Myrrh is a reddish-brown gum resin that is extracted from the bark of commiphora trees, especially Commiphora molmol, which is indigenous to north-east Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Since ancient times, myrrh has been used in religious ceremonies and was prized by the ancient Egyptians for embalming, as a medicine and in religious rites. Ayurvedic medicine recommends myrrh to treat arthritis and obesity; modern practitioners acknowledge it to be as effective as some prescription drugs in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.
The resin, obtained from the bark of the myrrh tree.
Myrrh contains complex polysaccharides, triterpenes, triterpene acids and is rich in sesquiterpenes and furanosesquiterpenes, of which the main ingredient is furanoeudesmane.
Myrrh has antifungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent and stimulating properties that promote circulation to the mucous lining of the bronchial tract, throat, tonsils and gums. The increased blood supply helps fight infection and speeds healing when you have a cold, congestion or infection of the throat or mouth. It has been used to ease ulcers and sores and to fight fungal infections such as athlete’s foot and ringworm. Traditionally myrrh was prescribed to induce a woman’s menstrual flow, and in childbirth to encourage uterine contractions and ease labour pains. In Germany the use of powdered myrrh and tincture of myrrh has been approved for the treatment of minor oral inflammation and swollen mucous tissue. The active ingredients in myrrh appear to affect the way the body metabolises cholesterol and fat, and it is believed that the extract may fight certain types of cancer.
Myrrh is prescribed to:
- Strengthen the immune system.
- Fight infections such as colds and flu.
- Ease bronchial infections.
- Fight fungal infections such as candida and athlete’s foot.
- Lower levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
- May help fight certain cancers.
Flora Force Products containing Myrrh
Domestic & culinary uses
Myrrh is an ingredient of Fernet Branca, the Italian herbal drink that is sometimes used as a cure for hangover, but which was actually created in 1845 as a medicine. Myrrh is not used in modern cooking.
There is little published literature on the cultivation of Commiphora species, all of which should not be planted in areas that are prone to frost.
To read more about the chemistry of Commiphora species, go to http://biomed.papers.upol.cz/pdfs/bio/2005/01/01.pdf
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