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5 Healing Properties of Myrrh Oil

 

Healing Properties of Myrrh Essential Oils

Healing Properties of Myrrh Essential Oils

Gifted to the baby Jesus and remembered each year at Christmas, many of us may not realize that myrrh is actually used every day around the world. While most of our essential oils and herbal remedies come from leaves and flowers, myrrh is much more exotic. It is the resin, similar to a sap, of an African and Middle Eastern tree, the Commiphora myrrha.

We know that myrrh is of old thanks to the gifts of the Magi, but that’s not the only documentation. Ancient Egyptians, as part of their intricate mummification process, utilized myrrh in their rituals. We have record from Herodotus that describes myrrh’s use in approximately 450 B.C., though mummification was in practice for centuries prior. (1)

In other cultures, myrrh has been found historically used as medicine in China – still used to this day – as well as in Jewish anointing oils, no doubt among many other traditional uses for lling and ritual.

Myrrh essential oil is an incredible example of the way plant based medicines connect us with history. This tree has stood where ancient Egyptians and Hebrews walked, and still stands today, sharing its healing resin with yet another era. Not all healing is sweet and pleasant, though. Myrrh is named for the Arabic word for “bitter”: murr.

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Therapeutic Properties of Myrrh

Chemically, myrrh oil is comprised most notably of eugenol and terpenoids, both of which are known for their medicinal properties – for example, clove essential oil is comprised primarily of eugenol. (2)

Terpenoids have a reputation as potent healers, potentially because of their role in protecting the plant from oxidative stress. As we know, this kind of stress causes cell death, and it’s not exclusive to humans. Terpenoids carry antioxidant capabilities, then, to ward of oxidative stress and preserve the plant. Fortunately for us, we can share that same preserving effect! (3)

After centuries of use in aromatic and medicinal forms, science is uncovering more and more of the healing properties of myrrh oil by the day. Some of the scientifically acknowledged properties include:

  • Antiseptic
  • Anesthetic
  • Antitumor
  • Antiparasitic
  • Antioxidant
  • Wound healing

These actions have been traditionally applied to skin infections, oral health, inflammation, intestinal health, and pain relief, all confirmed in some way by modern science. (4)

The more research uncovers, the more we see stress in its various states as an underlying cause of so many illnesses and discomforts. It’s no wonder that a powerful antioxidant would carry such varied benefits. And powerful it is! Myrrh emulsion exhibits an antioxidant effect strong enough that it can protect the liver – the “detox” organ that is bombarded with toxins every day – from oxidative damage. (5)

Not only does myrrh utilize antioxidant properties to seek out free radicals and reverse oxidative damage, but it may be able to eliminate cancer cells, as well. Researchers in China recently published their findings on myrrh’s cancer fighting abilities, after lab tests demonstrated the inhibition of cancer cell growth. (6) As with most cancer research, the steps forward toward proven treatments are detailed and difficult, but the foundation is clearly there, and the potential is absolutely intriguing!

Myrrh Oil in 5 Healing Applications

So how exactly does one utilize such a powerful, ancient, even holy substance? Honestly, however you’d like! The healing properties of myrrh oil have an increasingly well-studied background, and has been demonstrated as one of the most effective remedies in more than one category. While it isn’t so much an immunomodulator for illness prevention, its healing capabilities are quite possibly unmatched.

1. Antimicrobial Benefits

Microbes are all around us, in many shapes and forms both beneficial and deleterious. When we’re thinking in terms of pharmaceuticals and traditional medicines, there are treatments for bacterial infections, another treatment for fungal infections, and still others for viruses. Prevention is compartmentalized, as well.

Natural antivirals, antifungals, and antibacterials exist, of course, with each substance carrying its own strengths and weaknesses. A strong antimicrobial, though, may have the ability to affect more than one category of microbes. Myrrh essential oil is one such antimicrobial substance. (7)

2. Wound Healing

With these antimicrobial effects in combination with pain and inflammation relief, myrrh is an excellent wound healer. In an interesting study evaluating postpartum women who delivered vaginally with an episiotomy, myrrh oil in a sitz bath or soap application was actually shown to help the perineum heal by warding off the identified bacteria Escherichia coli and Enterococcus faecalis. The researchers concluded, “These findings indicate that postpartum aromatherapy for perineal care could be effective in healing the perineum perineal care could be effective in healing the perineum.” (8)

3. Oral Health

The mouth is a dirty place. We’re exposed to so much through our mouths, making it a hotbed of microbes and potential illness. When we do get sick, our mouths often notice first – sore throats, phlegm, and other discomforts settle in as one of the first signs of many illnesses. What’s more, diseases of the mouth and gums are all too common.

