Principal Proposed Uses:
Other Proposed Uses
Probably Ineffective Uses
Myrrh is the dried resin of the tree Commiphora myrrha . Native to Somalia and eastern Ethiopia, myrrh has a long history of traditional use in perfumes and incense. Additionally, it has perhaps an equally long history as a medicinal treatment, primarily for conditions of the mouth, such as canker sores , gum disease , halitosis, and sore throat . Note : Commiphora myrrha is not the same plant as the similarly named Commiphora mukul . The latter is the source of guggulsterones, proposed for use in treating elevated cholesterol .
What Is Myrrh Used for Today?
Modern herbalists continue to use myrrh for its traditional uses related to the mouth. In addition, it has been advocated for treatment of eczema
and stomach ulcers
. However, there is no meaningful scientific evidence that the herb provides any benefits when used for these or any other purposes. Beginning in 2001, a pharmaceutical-grade myrrh product known as Mirazid was marketed for treatment of the disease schistosomiasis. Caused by a type of flatworm, schistosomiasis is common in Africa as well as parts of Asia and South America. It is a seriously debilitating illness, and considerable attention has been devoted to addressing it. China, for example, eliminated the illness within its borders by means of a massive countrywide effort involving much of the country’s human population—working by hand, the Chinese people destroyed the entire population of the snail species that carries schistosomiasis. However, while this approach was successful, use of myrrh was not. It appears that the marketing of Mirazid as a schistosomiasis treatment was premature. A few highly preliminary studies had shown benefit, but subsequent full-scale trials found it to be far less effective than conventional treatment, and perhaps not effective at all. 1,2