Myrrh, sounds mystic, doesn’t it? Myrrh is aromatic plant sap/resin collected from barks of small thorny trees of Commiphora species. Annals of history suggest its uses as perfume, incense and medicine. It has been long used in treating digestive, respiratory and skin problems. Today, myrrh finds its use in various industries including perfumes, beverages and food, pharma and insecticide.
It is native to countries on either sides of Red sea. It is referred multiple times in bible; myrrh was said to be gifted to baby Jesus along with gold and frankincense. Myrrh is believed to have stimulated the incense trade between Egyptians and Romans. Did you know that Romans used myrrh to add aromatic spice to their wine? For them myrrh was prized treasure equivalent to gold.
Myrrh resins are extracted from tree by tapping method and harvested twice a year. Commiphora myrrha is popular specie from which myrrh resin is extracted. There are various other myrrh like resins – Indian bdellium, false myrrh, guggul (Commiphora mukul), sweet myrrh (Commiphora erythraea), baisabol, bhesabol, balsam or bissabol (Commiphora kataf).
Useful components of Myrrh can be segregated in three parts – the resin, gum and essential oil. Amongst various components in myrrh essential oil, guggulsterones and boswellic acids have been identified with potential health benefits.
Health benefits of Myrrh Oil
Ancient Greeks were believed to be the early users of myrrh oil for medicinal purpose. It is popular oil in the kit of an aroma-therapist. Traditional Chinese medicine considers myrrh or “Mo yao” as “blood moving”, good for heart, liver and spleen and is recommended for joint pains, blood circulatory problem and menstrual disorders in women. In Ayurvedic and Unani medicines, it is has been given rejuvenating properties and used as tonic. Known as daindhava, it is also used for stomach and kidney related disorders and women related disorders. Guggul, which is closely related to myrrh is also used in Ayurveda for treating circulatory and nervous disorder. Guggul along with Triphala is used to detox body and reduce cholesterol.
Health benefits of myrrh can be attributed to its ability as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, astringent, analgesic, nervous system stimulant, carminative, antimicrobial and others. Lets discuss each of the medicinal properties of myrrh oil.
[Also read about health benefits of frankincense]
Myrrh is strong antioxidant
Antioxidant forms most popular categories of food today and myrrh falls in one of them. It has ability to protect the body cells from oxidizing effect of free radicals and thus prevent various disorders. It is popular as tonic for internal body systems and organs and prevents them from aging and infection. Various studies have established antioxidant properties of myrrh.
Studies are ongoing in area of anticancer benefits of myrrh. Study shows its ability to prevent growth of cancer cell. It offers antioxidant benefits in preventing oxidative stress on body organs which could have result in cancer.
Myrrh oil with anti-inflammatory properties
Inflammation is our body defense mechanism to injury or infection. But recurrent inflammatory response may lead to disorders like atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, etc. Inhibition of these inflammatory responses is what myrrh does effectively as is reported in this study.
This property has been put to use for long. Ancient Arabs, Greeks and Roman have used myrrh for treating various inflammatory conditions of joint and lungs like arthritis, rheumatism, osteoarthritis and bronchitis. It is used in embalming. Studies have established anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of myrrh.
Myrrh effective on spasm
Unwanted contractions or spasms may lead to cramps, aches and muscle pain. This is often result of repetitive motion leading to “blurring of brain” or inflammatory condition in brain. Myrrh has ability to relive such spasms including writers’ cramp or musician’s spasm. Study with ethanolic myrrh extract have confirmed its anti-spasmodic effect on muscles and suggests its use in treating intestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.
[Did you know lemon are effective in relieving cramps? Read about benefits of lemon]
Antimicrobial properties of Myrrh
Myrrh essential oil protects body from bacterial, fungal and viral infection. It can be used as antiseptic in treating wounds. It prevents growth of microbes in body and thus prevents ailments. Various studies have confirmed the antibacterial and antifungal activity of myrrh extract on pathogens including Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans. Another study concludes that human schistosomiasis can be treated with combination of resin and volatile oil of myrrh.
Astringent effect of myrrh oil
Myrrh essential oil has strong astringent effect, which means it makes cells contract. This property has been put to use by early practitioners in treating gum problems and healing wounds. With its astringent effect it soothes inflamed tissues of mouth and throat.
