• Myrrh is the name of an herb that comes from the genus Commiphora within the family Burseraceae. It is the aromatic resin produced by tiny thorny trees within the Commiphora genus. Myrrh resin is a natural gum, and true myrrh is produced mainly from the tree species called Commiphora Molmol or Commiphora Myrrha. This species is native to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, and Yemen. The English word myrrh comes from the Arabic مر(mur) which means “bitter.” Myrrh has been in use since Biblical times and is referenced throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Did you know that myrrh was one of the three gifts brought to the baby Jesus by the three wise men?
• The process of extracting myrrh from its trees is very similar to the extraction process for frankincense (tapping.) The trees are “wounded” or slashed through the bark into the sapwood. The actual myrrh resin will then bleed out of the wounds and will eventually coagulate and harden into myrrh gum. The gum is mainly a yellowish-gold color but can even be opaque or clear colored. As it ages it will darken and white lines or streaks will form through the gum.
• Myrrh gum can be used in many different products and industries. While typically used for the incense and perfume industries, it can also be used for medicinal purposes, soaping, cosmetics, skin care, bath and body products, hair care, and even in foods and beverages. Common products it can be used in are perfume, incense, foot treatments, soaps, and ointments. Did you know ancient Egyptians used myrrh as an embalming agent for mummies?
• While there are many trees within the Commiphora genus, the species called Commiphora Molmol (Myrrha), is used mainly to extract pure myrrh resin. This tree is more commonly known as herabol myrrh, gum myrrh, Somali myrrh, Common myrrh, or African myrrh. It can grow anywhere from 9-13 feet tall, while it prefers an altitude of anywhere from 820-4,270 feet. It grows best in areas with yearly rainfall rates of 9.1-11.8 inches in thin soils, primarily in areas with limestone. Commiphora Molmol is native mainly to Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Yemen, and Somalia.
• These trees that contain myrrh gum typically grow about 9-13 feet tall. The trees have a thick, light gray colored trunk with knotted main branches. There are smaller branches that protrude out of the tree at right angles with very sharp spines. There are two types of leaves on them. The leaves are dispersed throughout the tree in pairs of one smaller oval shaped leaflet with an even larger leaflet. All of the leaves are completely hairless and are roughly “toothed” along the edges. There is a small oval shaped brown fruit that grows on them. There are reddish-yellow flowers that also grow on the trees out of long stalks in branching and elongated clusters.
• There are no known significant threats to Commiphora Molmol trees, although overwatering the trees can cause them to rot faster.
Myrrh Uses in Industries
• While myrrh is mainly in the perfuming and incense industries, it can also be used as a flavoring agent for food products and beverages as well. It is also used as a stabilizing agent and fragrance for foods. It has a mildly sweet acidic taste and can be used as a garnish or fresh ingredient for salads. It can even be added to seafood.
Bath and Body Products
• Myrrh gum and/or powder can be used in many different products and industries. It can be used for skin care, hair care, soaping, bath and body products, medicinal purposes, foods and beverages and cosmetics. Myrrh exhibits many antiseptic, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and anti-fungal properties.
• Many common products that include myrrh are soaps, incense, perfume, foot treatments, and ointments.
• There are many skin care benefits of using myrrh. It helps to repair cracked, damaged, wrinkled, and chapped skin. It also reduces wrinkles and swelling, cools the skin, helps to heal blemishes, rejuvenates cell growth, contracts the skin, and helps to maintain a youthful complexion.
• For hair care, myrrh oil is an astringent and helps to strengthen and soften hair and prevent hair loss. It also treats lice, dandruff, dry scalp, and underactive sebaceous glands.
• There are many medicinal benefits to using myrrh gum/powder. It helps to treat canker sores, fever blisters, sore throats, asthma, coughs, ulcers, indigestion, hemorrhoids, joint pain, congestion, rheumatism, lung congestion, bronchitis, and laryngitis. Ancient Egyptians used myrrh as treatment for herpes and hay fever, while ancient Greek soldiers commonly carried myrrh onto the battlefields with them. It was used as an antiseptic for cleaning their battle wounds.
• For women, in Unani and Ayurveda medicine, myrrh is used to treat excessive uterine bleeding. It is also used for stomach pains and kidney dysfunction.
• In traditional Chinese medicine the first recorded use of myrrh was during the Tang Dynasty in 600 A.D. It is combined with many other herbs such as cinnamon and safflower petals and used externally and internally. It is used to treat spleen, heart, and liver problems and arthritic, rheumatic, and circulatory problems. Specifically for women, it is used as treatment for menopause, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, uterine problems, and bleeding from the uterus.
• For dental care, myrrh is used for its antiseptic properties in toothpaste, mouth washes, and gargles. It helps to treat and prevent gum disease, and helps with bad breath.
• Myrrh has been show to help increase good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.
• For cancer treatments, myrrh helps to inhibit tumor growth and works to treat and fight the cancer itself.
• It also helps to treat athlete’s foot, bruising, bleeding, wounds, relieves gastric problems, and helps to calm stressed nerves.
• Myrrh oil even works as a booster for the immune system, helping to activate and strengthen the system and protecting the body from infections.
• In the Bible, in the book of Esther, myrrh oil is used in a purification ritual for the new queen of King Ahasuerus.
• Nature’s Garden sells myrrh gum powder for external use only. We do not sell it as a food item. The information above talks about how great myrrh is for many industries, however we only sell it for external use. We provide this data for educational purposes only. Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using this product or any of this information for treatment purposes.
• Are you wondering what you could use this wonderful product in as soon as possible? Maybe something to celebrate the holiday season? Well then make sure to try our free recipe for our Frankincense and Myrrh Soap! It is made with our Myrrh Gum Powder! And make sure to check out all the rest of our free classes and recipes as well!