Myrrh is more commonly known as one of the gifts, along with gold and frankincense, that the three Wise Men brought to baby Jesus in the New Testament. In fact, myrrh was actually mentioned in the bible 152 times! Myrrh was important in biblical times as it was used as a spice, a natural remedy, or to purify the dead. Myrrh oil is still commonly used today as a remedy for a variety of ailments. Researchers have become interested in myrrh due to its potent antioxidant activity and potential as a cancer treatment. It has also been shown to be effective in fighting certain types of parasitic infections.
What is Myrrh Oil?
Myrrh is a resin, or sap-like substance, that comes from a tree called Commiphora myrrha, common in Africa or the Middle East. Botanically, myrrh is related to Frankincense, and is one of the most widely used essential oils in the world. The myrrh tree is distinctive due to its white flowers and knotted conditions where it grows. It can sometimes take on an odd and twisted shape due to the harsh weather and wind.
In order to harvest myrrh the tree trunks must be cut into to release the resin. The resin is allowed to dry and begins to look like tears all along the tree trunk. The resin is then collected and the essential oil is made from the sap via steam distillation.
Watch this video to learn more about this incredible tree.
Myrrh oil has a smoky, sweet or sometimes bitter smell. The word myrrh comes from the Arabic word “murr” meaning bitter. The oil is a yellowish, orange color with a viscous consistency. It is commonly used as a base for perfume and other fragrances.
Two primary active compounds are found in myrrh, called terpenoids and sesquiterpenes, both of which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Sesquiterpenes specifically also have an effect on our emotional center in the hypothalamus, helping us remain calm and balanced. Both of these compounds are under investigation for their anticancer, antibacterial benefits as well as other potential therapeutic uses.
Watch this video to learn more about the benefits of frankincense and myrrh.
Myrrh Oil Uses
Myrrh essential oil has been used for thousands of years in traditional healing therapies and in religious ceremonies. The Chinese frequently used myrrh as a medicine, and it remains a part of traditional Chinese medicine to this day. The main myrrh oil use by the Egyptians was for embalming and the Jews used it to make the holy anointing oil that was used in worship services.
The most common historical myrrh oil use was to burn the resin over hot coals. This would release a mysterious, spiritual presence into any room before a religious ceremony. It has also been used in aromatherapy for its meditative quality or for prayer, usually in combination with frankincense.
The smell of myrrh has been traditionally seen as a symbol of suffering, burned at funerals or other sad events. But, at times myrrh is blended with citrus oils to help produce a more uplifting aroma. These lighter blends have been used to help promote inspiration and emotional insight.
The health benefits of myrrh oil can be attributed to its wide array of powerful properties.
Keep reading to find out other ways that myrrh essential oil can be used to benefit you.
The amazing properties listed above were highly priced by the ancient Greeks who issued their soldiers a vial of myrrh oil to be applied to external injuries. This was supposed to stop the bleeding immediately and to also help it cure. As myrrh is also an anti-fungal, it has been shown to assist in the treatment of excessive itching, ringworm, eczema, and athlete’s foot. Myrrh oil for gums is another popular use of the essential oil. Mouth ailments such as thrush, ulcers and problems with the gums can be relieved by the use of myrrh oil and it is great way to improve your dental hygiene regimen which is more important for overall health than you may have imagined.
Don’t let poor dental hygiene get the better of you! You can make an easy antiseptic mouthwash by mixing together 2 drops of myrrh essential oil with a glass of water and then rinse any areas affected with ulcers with this solution. To treat gingivitis, mix 2 drops of myrrh oil with 2 drops each of eucalyptus, lemon, and peppermint oil along with 40 ml of warm water. Use this as a mouthwash every night and rinse your gums.
Benefits Of Myrrh Oil
Benefit #1 Powerful Antioxidant
Myrrh can enhance the function of white blood cells and restore rates of the antioxidant enzyme known as glutathione. Those that have researched the herb have concluded that myrrh provides powerful antioxidant benefits which could protect one’s immune system and liver from the harmful effects of lead.
Benefit #2 Anti-Cancer
Myrrh has also been found to have anti-cancer benefits. A 2011 found that myrrh was able to reduce the proliferation or replication of human cancer cells. Researchers found that myrrh inhibited growth in eight different types of cancer cells, specifically gynecological cancers. Although further research is needed to determine exactly how to use myrrh for cancer treatment, this initial research is promising
Benefit #3 Antibacterial and Anti-fungal
Historically, myrrh was used to treat wounds and prevent infections. As was mentioned above, it can still be used in this manner on minor skin irritations such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and acne. Apply a few drops to a clean towel first before applying it directly to the skin.
