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Myrrh

Myrrh
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Botanical name

True myrrh bush - Commiphora myrrha (Nees) Engl.

Family

Burseraceae

Useful information about the plant

Commiphora species are common in the arid regions of tropical and subtropical Africa and Arabia, and some species also grow in Madagascar and the Indian subcontinent. There are shrubs or small trees with sharp thorns and small flowers sprout in panicles at the ends of the branches. Myrrh probably comes from different types of Commiphora and it is not comprehensible from which shrub myrrh is actually obtained, as other Commiphora species secrete a gum resin. Commiphora myrrha is definitely the main supplier of myrrh.

Medicinally used plant parts (drug)

Myrrh is a secretion product of the myrrh bush. It is formed in the resin ducts in the bark and is formed as a liquid gum resin either spontaneously or when you break the bark of the shrub. In air, the resin then solidifies in irregular, orange-brown pieces. To obtain the myrrh, the bark is cut after the rainy season from June to August and the hardened myrrh is collected. The commercially available drug comes from collections in the Sudan, Yemen, Eritrea and Somalia.

Ingredients of the drug

As a gum resin, myrrh is an alcohol-soluble fraction (diterpene and triterpene) and a water-soluble gum fraction made from carbohydrates; the pleasant scent comes from the essential oil.

Descriptions of the quality

The quality of the following drugs or drug preparations is specified in the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.):

  • Myrrh (Myrrha)
  • Myrrh tincture (Myrrhae tinctura)

Medical Application

Recognised medical use

For the local treatment of mild inflammation of the mouth and throat, inflammation of the gums and denture pressure sores (Commission E, ESCOP).

Traditional use

In combination with other agents to support the function of the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat (traditional application acc. to § 109a).

Medicinal herbal preparations in finished drug products

Myrrh is applied in the form of a tincture (myrrh tincture).

Dosage

Myrrh tincture with a brush or cotton swab 2 to 3 times daily undiluted or add 5 - 10 drops in a glass of water and rinse your mouth or gargle.

Advice

Myrrh tincture may not be used by alcohol abusers.
There is as yet no experience on the safety of use of myrrh during pregnancy, breastfeeding or in children under 12 years old, do not apply without consulting a doctor.

Side effects

None known

Interactions

None known

References

Drug monographs

Commission E, ESCOP, WHO (Bd. 3)

Further reading

Wichtl: Teedrogen und Phytopharmaka, pg. 453
Schilcher: Leitfaden Phytotherapie, pg. 185
Van Wyk: Handbuch der Arzneipflanzen, pg. 111
Kommentar zum Europäischen Arzneibuch (Mrrh, no. 1349; Myrrh tincture, no. 1877)

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