Stimulant, expectorant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, carminative. Myrrh is used internally for stomach complaints, tonsillitis, pharyngitis and gingivitis, and externally for ulcers, boils, and wounds. Stimulates the production of white blood corpuscles and has a direct antimicrobial effect.)
disinfectant, stimulant, carminative
Uses: Its uses are similar to those of frankincense, with which it is often combined in liniments and incense. Myrrh is more blood-moving, while frankincense tends to move the chi more, and is better for arthritic conditions.
Myrrh is one of the most effective of all known disinfectants and is wisely used medically for this purpose. It increases circulation, heart rate and power. It is useful for amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menopause and uterine tumors, as it: purges stagnant blood out of the uterus. Myrrh is good for many chronic diseases, including obesity and diabetes. It helps toothache pain applied externally. For inner ear infections, combine equal parts of Echinacea and Mullein with one-quarter part myrrh to make a tea. The alcoholic extracts of these herbs are combined to make a medicated oil. An excellent liniment for bruises, aches and sprains is made from a combination of myrrh, golden seal and cayenne, macerated in rubbing alcohol for about two weeks. Combined with peach seeds cud safflower, myrrh is good for stomatitis, gingivitis and laryngitis.
Myrrh is most commonly used in Chinese medicine for rheumatic, arthritic and circulatory problems. It is combined with such herbs as tienchi ginseng, safflower, Doug quai , cinnamon and Salvia milthiorrhiza (Alan shun), usually in rice wine, and used both internally and externally. However, myrrh is not as important in Chinese medicine as it is in the systems of India, the Middle East and the West, which ascribe to it tonic and rejuvenative properties. A related species, known as guggul in Ayurvedic medicine is considered one of the best substances for the treatment of circulatory problems, nervous system disorders and rheumatic complaints. Pitch from pine trees and other bush and tree resins also are used as antirheumatics.
The preparation of guggul in traditional Ayurvedic medicine can serve as a model for the detoxification of various resins intended for internal use. Place the myrrh or other resinous material in a porous or muslin bag and suspend it from two crossed sticks into a simmering tea of Triphala or other alterative herbs (turmeric also is good for improving the blood-moving properties of myrrh). After simmering for a period of time, remove the sack with the residue and continue to cook the tea down to a thick moist mat at the bottom of the pot. This is spread out in the open air to dry into solid chunks; or the residue is further prepared and softened with ghee and rolled into little pills. The dose is two or three pills the size of a mung bean, two or three times a day.
Myrrh acts as an anti-spasmotic circulatory stimulant to the uterus. In this capacity, the resin or tincture is taken for amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea as a purgative of stagnant blood. It helps normalize irregular periods. Myrrh helps promote efficient contractions and relieves pain during childbirth. As an antimicrobial, dilute tincture can be used in vaginal douches. Its internal use should be avoided by pregnant women
Myrrh Abstracts from PubMed
A sampling of studies published on PubMed concerning myrrh derived from different species of Commiphora reveals that the resin reduces cholesterol and triglycerides; that it is a promising non-hepatotoxic anti- helminthic for schistosomiasis; that it is highly effective (100 per cent cure rate) on fascioliasis parasite without remarkable side effects; that its triterpene Myrrhanol A is a more potent anti-inflammatory than hydrocortisone; that it possesses smooth muscle-relaxing properties; that its sesquiterpene fractions had antibacterial and antifungal activity against pathogenic strains of E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans; and that its extract has strong efficacy as an insecticide against the cotton leafworm. In other publications it has been reported that a sesquiterpenoid compound isolated from myrrh is highly effective against drug-resistant tumor cells found in the breast and prostate, without toxicity to healthy cells.
Precautions: Any resins tend to be difficult to eliminate and can cause minor damage to the kidneys if taken internally over an extended period.
According to the PDR For Herbal Medicine, “No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages.”
Myrrh should not be taken orally by women who are pregnant. Oral doses of two to four grams have resulted in kidney irritation and heart rate changes, both of which resolved after individuals stopped taking myrrh. Cases of allergic rashes have been reported from the topical use of myrrh. It may lower blood sugar in some individuals.
No interactions are reported.
Major Side Effects
Oral doses of 2,000 mg to 4,000 mg (2 grams to 4 grams) of myrrh have resulted in:
- Heart rate changes
- Kidney irritation
Less Severe Side Effects
When it is applied to the skin, myrrh occasionally may cause an allergic reaction that may include an itchy rash. In addition, some evidence suggests that frequent applications of myrrh to the same area of skin can eventually be irritating.
Dosage: of the powder 1-15 grains, for limited periods.
In formulas (also for limited periods) 3-12 guns.
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