Myrrh is pain reliving
Myrrh has analgesic properties and hence along with reducing inflammation it can also reduce pain. Studies have found that certain compounds – furanoeudesmadiene and curzarene, are present in myrrh which offers pain reliving benefits.
Myrrh is a stimulant
Aroma of Myrrh essential oil stimulates body and mind. It stimulates our blood circulation, digestive system and nervous system. That may be the reason why it has strong spiritual connotation. In Chinese medicine, myrrh is considered blood stimulant. Myrrh oil stimulates blood circulation and ensures body tissues get enough oxygen supply.
Myrrh is heart protective
As antioxidant, anti inflammatory Myrrh offers amazing benefits for heart. It protects heart from various inflammatory disorders like atherosclerosis. It reduces oxidative stress on heart and reduces risk of stroke and other disorders. It also helps lower bad cholesterol levels in body.
Carminative properties of Myrrh
Myrrh oil beneficial for your stomach related problems. This essential oil can help relive gas and flatulence. It stimulates secretion of digestive enzymes and aids proper digestion. It is also effective on abdominal cramping and other gastrointestinal problems.
Benefits of myrrh for skin
Myrrh with its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties protects skin from damage and aging. Use of myrrh oil can provide firm and young skin and get rid of wrinkles and signs of aging. Today it is used in multiple skin care products. Topically it is used to treat bedsores, canker sores, wound, abrasion and boils. As an astringent it helps blood coagulation and prevents bleeding from wounds. It has been long used in healing wound. Myrrh contains mucilage which has soothing effect on skin inflammation and ulcers. Myrrh is believed to have diaphoretic properties, thus increases perspiration and aids excretion of toxins from skin. It also helps cleanse skin pores.
Just mix couple of drops of myrrh oil with coconut oil and apply to your skin. Some believe it can be used to remove stretch marks and sunscreen. Try and let us know. One of the best home remedy for treating wounds can be made from honey and myrrh. Apply a paste containing myrrh, bee Propolis and honey to the wound. It protects wound from infection, helps bind the tissues, reduce inflammation and relive pain.
Benefits of myrrh oil for hair
Benefits myrrh oil for hair cannot be neglected. Myrrh is considered good for dry hair and scalp, thus used in treatment of dandruff problem. It can be used along with other carrier oil for more benefits. As astringent it enhances grip of hair roots on hair and thus prevents hair loss. It can be used along with frankincense oil for shining hair.
Myrrh essential oil good for cold and cough
Myrrh is wonderful expectorant and good for cold and cough. It relives congestion and helps easing mucus deposits from lungs and respiratory tracts. It provides relieve from congestion and breathing problems. Traditionally it has been used topically as herbal medicine for preventing herpes and quick healing.
[Did you know eucalyptus essential oil is also helpful on common cold?]
Oral benefits of Myrrh
This is one of the most important benefits of myrrh and has been long used. Myrrh is effective on various oral problems including swelling of gums, gingivitis, loose teeth, canker sores, mouth ulcers, sore throats, and tonsillitis, bad breath, cracked lips, tonsils, etc. It helps in reducing inflammation of gums and relives tooth ache. It protects mouth from infection. Today it is used as antiseptic and astringent in various mouthwash and toothpaste. Along with other essential oils of peppermint, clove and caraway it makes an effective mouth wash. Simply, 3-4 drops of myrrh essential oil can be added to lukewarm water and used as mouthwash. Tea made from boiling parsley, powdered myrrh and whole cloves can be used as homemade mouth wash for getting rid of bad breath.
[Triphala churna can be used as natural mouth wash. Did you know?]
Benefit of myrrh essential oil for women
Myrrh oil has been used traditionally for regulating menstruation and treating related disorders in women. In China, it is used for treating amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menopause, and uterine tumors. As antispasmodic, it is good to relive premenstrual symptoms including mood swings, hormonal imbalance and abdominal cramping.
Side effects of Myrrh
In small amounts, myrrh does not have any side effects. Some people may be allergic to myrrh and its contact may result in skin rash or diarrhea when ingested.
Myrrh offers far many benefits to our body and truly is one of the nature’s gift to mankind. Myrrh is result of plants response to protect itself. But it extends the benefits to protection of mankind.