Benefit #4 Anti-parasitic
A medication has been developed using myrrh as a treatment for fascioliasis infection, a parasite that has been infecting humans worldwide. This parasite is generally transmitted by ingesting aquatic algae and other plants. A medication made with myrrh was able to decrease symptoms of the infection, as well as a drop in parasite egg count found in the feces.
Benefit #5 Skin and Hair Health
Myrrh can help maintain healthy skin. It can help soothe chapped or cracked skin. It is commonly added to skin care products to help with moisturizing and also for fragrance. Ancient Egyptians used it to prevent aging and maintain healthy skin. Myrrh is also one of the best essential oils for hair, especially dry hair and scalp. It can be used to treat dryness of the scalp as well as dandruff. Furthermore as myrrh is an astringent it can also be used to prevent hairfall, keeping your hair thick and healthy
Benefit #6 Relaxation
Myrrh is commonly used in aromatherapy for massages. It can also be added to a warm bath or applied directly to the skin.
Benefit #7 Treatment for Ulcers and Wounds
Myrrh has the power to increase the function of white blood cells, critical for wound healing. It was found to decrease the incidence of ulcers and improve their healing time, in one 2010 study published in the Journal of Immunotoxicology. It can also be used on small scrapes and wounds to prevent infection.
Benefit #8 Helps Treat Hypothyroidism
Myrrh is a natural remedy for hypothyroidism, or a low functioning thyroid. Since it helps reduce stress, it can also help decrease stress on an overtaxed thyroid. Put 2-3 drops directly onto the thyroid area daily to help decrease symptoms.
Benefit #9 Helps Prevent Gum Disease and Mouth Infections
Due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, myrrh can help relieve inflammation of the mouth and gums caused by diseases such as gingivitis and mouth ulcers. It can also be used as mouth rinse to prevent gum disease. It can also freshen your breath and commonly used as an ingredient in mouthwash and toothpaste.
Benefit #10 Helps with Digestive Ailments
Myrrh promotes digestive health and can help to cure problems like stomach upset, diarrhea, dyspepsia, indigestion, flatulence and hemorrhoids
How Does Myrrh Oil Work?
Myrrh oil works by preventing infection and putrefaction, which helps clear toxins and promote tissue repair. It also has an expectorant action that make it useful for expelling excess mucus and soothing mucous membranes, which help alleviate respiratory conditions. Meanwhile, its calming effects on the mind and body are mostly attributed to the chemical compounds that stimulate the pituitary gland. The benefits of myrrh oil were amplified when used in conjunction with frankincense oil, and studies have proved that using myrrh and frankincense together is much more beneficial than using either alone.
You can use myrrh oil by:
Diffusing or inhaling it. You can also add a few drops to hot water and inhale the steam.
Applying it topically. Apply it directly on your skin to get its skin rejuvenating and healing properties. You can use it undiluted or mixed with carrier oils. Myrrh oil blends well with lavender, frankincense, sandalwood, and all spice oils.
Taking it internally. Myrrh oil has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used as a food additive and flavoring agent. However, it is not advisable to ingest it without the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider.
Here is a recipe for a great body lotion that you can make easily at home. It brings hydration and essential vitamins and nutrients to the skin. In addition, the essential oils tone, lift, heal and protect the skin. if you have acne scars or stretchmarks this recipe is a must try.
Make sure that all containers and ingredients are very clean. This lotion does not contain a preservative so to extend shelf life make sure everything is as clean as possible.
Melt the emulsifying wax and coconut oil in a double boiler until just melted.
Remove from heat and add olive or almond oil and whisk in.
Slowly add water, whisking to mix until all added.
Return double boiler to heat and heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes creamy and slightly thick. It will be the consistency of squeezable lotion from a store.
Add essential oils and whisk in.
Let cool and transfer to jar or bottle to store. I store in fridge to extend shelf life. Lasts for up to 3 weeks.
Use daily and enjoy the many benefits that these amazing essential oils have to offer!
Is Myrrh Oil Safe?
If used in moderation and correct dosage (especially when ingesting it topically), myrrh oil is generally safe for adults. However, as with other essential oils, it is advised to use this oil with caution.
Myrrh oil is not recommended for pregnant women and nursing moms, as it can induce menstruation and lead to premature labor. Children age six and below should also refrain from using this oil. Diabetics and other people suffering from health conditions should also consult their physician before using myrrh oil.
To make sure that myrrh oil will not have any allergic effects when applied topically, do a skin patch test on your inner arm first.
Side Effects of Myrrh Oil
According to a study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research, if myrrh oil is consumed in excessive amounts, it may affect your heart rate and lead to severe heart irregularities. Other possible side effects of myrrh oil include:
Lowered blood pressure
Making a fever worse
Some people with sensitivities to myrrh oil may also experience allergic contact dermatitis when using this oil. This oil may also interfere with anticoagulants, so it is advised that you avoid using it orally if you are taking these medications.