What is Myrrh Resin and what is it used for?

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Myrrh is a natural reddish resin, which is a sap-like substance that comes from a tree called Commiphora myrrha, common in parts of Africa and the Middle East. This odorous sap was considered medicinal in many parts of the ancient world, and is still being used today. In traditional Chinese medicine, for instance, it was said to have a number of benefits, including purging stagnant blood. Myrrh is botanically related to frankincense, and is one of the most widely used resins and essential oils in the world.

Commiphora Myrrha , can be found in the shallow, rocky soils of Ethiopia, Kenya, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Somalia. It boasts spiny branches with sparse leaves that grow in groups of three, and can reach 9 feet in height. Frankincense and myrrh can be collected from multiple Boswellia and Commiphora species. The shrubby trees that produce them are native to the Arabian Peninsula and regions of northeast Africa, though Boswellia has also been cultivated in southern China.

Referenced in the New Testament, myrrh is an incense offered during some Christian liturgical celebrations. Liquid myrrh is an ingredient sometimes added to egg tempera in the making of religious icons. Myrrh is also commonly mixed with frankincense and sometimes other scents and resins, and is used on most services of Eastern Orthodox , Oriental Orthodox , traditional Roman Catholic , and Anglican / Episcopal churches.

Myrrh has a long history of use in healing and in religious rites. In Matthew 2:11 it is brought by the “Wise men” of the East and given as an offering to the infant Jesus; in Mark 15:23 it was offered mixed with wine as an anesthetic to the suffering Redeemer, and in John 19:39 a “mixture of myrrh and aloes” is brought by Nicodemus to assist Joseph of Arimathea in the embalming of the body of Jesus.

Myrrh has been used in many different ways in the ancient world and was considered sacred by multiple cultures. The ancient Egyptians used the resin when embalming mummies. In addition to the previous mentions in the Bible, It was also an ingredient for incense according to the Old Testament, and of course the New Testament story of the three wise men, or three kings that brought the infant Jesus a gift of Myrrh, along with gold and frankincense, shortly after his birth. Some historical reports also speak to its use in funerary rites and customs such as, in 65 CE, the Roman Emperor Nero was said to have burned a year’s supply at the funeral of his wife.

Myrrh as all natural Incense

Myrrh resin is harvested from trees and is a naturally occurring substance. Myrrh is naturally scented and no additives are used to create the smells that result from Myrrh. Myrrh resin is harvested by making small slashes in the tree, and the sap that results hardens into clumps called tears.

The incense market is not a regulated market so in other forms of incense such as stick or cone, no one truly knows except the manufacturer what goes in tot he mixture and what possible toxicity may occur from repeated burning and exposure to the smoke of these types of incense.

How is Myrrh Extracted and Harvested?

The Commiphora Myrrha tree is one of the primary trees from which myrrh is harvested. Special knives are used to make a wound on a tree that penetrates through the bark and into the sapwood, the tree secretes a resinous sap to protect itself from insects and disease. Myrrh gum, is the resin that results from this process. Myrrh is harvested by repeatedly wounding the trees to produce the gum. After harvesting the gum it becomes hard. Arabian Myrrh, also called Meetiga is more brittle and gummy than the Somali variety and does not have the latter’s white markings. Once exposed to air and sun, myrrh dries and hardens to reddish-brown pea-sized chunks, whereas frankincense dries to pale yellow, tear-shaped droplets about half that size.

Frankincense and Myrrh have been harvested in this manner for at least 5,000 years. In the ancient world, these aromatic resins were the most important commodity. The harvesting and trade of these resins were responsible for creating a trade network that reached across Africa, Asia and Europe. Today, demand for frankincense and myrrh has subsided, but they are being rediscovered for their medical and religious benefits in modern times.

What is Myrrh incense used for?

Myrrh is commonly burned for purification and healing and increasing magical power and potency. Myrrh resin is commonly burned on a charcoal and used as an incense. Myrrh is also commonly used in rituals, and various spiritual practices to purify space, and to provide protection.

What does Myrrh smell like?

Myrrh has a bitter and sweet quality to it. Myrrh resin has a rich sweetness, with earthy, woody, faintly sweet qualities.

How do you burn Myrrh resin?

To burn Myrrh resin it is easiest to use a charcoal tablet and incense burner. Remember to always use caution when handling fire and charcoal. Keep your burner away from flammable objects.

