Myrrh Health Benefits, Uses
Myrrh, also called guggul, comes from the Commiphora Myrrha tree. It is known for its aromatic properties and stimulating effect. Myrrh improves blood flow and encourages proper functioning of the nerves. It also boosts heart function and stimulates the brain cells, thereby improving memory and attention. Myrrh is used in many medicines, cosmetics, toothpastes, perfumes and toiletries.
A myrrh supplement may be used in the form of a capsule, powder or tincture.
The dosage may vary and it is important to check the label on the product before use. It is also advisable to consult your doctor before using any supplement or medication. Powdered myrrh may be added to equal parts of water and gin or brandy. The solution should be placed in a dark and cool place for about two weeks. It can then be strained and stored in a bottle away from bright light. Essential oil of myrrh may be applied to the throat or chest to alleviate coughing and congestion. The oil may also be diluted with water and applied to wounds and bruises.
Skin: There are many health benefits of myrrh. One of its most popular uses is skin care. Since myrrh is soothing and astringent in nature, it works well in treating various skin problems such as eczema, candida infections, abrasions and wounds. Traditionally, myrrh was used to treat aging skin. It can even be used on cracked and dry skin. Herbalists often recommend treating sensitive skin with a myrrh wash and also propagate the use of myrrh for acne. This soothing wash helps to cleanse the skin and prevents further breakouts. You can make your own myrrh wash at home by combining myrrh tincture and water. You can dab the solution on the skin using a cotton swab. Myrrh oil may even be used to relieve cold sores and canker sores.
Oral Health: Myrrh is commonly used in dental care and oral health. It is used in toothpastes and mouthwashes to help prevent dental problems such as gingivitis, mouth ulcers, receding gums, sensitive teeth, toothache and bad breath. Rinsing the mouth with myrrh tincture helps to alleviate gum infection. You can make your own tincture of myrrh for gum disease by adding one teaspoon of myrrh powder to two cups of water. Simmer the solution for thirty minutes and allow it to cool. Then take one teaspoon of the tincture, add it to half a cup of water and use as a mouth rinse four to five times daily.
Other Nutritional Advantages:
When taken internally, myrrh helps to treat conditions such as:
Myrrh can even be used externally to alleviate the following problems:
- Sinus infections
- Skin rash and boils
- High cholesterol levels
- Respiratory conditions like bronchitis and cough can also be treated through steam inhalation. Add a few drops of myrrh essential oil to a large bowl of water and inhale the steam arising from it.
- Skin abrasions, scrapes and cuts
- Boils and cysts
- Inflammation on the skin
- Fungal infections such as athlete’s foot. It helps to restrict the growth of fungi and promotes quicker recovery of the affected skin.
Other uses of myrrh include:
- You can also use mouthwashes, toothpastes or gargles containing myrrh to relieve conditions such as canker sores, sore throat, tonsil infections and tooth problems.
- The rejuvenating and refreshing properties of myrrh are well known since decades and therefore myrrh is often used to treat exhaustion and listlessness. Due to its astringent nature, it is also used to stimulate the skin and body organs.
- It is known to enhance blood flow and maintain digestive health.
- It is also sometimes used to treat people with diabetes. However, when used with other medications, it may cause a serious drop in blood glucose. Therefore those who take other medications for diabetes should consult their doctor before using myrrh.
- Sesquiterpene, a component of myrrh is believed to provide protection from free radicals and is known to restrict the growth of certain types of cancer.
- It helps to boost immunity and protects the body from infectious ailments.
- It may help to relieve gastric ulcers.
- Some studies suggest that it may be helpful in treating prostate cancer.
- It may be beneficial for the liver due to its protective properties.
- There is some evidence which suggests that myrrh may be effective in treating parasites.
Side Effects Of Myrrh
Myrrh may have certain effects on health especially when used in large doses. Some of the side effects of myrrh include:
Using Myrrh During Pregnancy:
- Diarrhea – Taking myrrh internally may cause irritation to the digestive tract and lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps and bloating. It is advisable to seek medical attention in case diarrhea continues for more than a couple of days. Persistent diarrhea may contribute to dehydration.
- Rash- Applying myrrh directly to the skin may lead to rash and irritation. The affected area may appear red, swollen, itchy and dry. This irritation usually goes away in a day or two. In case it persists, consult your doctor.
- Severe side effects – There may be some severe side effects when myrrh is used in doses higher than 2 to 4g. These side effects include irregular heart rate and irritation to the kidneys. In case you develop symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty in urination, blood in the urine, erratic heartbeat and trouble in breathing, it is necessary to seek immediate medical care.
- Interaction with other medications – In some cases, myrrh may interact with other medications. Those who take medications for diabetes should avoid myrrh since it can reduce blood sugar. When the blood sugar levels drop too low, symptoms such as hunger, headache, tiredness, trembling and dizziness may occur. Myrrh should also not be taken along with anticoagulants as it may lead to problems in blood clotting.
Myrrh is not recommended for pregnant women since it may work as a uterine stimulant. When consumed, myrrh may cause the uterine muscles to tighten and this may encourage menstrual flow. Since such processes can lead to a miscarriage, pregnant women should avoid using myrrh. It is also not prescribed for breastfeeding mothers and for very young children.
Information & Facts
Here are some interesting facts about myrrh:
- Myrrh is not a plant, but a plant product. It is known to be one of the oldest plant products which are still being used actively for various purposes.
- It is a gum resin which is reddish-brown in color. Apart from the Commiphora Myrrha tree, myrrh may also be obtained from other species of trees which are mainly found in the regions of Somalia and Yemen.
- Myrrh is obtained by making a deep incision in the tree trunk. The resin is then drained and dried by exposing it to the atmosphere. The myrrh hardens into chunks which are ground to a powder or added to lotions and perfumes along with other ingredients.
- It is commonly used in many dental care products and also used a food flavoring.