According to a review conducted by Egyptian researchers, myrrh oil “is one of the most effective herbal medicines in the world for sore throats, canker sores and gingivitis.” (9) And when it is combined with frankincense essential oil, a special synergy occurs. According to a recent South African study,

Frankincense and myrrh essential oils have been used in combination since 1500 BC…When assayed in various combinations, the frankincense and myrrh oils displayed synergistic, additive and noninteractive properties, with no antagonism noted. When investigating different ratio combinations against Bacillus cereus, the most favourable combination was between B. papyrifera and C. myrrha.” (10)

Utilize its antiseptic, antimicrobial, and wound healing effects by putting a drop on your toothpaste when you brush your teeth each night.

4. Antiparasitic Actions

No one wants to think about parasite infestations, but what we really don’t want is to be caught with a parasite and unable to treat it. Egyptian scientists tackled this issue, as well, working with patience who had signs of parasites in their stool. Antiparasitic treatments are often harsh and come with intestinal discomfort. After testing a treatment utilizing myrrh essential oil, “no signs of toxicity or adverse reactions” were a problem and the treatment was successful. (11) This was against a specific parasite, of course, but the potential for improved treatment and even protection against infection exists!

5. Cancer Fighting

Last, but certainly not least, the ability myrrh essential oil has in healing cancer is becoming a popular topic in the industry. One of the most thorough studies on the topic was published in the journal Oncology Letters in 2013, and this is what they discovered about frankincense and myrrh oil:

“The effects of the two essential oils, independently and as a mixture, on five tumor cell lines, MCF-7, HS-1, HepG2, HeLa and A549, were investigated using the MTT assay. The results indicated that the MCF-7 and HS-1 cell lines showed increased sensitivity to the myrrh and frankincense essential oils compared with the remaining cell lines. In addition, the anticancer effects of myrrh were markedly increased compared with those of frankincense, however, no significant synergistic effects were identified.” (12)

Of course, no one is claiming that myrrh will cure cancer here, but as more research is conducted in this area, I hope to see more definitive recommendations on how to use it!

Recommendation: For a truly Biblical combination, use frankincense and myrrh essential oils together for a synergistic blend of antimicrobial benefits!’

Notably, these two resins are generally prescribed simultaneously in traditional Chinese medicine. They are used primarily to treat blood stagnation and inflammatory diseases, as well as for the relief of swelling and pain, (12) Even though there were no synergism noted regarding cancer, “A previous study identified that the combination of frankincense and myrrh oils exhibited synergistic effects on harmful bacterial infections Cryptococcus neoformans and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.” (12, 13)

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Resources:

  1. http://pubget.com/articles/elasticsearch_show/11677605
  2. http://www.researchgate.net/publication/10813073_components_therapeutic_value_and_uses_of_myrrh
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16492481
  4. http://pubget.com/articles/elasticsearch_show/17978635
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19818824/
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3796379/
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20922991
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15314339
  9. http://www.researchgate.net/publication/10813073_components_therapeutic_value_and_uses_of_myrrh
  10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22288378
  11. http://www.ajtmh.org/content/65/2/96.short
  12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3796379/
  13. http://pubget.com/articles/elasticsearch_show/22288378


This post currently has 43 comments.

  1. Jennifer Oliveira
    November 12, 2016

    Hi ,Will myrrh help me with my chron’s disease? I was thinking of trying cannabis oil.

      Reply
    • Reija
      December 7, 2016

      Have you tried goin 100% gluten free for a few months? I was able to “cure” my Crohn’s with strict gluten free diet but it was not an instant fix. It takes 2-3 months to get the gluten completely out of your system and before the body can start to repair it self. I’ve been mostly symptom and completely medication free for a few years now and would never go back to having the daily pains again. I also use essential oils and you could apply myrrh and franckinsense on your tummy and the bottoms of your feet at night diluted with a carrier oil (coconut, almond etc). Hope this helps

        Reply
  2. christy lim
    November 7, 2016

    Dr. Z., I am wondering whether Myrrh and Frankinsence has an effect on estrogen level. Can you share whether you have encountered any information in this regard.

    Many thanks,

    Christy

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      November 20, 2016

      Not that I’ve seen in the research.

      It should be noted that most EO experts agree that EOs are not “estrogenic” so this should be something to consider.

