Myrrh

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / Honayst

What is Myrrh?

Myrrh is a sap-like substance (resin) that comes out of cuts in the bark of trees that are members of the Commiphora species. Commiphora mukul, a related species, is not a source of myrrh. Myrrh is used to make medicine.

Myrrh is used for indigestion, ulcers, colds, cough, asthma, lung congestion, arthritis pain, cancer, leprosy, spasms, and syphilis. It is also used as a stimulant and to increase menstrual flow. Myrrh is applied directly to the mouth for soreness and swelling, inflamed gums (gingivitis), loose teeth, canker sores, bad breath, and chapped lips. It is also used topically for hemorrhoids, bedsores, wounds, abrasions, and boils. In foods and beverages, myrrh is used as a flavoring component. In manufacturing, myrrh is used as a fragrance, in incense, and as a fixative in cosmetics. It is also used in embalming.

Are there safety concerns?

Myrrh seems safe for most people when used in small amounts. It can cause some side effects such as skin rash if applied directly to the skin, and diarrhea if taken by mouth. Large doses may be UNSAFE. Amounts greater than 2-4 grams can cause kidney irritation and heart rate changes.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Breast-feeding mothers should also avoid using myrrh. Not enough is known about the safety of using myrrh when breast-feeding.

Diabetes: 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.

Fever: 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: Since myrrh might affect blood glucose levels, there is a concern that it might interfere with blood glucose control during and after surgery. Stop using myrrh at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Systemic inflammation: If you have systemic inflammation, use myrrh with caution, since it might make this condition worse.

Uterine bleeding: Myrrh seems to be able to stimulate uterine bleeding, which is why some women use it to start their menstrual periods. If you have a uterine bleeding condition, use myrrh with caution, since it might make this condition worse.

Are there any interactions with medications?

Myrrh might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking myrrh along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

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.

Dosing considerations for Myrrh.

The appropriate dose of myrrh depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for myrrh. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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