Myrrh is a dried resin from Commiphora trees. Myrrh trees are native to arid and semi arid areas of North East Africa and the Arabian peninsula. The exotic resin was famously mentioned in the Bible as a gift from the Magi together with Frankincense and gold. The name Myrrha comes from Greek mythology. Myrrha, the daughter of Cinyrus was transformed into the tree and her tears, the resin droplets. The resin is used medicinally as well as in perfumery, and incense. Egyptians used it for embalming.
|Myrrh resin photo by Sjschen|
Frankincense and Myrrh are also commonly paired together in Chinese Traditional Medicine most often for trauma due to sports injury with bruising. The Chinese name for Myrrh is “Mo Yao.” Myrrh has opiate properties for pain relief. Also, it is beneficial for circulation and useful in reducing swelling. Myrrh resin is decocted in water for at least an hour at a dosage of 3-12 grams for adults in Chinese Herbal formulas. The herb is for short term internal use. I used it recently both internally and externally to help with my recovery from a sprained elbow with severe swelling and bruising. 5:1 Myrrh extract powder is also used in lower doses in Chinese medicine. This type of extract powder is made from dried tincture of Myrrh resin. The Myrrh dosages used in Chinese medicine described above are not appropriate for people who are taking blood thinners or who are pregnant.
For pain from toothache or mouth sores myrrh can be applied externally. For example, 1 ml of Myrrh tincture can be added to 4 oz of water to make a mouth wash. Good quality myrrh tincture is made with very high proof alcohol in order to extract the resin.
Myrrh essential oil is beneficial for reducing inflammation, as an expectorant, for slow healing wounds, and even for improving digestion. Myrrh oil is considered one of the safest essential oils, because it has been in use for thousands of years.In conclusion Myrrh resin has a long history of use for many purposes including pain relief, wound healing, perfuming and improving circulation. It can be used both internally or externally, but high therapeutic doses are for short term use only, and should be avoided for those on blood thinners or who are pregnant.