  1. Light your charcoal tablet.
  2. Place the tablet in the incense burner.
  3. Once the charcoal tablet has turned white, take a few tears or a 1/4 teaspoon of Myrrh Resin and place on the charcoal tablet using a spoon or tongs.
  4. Allow the resin to burn and add more to suit your needs or your space.
  5. Once you are finished, it is a good idea to extinguish your charcoal tablet under water.
  6. Use caution when handling your incense burner. It will be extremely hot.

How much Myrrh resin do you need to use?

The amount of Myrrh resin to use depends on the size of your space and your application. It is generally a good idea to start with a few resin tears or up to a 1/4 teaspoon, and add more if needed. Resin incense can produce a large amount of smoke with very little material. Use your best judgement and always keep your burner away from flammable objects.


Is Myrrh used for medicine or healing?

Throughout history Myrrh has been used by healers and soldiers who would pack it in to their wounds sustained in battle, it has also been extensively used for oral health care. Myrrh can have contraindications however and just as with anything it is wise and recommended you consult your physician before ingesting myrhh. For example those with diabetes should be aware that myrrh might lower blood sugar . There is a concern that if it is used along with medications that lower blood sugar, blood sugar might drop too low. If you use myrrh as well as medications for diabetes , monitor your blood sugar carefully. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed. Again speak to your healthcare provider for assistance or answering any questions before taking any new medicine.

Myrrh has been used as a remedy for hypothyroidism , or a low functioning thyroid, in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine . Certain compounds in myrrh may be responsible for its thyroid-stimulating effects.

Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Taking myrrh might decrease how well warfarin (Coumadin) works to slow blood clotting. This could increase the chance of blood clotting.

Myrrh has also been used as an astringent, and is very commonly used in oral healthcare as an antiseptic to be applied to inflamed lesions of the throat and mouth. It is also used as an emmenagogue to increase menstral flow as well as an antispasmodic to reduce spasm of muscles, and for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Myrrh also has a potential role in the treatment of parasitic conditions such as schistosomiasis and fascioliasis; however, there is limited clinical information to support these uses.

Myrrh has shown some potential benefits in treating other conditions as well such as asthma rheumatoid arthritis Crohn’s disease , knee osteoarthritis, and collagenous colitis, which is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. Unfortunately more studies must be done to assess the efficacy of Myrrh for these different medical conditions.

What is the recommended dosage of Myrrh?

Myrrh may be administered as a tincture or in dental powders, tea, rinses, and gargles, and the smoke itself has been used for treatment.

Burning incense has long been associated with religious practices and meditation, but recent studies have shown resin incense may actually have a calming or psychoactive effect.

The recommended dose of myrrh depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and other health conditions. Other medications are also an important factor in determining a dosage. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine accurately the medically recommended doses for myrrh. Natural products are not always necessarily safe just because they are naturally occuring. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Chinese research has revealed that extracts and compounds from Commiphora myrrha resin may be effective against human gynecologic cancer cells, and their studies and findings were published in the Journal of Medicinal Plants Research.

Because there are so many variables that can affect plant biochemistry, it’s impossible to precisely determine a molecular composition for myrrh. The resins do contain sugar chains, proteins, and steroids, and are mostly a blend of terpenes. Terpenes are a diverse family of hydrocarbons made from five-carbon building blocks. Myrrh’s aroma comes mostly from furanosesquiterpenes such as furanoeudesma-1,3-diene.

Myrrh has a potential of being used to address multiple disorders. A 1996 study reported that myrrh effectively dulled the pain in mice. A 2009 study indicated that it may help lower cholesterol. One thing is for certain more medical study needs to be done on these ancient healing resins and the science applied to using them to alleviate a variety of symptoms and provide relief for many people around the world.

Is Myrrh useful in treating Lyme Disease?

According to one ttest-tube study, myrrh oil with a low dilution of 0.1% killed all of the dormant Lyme disease bacteria, which can persist in some patients even after antibiotic treatment and can continue to cause illness. More studies are needed to determine if myrrh oil can be a safe and viable treatment for persistent Lyme infections.

Does Myrrh have side effects?

Myrrh appears to be safe for most people when used in small amounts. It has been shown to cause some side effects in certain individuals such as skin rash if applied directly to the skin, and some people report diarrhea when taken by mouth. Just like any essential oils, it is highly recommended that they be added to a carrier oil and not applied directly to the skin at full strength.