      Regarding the specifics, I apologize – I am limited by what I can and cannot say, and giving “medical advise” is definitely a no-no.

      But we do have way around the regulations!

      If you haven’t, please consider joining Dr. Z’s Essential Oils Club – we have lots of people that have joined and they share their tips and testimonials! http://essentialoilsclub.info

        Reply
  3. Andrew Neely
    November 3, 2016

    I am reading with interest about how you can take essential oils orally !! But a friend of mine who is a top aromotherapist told me that you should never injest essential oils by mouth as it could be toxic. But suggested you can rub into to skin in a carrier oil !!! I have cancer my self and am interested in using frankincense oil. At the moment I am taking a supplement called Curcumin C3 Complex as I heard curcumin is good for people with cancer !!! Please could you advise if it is safe to take the essential oils as described , thank you. Andrew

      Reply
  4. Karen
    November 1, 2016

    Hello Dr. Z,
    My son has had back pain and legs pain along with headaches for the last 2 years. Would myrrh help? How about franchinsense? He is 6 years old. Thank you!

      Reply
    • Customer Support
      December 9, 2016

      My apologies, but Dr. Z is legally prohibited from giving medical advice over email. He has, however, created a special Facebook group that can help as we have hundreds of members that are actively engaged in sharing testimonies of how they have overcome similar illnesses as yours. You can be part of it by joining his essential oil’s club here –> http://essentialoilsclub.info

        Reply
  5. Debbie
    November 1, 2016

    Could you tell me if myrrh sand frankincense can be applied together topically in a carrier oil on the thyroid gland to help with an under active thyroid? What would the dilution be and how often can this be applied? Thanks.

      Reply
    • Customer Support
      November 23, 2016

      Dr. Z always recommends oils be diluted at no more than 8 drops of oil to an ounce of a carrier oil. 🙂

        Reply
  6. Melissa
    September 20, 2016

    Hi Dr. Z
    My son was diagnosed with HFMD yesterday. Can both Frankincense and Myrrh help with healing?
    Thanks in advance
    Melissa

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      September 20, 2016

      Hi Melissa,

      There is virtually no research on HFMD and essential oils. There are studies, however, suggesting that curcumin (the primary ingredient in turmeric can help http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4629085/.

      I personally use a turmeric extract that you can get here –> http://goo.gl/5ZkvxW.

      With that said, I’ve seen a lot of stuff online about various immunity blends and tea tree, but make sure you HIGHLY dilute for kids. 🙂

      Praying for speedy healing!!

        Reply
  7. Jackie MacDowell
    August 25, 2016

    Dr. Z, What oils might be helpful for Kidney failure?

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      August 26, 2016

      Hi Jackie,

      Unfortunately, I haven’t seen anything in the research literature about that.

      I have seen some personal testimonials, however, about juniper berry, grapefruit and others.

      –> http://www.oil-testimonials.com/essential-oils/10104/fathers-kidney-function-increased-from-20-to-29-
      –> http://www.oil-testimonials.com/essential-oils/3678/increased-kidney-function

        Reply
    • Rita Beitz
      September 8, 2016

      I am responding to the kidney failure question. I have been putting baking soda about 1 tsp in the water of my cat. It took about 4 months, but she had regained her energy, her appetite and is a brand new cat. This is a proven therapy for humans as well. If you are looiking for information, pull up baking soda and kidney disease. I know that this is keeping my cat healthy and out of danger. My other cat died in about 3 months after showing all the signs of kidney disease. Took him to the vet and they cannot do anything. Then my other cat started down the same road. So, I took a chance on the baking soda. It is now over 6 months later and she drinks her soda water religiously. It works, and it a God send. You will be amazed at the studies done with kidney patients and baking soda. Best of luck to you and God bless you.

        Reply
      • Dr. Z
        September 8, 2016

        Thanks for sharing Rita!!

          Reply
      • Kathy
        November 8, 2016

        Diabetics tend to urinate a lot which 1) wears the kidneys out. 2) gets you eltrolites out of balance.

        CO2 is a main electrolyte that is lost and if it gets low then the potassium levels get too high. Which then causes heart issues. By putting baking Sosa in the cats water helps with the balance. When my x-husband was in kidney failure. We put baking sofa in his water. We labeled it as his BS water. And it assisted in less hospitalizations. Dr said we could do that or he could take a Rx for sodium bicarbonate. C which is the exact same thing. Worked great. Hope this helps with understanding why baking sofa is helping your cat.

