Arabic: Murr, Murrah Commiphora myrrha or C. molmol or Balsamodendron myrrha; Burseraceae (Frankincense and Myrrh Family)
Myrrh is collected from the stems of bushy shrubs found growing in southern Arabia and Somalia. A granular secretion exits the stem through natural fissures, or cuts, as a pale yellow liquid. It then hardens to a reddish-brown mass. It can be found in different sizes in the marketplace, most pieces being the size of large marbles or walnuts.
How to use: 1) Soak myrrh granules in water for two to three days and then drink the strained liquid; 2) Swallow small granules like pills; 3) Burn as incense.
Remedies across Arabia:
- Although it doesn’t taste very good because it is so bitter, myrrh is used to alleviate inflammation in the body.
- Myrrh water is an excellent mouthwash and is helpful for mouth sores or blisters, sore throats, bronchial congestion and other conditions requiring an antiseptic astringent.
- For burns, soak myrrh in a small amount of water. It is put on burns to reduce scars and to help in quickly healing wounds and to remove warts. (Southern Province)
- In the past, myrrh oil was wiped on a new baby’s navel. (Bahrain)
- Myrrh is very good to have if you have external cuts. It makes them get better quickly. (Central Province)
- We use myrrh for so many uses, for example to treat sores, appendicitis pain after operation, boils, stomach aches and the colon. Soak myrrh stones in water. Then place the water on the area of pain for boils, or drink it. (Central Province)
- Myrrh is used to help healing of wounds, minor burns and wounds of simple surgical operations. (Southern Province)
- Ancient Egyptians wore unguent cones saturated with myrrh, marjoram, sweet flag or lotus. They put the cones on their heads in the morning, and as the day grew hot, the cones would slowly melt, running down the body, keeping the skin moist and repelling insects throughout the day.
- Myrrh is an oil referenced throughout the Old and New Testaments. The Arabian people used it for many skin conditions, such as wrinkled, chapped and cracked skin. It has one of the highest levels of sesquiterpenes, a class of compounds that has direct effects on the hypothalamus, pituitary and amygdala, the seat of our emotions. Myrrh is widely used today in oral hygiene products.
- The Muslim physician al-Razi (Rhazes), perhaps the greatest of all medieval clinicians, used myrrh to treat ailments of the kidneys and bladder, to dissipate swellings in the stomach and for colic.
- In Egypt today, traditional medicine practitioners use myrrh as a stimulant, expectorant, antispasmodic, emmenagogue, antiputrescent and astringent. It is also used to treat dental caries and inflamed gums.
- Myrrh is a fixative, meaning it increases the longevity of the aroma of any fragrance it is combined with but doesn’t dominate or overpower that fragrance.
- Scientific tests have shown myrrh to possess significant antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.