Myrrh is an aromatic gum resin that contains an oleoresin essential oil and originates from the sap of certain tree species of the genus Commiphora. Myrrh is primarily derived from Commiphora myrrha, a large shrub or small tree commonly known as the, Somali Myrrh, or Common Myrrh. The pale-yellow gum resin exudes naturally from the stems and hardens as it dries in the air and sun, but the flow can be accelerated by wounding the tree. Another related species, Commiphora erythraea, produces Opopanax, a gum resin sometimes called Sweet Myrrh or Bisabol Myrrh.
Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Industry
Myrrh is used in wound dressings, liniments and healing salves to treat abrasions, bruises and minor skin ailments, as well as helping to relieve arthritis, sprains, aches and pains. It is also used as an antiseptic in mouthwash, toothpaste and other oral hygiene and dental care products, as well as an analgesic for toothache. Myrrh gum can be ingested to treat coughs and colds, asthma and lung congestion, indigestion and ulcers, and is believed to inhibit certain types of cancers and tumours.
In traditional Chinese medicine, Myrrh is used to treat conditions related to the heart, liver and spleen, as well as blood circulation. It is recommended for arthritic, rheumatic, and circulatory problems, period pains and menstrual problems, the menopause and tumours of the uterus. Myrrh is often combined with Frankincense or herbs.
Traditionally, Myrrh has been used as a general tonic and was believed to have rejuvenating properties. It may help to lower blood glucose and improve glucose tolerance in diabetics. It may also lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels as well increasing HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels.
Cosmetics & Perfume Industry
Myrrh is used in the manufacture of perfume and as a scent in toiletries.
Myrrh is used as incense, particularly in churches, as well as an ingredient in anointing oil for religious ceremonies, often mixed with Frankincense. Myrrh has also been used as a fumigant.