Complementary Medicine - Cam
Parts Used & Where Grown
Myrrh grows as a shrub in desert regions, particularly in northeastern Africa and the Middle East. The resin obtained from the stems is used in medicinal preparations.
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3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:
Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)
In ancient times, the red-brown resin of myrrh was used to preserve mummies. It was also used as a remedy for numerous infections, including leprosy and syphilis. Myrrh was also recommended by herbalists for relief from bad breath and for dental conditions.1 In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it has been used to treat bleeding disorders and wounds .
How It Works
How It Works
The three main constituents of myrrh are the resin, the gum, and the volatile oil. All are thought to be important in myrrh’s activity as an herbal medicine. The resin has reportedly been shown to kill various microbes and to stimulate macrophages (a type of white blood cell) in test tube studies.15 Myrrh also has astringent properties and has a soothing effect on inflamed tissues in the mouth and throat. Studies continue on the potential anticancer and pain-relieving actions of myrrh resin.16 , 17 Human clinical trials are lacking to confirm most uses of myrrh.
In a preliminary trial, patients with schistosomiasis (a parasitic infection) were treated with a combination of resin and volatile oil of myrrh, in the amount of 10 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight per day for three days. The cure rate was 91.7% and, of those who did not respond, 76.5% were cured by a second six-day course of treatment, increasing the overall cure rate to 98.1%.18
How to Use It
The German Commission E monograph recommends that persons either dab the undiluted tincture in the mouth or gargle with 5–10 drops of tincture in a glass of water three times daily.19 In addition, tincture of myrrh, 1–2 ml three times per day, can be taken. The tincture can also be applied topically for canker sores . Due to the gummy nature of the product, a tea cannot be made from myrrh. Capsules, containing up to 1 gram of resin taken three times per day, can be used as well.
Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds
At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.
Interactions with Medicines
As of the last update, no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
At the time of writing, there were no well-known side effects caused by this supplement.
1. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmet ics, 2d ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996, 382–3.
2. Serfaty R, Itic J. Comparative trial with natural herbal mouthwash versus chlorhexidine in gingivitis. J Clin Dentistry 1988;1:A34.
3. Yamnkell S, Emling RC. Two-month evaluation of Parodontax dentifrice. J Clin Dentistry 1988;1:A41.
4. Sheir Z, Nasr AA, Massoud A, et al. A safe, effective, herbal antischistosomal therapy derived from myrrh. *Am J Trop Med Hyg* 2001;65:700–4.
5. Hudson T. Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Lincolnwood, IL: Keats, 1999, 54.
6. Kato T, Iijima H, Ishihara K, et al. Antibacterial effects of Listerine on oral bacteria. Bull Tokyo Dent Coll 1990;31:301–7.
7. Cosentino S, Tuberoso CI, Pisano B, et al. In-vitro antimicrobial activity and chemical composition of Sardinian Thymus essential oils. Lett Appl Microbiol 1999;29:130–5.
8. Petersson LG, Edwardsson S, Arends J. Antimicrobial effect of a dental varnish, in vitro. Swed Dent J 1992;16:183–9.
9. Cox SD, Mann CM, Markham JL, et al. The mode of antimicrobial action of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil). J Appl Microbiol 2000;88:170–5.
10. Serfaty R, Itic J. Comparative trial with natural herbal mouthwash versus chlorhexidine in gingivitis. J Clin Dent 1988;1:A34–7.
11. Dolara P, Corte B, Ghelardini C, et al. Local anaesthetic, antibacterial and antifungal properties of sesquiterpenes from myrrh. Planta Med 2000;66:356–8.
12. Hannah JJ, Johnson JD, Kuftinec MM. Long-term clinical evaluation of toothpaste and oral rinse containing sanguinaria extract in controlling plaque, gingival inflammation, and sulcular bleeding during orthodontic treatment. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 1989;96:199–207.
13. Langmead L, Feakins RM, Goldthorpe S, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral aloe vera gel for active ulcerative colitis. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2004;19:739–47.
14. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield, UK: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1989, 114–5.
15. Mills SY. Out of the Earth: The Essential Book of Herbal Medicine. Middlesex, UK: Viking Arkana, 1991, 500–2.
16. Al-Harbi MM, Qureshi S, Raza M, et al. Anticarcinogenic effect of Commiphora molmol on solid tumors induced by Ehrlich carcinoma cells in mice. Chemotherapy 1994;40:337–47.
17. Dolara P, Luceri C, Ghelardini C, et al. Analgesic effects of myrrh. Nature 1996;376:29.
18. Sheir Z, Nasr AA, Massoud A, et al. A safe, effective, herbal antischistosomal therapy derived from myrrh. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2001;65:700–4.
19. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 173–4.
Last Review: 11-07-2012
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