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Myrrh is one of the oldest known medicines, dating back to at least 1550 B.C. The ancient Egyptians used myrrh oil for embalming purposes due to its excellent preservative properties—myrrh acts as an antiseptic and antiputrescent (to prevent putrifying or rotting). There is even evidence that they used myrrh in their perfumes, cosmetics and for skin care in facial masks.1-4

Myrrh oil has been shown to be effective for healing wounds and ulcers, due to its anti-inflammatory and astringent qualities. Applied topically, myrrh can be used for a variety of skin problems, including ringworm, eczema and psoriasis. It is even beneficial for improving stretch marks, scars and aging or wrinkled skin.1-4

The essential oil of myrrh contains the phenol eugenol, which is believed to be responsible for myrrh’s analgesic effects. Eugenol is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that inhibits prostaglandin E (PGE) synthesis. Research shows that eugenol is strongly anesthetic and antiseptic against bacterial and viral infections. Eugenol also reduces gut motility in diarrhea and has even been shown to inhibit platelet aggregation in vitro.2,5-7

Myrrh oil can also be employed in the treatment of PMS when used along with other oils believed to exert hormone-like properties. Valued as a uterine tonic, myrrh may also prove beneficial for regulating the menses and relieving menstrual difficulties such as amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) and dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation).1-3,8

Myrrh oil is well-known for its use as a mouth rinse or gargle for virtually any type of mouth or throat ailment, including canker sores, gingivitis, laryngitis, pyorrhea and thrush, as well as teeth and gum problems. In fact, myrrh oil is an excellent additive found in many toothpaste formulas.1-3,8

With expectorant and antiseptic properties and the ability to reduce inflammation of the mucous membranes, myrrh oil is often utilized for pulmonary conditions, such as bronchitis, chest colds and congested sinuses, and to help prevent or inhibit contagion. Myrrh oil is considered an excellent inhalant, providing a head-clearing, drying and warming effect.1-4,8

Its fungicidal effects make myrrh an effective remedy for athlete’s foot and as a vaginal douche for leukorrhea.2-4

Psychologically-speaking, myrrh effects a sense of calmness or sedation, while simultaneously fortifying the body’s more “etheric” energy. Not surprisingly, myrrh has a long history of use in religious ceremonies and as an incense for promoting deep meditation and improving the intellect.1,2,4

Due to its potential for promoting menstruation, myrrh oil should be avoided during pregnancy.1-3

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1 Chevallier, A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. NY, NY: Dorling Kindersley, 1996.

2Damian, P. and Damian, K. Aromatherapy: Scent and Psyche. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1995.

3Wildwood, C. The Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1996.

4Schiller, C. and Schiller, D. Aromatherapy Oils: A Complete Guide. NY, NY: Sterling Publishing Co., 1996.

5Buckle RGN, J. Clinical Aromatherapy in Nursing. San Diego, CA: Singular Publishing Group Inc., 1997.

6Wagner, H., et. al. “In vitro inhibition of prostaglandin biosynthesis by essential oils and phenolic compounds.” Planta Medica; 1986, 3: 184-187.

7Schnaubelt PhD, K. Advanced Aromatherapy. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1995.

8Lawless, J. The Encyclopaedia of Essential Oils. Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1992.