          Reply
  8. Laura
    August 23, 2016

    I am curious to see if using a fresh ground resin into a powder form would also be beneficial with the frankincense and myrrh….

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      August 24, 2016

      Oh, yes, definitely!

        Reply
  9. George
    April 30, 2016

    I am on a fruit diet to detox my body. I’ve also lately been taking like 2 drops of Myrrh with 2-3 drops of Frankincense in a spoon of pure bee honey, morning and evening.
    It may feel like I have been detoxing heavier lately, could this refer to the oils I’ve been taking?

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      April 30, 2016

      Hi George,

      I’m not sure what you mean by “detoxing heavier,” so it’s hard to say.

      At the end of the day, any detoxification process may contribute to unwanted symptoms like achy joints, soreness, fatigue and etc. This could very well be due to the dietary changes. Be sure to load up on LOTS of water and consider getting off your detox if you’re experiencing abnormal symptoms like constipation, sharp pain, inflammation and etc…

        Reply
      • George
        May 3, 2016

        Thank you Dr. Z!
        I’ve been on various diets to detox my body, the last 2 years heavily on fruits; I juice and consume on the average 2 quarts daily; and which includes a couple of glasses of carrot juice.
        I had become extremely toxic, lymph congested, acidic….you name it.
        Several contributing factors, the worst I’m sure was chelation administered to clean out mercury (from amalgam in teeth), and also chelation to prevent, as I was told, heart attach etc….meaning to clean up veins in case of cholesterol plaque……

        I lately learned about Frankincense and Myrrh…..and I’ve been experimenting lately, and thus my question above.

        Yes, pure therapeutic grade brands.

        Thanks again Dr. Z!

          Reply
        • George
          June 14, 2016

          Me again Dr. Z!
          So, I am still wondering if you think my intake/supplement of Frankincense and Myrrh would help/spur detoxing in the body?

          Thank you.
          George

            Reply
          • Dr. Z
            July 9, 2016

            Hi George,

            That’s not an easy question to answer because “detox” is a catchall term / not readily defined in the medical community. I’m in the process of writing an article about this to help clarify the situation.

            With that said, essential oils should never cause unpleasant signs and symptoms and, if they do, discontinuing use immediately is advised.

             
    • Irene
      September 17, 2016

      How did the detox work for you after? I am interested in doing the same thing 🙂

        Reply
  10. Sherry
    March 30, 2016

    Are you using certified pure therapeutic grade brand of oils?

      Reply
  11. Patty
    February 3, 2016

    can myrrh oil be used for knee pain and if so how can you apply it?

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      February 3, 2016

      Definitely! I’d dilute with a carrier oil at a 2:1 ration (carrier oil to essential oil), and apply topically. 🙂

        Reply
  12. John Pilla
    November 30, 2015

    You mention taking 1 drop Frankincemse with 4 oz water, etc as a cancer preventive ea AM. Similarfor Myrrh?

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      November 30, 2015

      Myrrh is fantastic! Some find it best to put in a get capsule or 1 drop in a teaspoon of coconut oil to dilute it.

        Reply
      • Angie Decker
        October 28, 2016

        What do you recommend as a coconut oil alternative (my dad is allergic to coconut)?

          Reply
        • Dr. Z
          November 2, 2016

          Jojoba and sweet almond are nice alternatives. 🙂

            Reply
  13. Kristine
    November 7, 2015

    Have essential oils been used for treating seizures or for benign tumors of the brain?

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      November 8, 2015

      Hi Kristine,

      I haven’t found research regarding seizures or benign tumors, but there is a growing body of research about malignant tumors like Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

        Reply
  14. Gisela O'Brien
    November 2, 2015

    can these two oils be ingested to help inflammation due to osteo-arthritis?

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      November 5, 2015

      Hi Dee, the research out there discusses various species of frankincense. Each species has different properties, but we don’t know enough (clinically) to make a determination if one is more beneficial than another. From all of the testimonies that I’ve seen out there, a case can be made for either argument.

        Reply
  15. Lynne
    November 1, 2015

    I would like to know more about oils for use as
    preventatives, eg. antioxidant and other applications, on the grounds that prevention is better than cure.
    Thank you,
    Blessings.

      Reply
  16. Amanda C
    October 13, 2015

    Very interesting. Do you think using myrrh and frankincense combined is a good idea. I have a friend who just had a double mastectomy and starts chemo in a few days. I would at least like some recommendations on what would be a good oil to help with the side effects of chemo. Thanks!

      Reply

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