Even the most beneficial oils can prove harmful under certain conditions. Genuine essential oils are concentrated and very strong, and just because they come from a natural botanical or are derived naturally from nature, doesn’t mean that it’s harmless. Inappropriate use can often lead to damaging side effects. As always please consult your physician or medical professional before beginning any new treatments or therapies or healing modalities.

Does Myrrh have antioxidant properties?

Myrrh has been shown to reduce liver injury and upregulation of superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and catalase in response to carbon tetrachloride insult. This is thought to be due to anti-oxidant properties of myrrh. Myrrh’s antidiabetic action has been attributed to it’s anti-inflammatory properties, which protect the beta cells from inflammatory damage during hyperglycemia. The antioxidant actions of myrrh are also likely to contribute to this effect.

Does Myrrh affect blood sugar?

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) can have negative interactions with Myrrh. Myrrh can decrease blood sugar, and since diabetes medications also lower blood sugar, negative results can occur. Taking Myrrh with diabetes medications may cause your blood sugar to go too low. Always remember to monitor your blood sugar closely, and speak to your medical professional about proper dosage and if it is even safe for you in your particular case.

Who should not take Myrrh Tincture?

The following conditions are contraindicated with Myrrh. Check with your physician before starting any new medicines or taking any supplements of any kind.

Myrrh is likely safe when used appropriately in small doses. Some side effects such as diarrhea have been reported in some users. Large doses of myrrh are likely unsafe, and amounts greater than 2-4 grams can cause irritation to the kidneys and cause changes in your heart rate.

Taking myrrh by mouth during pregnancy is not safe and should be avoided, as well as contact with the essential oil. Myrrh can stimulate the uterus and may cause a miscarriage, or increase the risk. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Diabetes: Myrrh can lower blood sugar, and if it is used along with diabetes medications that lower blood sugar, you blood sugar might drop too low. If you use Myrrh as well as medications for diabetes, monitor your blood sugar carefully.

Fever Complications: Myrrh might make a fever worse. Use with caution.

Heart problems: Large amounts of Myrrh can affect heart rate. If you have a heart condition, get your healthcare provider’s advice before starting myrrh.

Surgery Concerns: Myrrh may affect blood glucose levels, therefore there is a concern that it could interfere with blood glucose control during and after surgery. Stop using myrrh at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Systemic inflammation Complications: If you have systemic inflammation, use Myrrh with caution, since it might make this condition worse. Always consult with your doctor or medical professional before taking Myrrh.

Uterine bleeding Issues: Myrrh is able to stimulate uterine bleeding, and some women use it to start their menstrual periods. If you have a uterine bleeding condition, you should use myrrh with caution, since it could make this condition worse.

What other names is Myrrh known by?

Myrrh has many names and is also known as Abyssinian Myrrh, African Myrrh, Amyris kataf, Arabian Myrrh, Bal, Balsamodendron Myrrha, Balsamodendrum habessinicum, Balsamodendrum myrrha, Bdellium, Bol, Bola, Commiphora, Commiphora abyssinica, Commiphora erythraea, Commiphora habessinica, Commiphora kataf, Commiphora madagascariensis, Commiphora molmol, Commiphora myrrha, Common Myrrh, Didin, Didthin, Gomme de Myrrhe, Gum Myrrh, Heerabol, Hemprichia erythraea, Mirra, Mirrh, Mo Yao, Murrah, Myrrh Gum, Myrrha, Myrrhe, Myrrhe Africaine, Myrrhe Am ère, Myrrhe d’Arabie, Myrrhe Bisabol, Myrrhe Douce, Myrrhe de Somalie, Myrrhe du Ymen, Opopanax, Resina Commiphorae, Somalien Myrrh, Yemen Myrrh.

What makes Myrrh extract so great for skin?

Myrrh has ancient roots, and is steeped in the mystical, but the science of Myrrh is a bit less mysterious. Myrrh is filled with a number of compounds, and myrrh oil has been used against dry, inflamed and aging skin due to its terpenes. Myrrh has been shown to contain limonene, bacteria-fighting germacrene an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal, making it great for topical application on wounds.

How is Myrrh used in medicine?

Myrrh has been used throughout history for oral care and is commonly used today as an antiseptic in mouthwashes, gargles, and toothpastes. Today Myrrh is a common ingredient of tooth powders. Myrrh tincture can be used as a mouthwash. It is also used as an ingredient in liniments and healing salves that are meant to be applied to cuts, scrapes, abrasions and other minor skin ailments. Myrrh has been used thoughout history as an analgesic for toothaches and was often used in liniments for bruises, aches, and sprains.

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