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 Herbal Materia Medica: Myrrh 
 
Commiphora molmol

Burseraceae

Habitat: North east Africa and Arabia.

Collection: The gum resin is collected from the bushes that secrete it in the arid regions.

Part Used: Gum resin.

Constituents:

  • Volatile oil, containing heerabolene, cadinene, elemol, eugenol, cuminaldehyde, numerous furanosesquiterpenes including furanodiene, furanodienone, curzerenone, lindestrene, 2-methoxyfuranodiene and other derivatives.
  • Resins including [[alpha]]-, [[beta]]- and [[gamma]]-commiphoric acids, commiphorinic acid, heeraboresene, [[alpha]]-and[[beta]]-heerabomyrrhols and commiferin.
  • Gums, composed of arabinose, galactose, xylose and 4-O-methylglucuronic acid
  • Sterols etc.
Actions: Anti-microbial, astringent, carminative, anti-catarrhal, expectorant, vulnerary.

Indications: Myrrh is an effective anti-microbial agent that has been shown to work in two complementary ways. Primarily it stimulates the production of white blood corpuscles (with their anti-pathogenic actions) and secondarily it has a direct anti-microbial effect. Myrrh may be used in a wide range of conditions where an anti-microbial agent is needed. It finds specific use in the treatment of infections in the mouth such as mouth ulcers, gingivitis, phyorrhoea, as well as the catarrhal problems of pharyngitis and sinusitis. It may also help with laryngitis and respiratory complaints. Systemically it is of value in the treatment of boils and similar conditions as well as glandular fever and brucellosis. It is often used as part of an approach to the treatment of the common cold. Externally it will be healing and antiseptic for wounds and abrasions.

Ellingwood describes it thus: "This agent has always been highly esteemed as a stimulant, although its influence is more of a local than a general character. It exercises the characteristic influence of most of the stimulants upon the excretions and secretions, acting as a diaphoretic, expectorant, sialagogue, and to a certain extent emmenagogue. It was once popular in the compound tincture of capsicum and myrrh. As a most active general stimulant in ulcerative, engorged, flabby and a tonic conditions of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat this agent acts promptly. It stimulates the capillary circulation, restores tone and normal secretion and causes the healing of ulcerations. It is useful in sore mouths of all kinds, and especially in syphilitic sore mouth and sore throat. It may be combined with other washes or gargles or it will act promptly alone. It will quickly cure the beginning of syphilitic ulcerations in the throat and mouth. In the spongy gums and aphthous sore mouth of children, in stomatitis materni if combined with an alterative and tonic astringent it will assist in the cure of the very worst cases without taking the child from the breast. An infusion made of white oak bark, yellow dock root and myrrh, to which may be added a mild antiseptic, as baptisia, echinacea, or boric acid, will cure the most intractable cases of this latter named disease. Myrrh is excellent in the sore mouth and extreme ulceration of mercurial ptyalism. In its influence upon the digestive apparatus Myrrh is direct in its action. It quickly increases the power of the digestive function, stimulating the peptic glands to extreme action. It increases the appetite and promotes the absorption and assimilation of nutrition. It is given in a tonic dyspepsia in the absence of inflammatory action, especially if there is excessive mucous discharge from the bowels. It is exceedingly useful in the apepsia and extreme inactivity of the stomach in alcoholics, either alone or combined with capsicum. While it is expectorant and stimulates the secretion from the mucous membranes when inactive, it influences to a satisfactory extent the restoration of the functions of those membranes when the secretion is excessive, as in catarrhal conditions. In deficient or excessive action it restores the normal conditions.

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 About The Author
David Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMHWhilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......more
 
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