Myrrh - Best Herb for Many Health Problems

Myrrh

Commiphora myrrh a Burseraceae


Found mainly in East Africa and Somalia, the commiphora, or myrrh tree has a thick, twisted trunk, that can grow to a height of around 5m.The tiny leaves are made up of two leciflets, each with a spine at its tip. Small yellow-red flowers grow on the spiny branches in summer. In the rainy season, the bark, which ranges in colour from orange to grey, if cut, releases a thick resin or gum.


Parts used

  • Resin
  • During the rainy season, October to April, cuts are made in the bark of the tree, through which the resin oozes. This is white at first, then yellow and finally brownish red.
  • The resin solidifies to form cracked translucent pieces of varying shapes and sizes. This is the precious myrrh, mentioned in the Bible. It has a strong aroma and a bitter taste 'myrrh' is Hebrew for bitterness.
  • The myrrh pieces break up easily, and are used to make tinctures.

Constituents

Myrrh's essential oil contains furanosesquiterpenes which have an anti-inflammatory effect and also give the wood a rich characteristic scent. The plant's resins are rich in alcohols and triterpenic acids.


Medicinal uses

Myrrh is one of the earliest plants to be put to medicinal use. Its healing powers were widely appreciated in the ancient world, and more recently studies have confirm.ed its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, fever-reducing and analgesic actions. These are often employed in treating minor wounds as well as oral problems, such as inflammation, gum infections and damage caused by dentures.


Myrrh is also known to have the ability to relieve nasal congestion, and is reputed to help ease digestive problems due to trapped wind and muscle spasms.


PREPARATION AND DOSAGE

For external use


TO TREAT inflammation in the mouth, gum infections, damage caused by dentures
TINCTURE (1:5 in 90% alcohol) Put 1 teaspoon into a glass of water. Use up to three times a day as a mouth-wash, or applied directly to the affected area.


IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR


Cultivation

Myrrh grows best in well-drained soil, preferably in the sun. It needs Warmth of at least 10C, so a heated greenhouse is best. Grow from seed in spring, or from a cutting taken at the end of the growing season.


CAUTIONS

  • Myrrh is only suitable for external use. It should never be ingested.
  • Prolonged use of myrrh is not recommended, because it can cause allergic reactions in some people.
  • Individuals who suffer from any thyroid disorder should always seek the advice of a medical herbalist before using myrrh.
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are advised to use myrrh sparingly.


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