Myrrh essential oil is a very powerful universal essential oil, its use dating back many centuries having been traded in the Middle East and North Africa for more than 5,000 years. Myrrh has a long history of medical use along the Silk Road from Arabia into China. Myrrh essential oil has been part of medical practice in traditional therapies for millennia. It has been used throughout history as a perfume, incense and medicine. It was so valuable in ancient times that it was, at times, equal in weight value to gold.
Throughout time myrrh has been known to offer all manner of healing benefits for conditions like asthma, athlete’s foot, cough, candida, ringworm, eczema, gingivitis, gum infections, hemorrhoids, mouth ulcers, ringworm, wounds, wrinkles, and chapped or cracked skin.
- The enormously gifted Benedictine abbess and polymath Hildegard von Bingen (1098–1179) included myrrh as a healing tool in her book of medicines.
- The Vedas, the large body of knowledge texts originating in the ancient Indian subcontinent from 400 to 1500 BC, prescribed myrrh for healing.
- The ancient Egyptians procured huge boat shipments of myrrh resin from the Phoenicians and used it in incense, insect repellent, salves for wounds and sores, and as a key ingredient in the embalming process. History indicates they also used it to treat hay fever and herpes. And even back then, Egyptian women abhorred wrinkles and aging skin and used myrrh oil as a rejuvenating facial treatment.
- An ointment of myrrh was carried by Greek soldiers into battle to counter infections.
Alain Touwaide, the Smithsonian’s scientific director of the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions, tells us the Greek physician Hippocrates known for revolutionizing the practice of medicine (c.460–377 BC), wrote about myrrh for healing more than any other plant substance. He relates that myrrh was also used as an antiseptic, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory agent and calls myrrh one of the “antibiotics of history.”
Today myrrh is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda and aromatherapy. Many natural toothpastes contain myrrh and there’s a reason for that: myrrh benefits dental and gum health and helps keep the mouth clean and gums free of infection. Many Egyptian skeletons have been found with teeth completely intact and archeologists and historians often point to the use of myrrh as a key factor.
Maintaining healthy skin is one of myrrh oil's renowned uses as it slows down the signs of aging. This is why it's commonly added to many skincare products today.
Packed with antioxidants, myrrh is great for anti-aging, skin rejuvenation, or healing of wounds. It encourages new cell growth and is effective in the prevention and treatment of wrinkles. Myrrh has been shown to improve skin circulation thereby improving complexion. This is why Commiphora mukul extract (myrrh) is a key component of PHYTO5’s Ageless La Cure Facial Serum and Cream kit.
Myrrh resin is a natural gum which emerges from the tree bark of the Commiphora once it is cut. The word myrrh comes from the Arabic word "murr" which translates to “bitter.” Myrrh is actually one of many bitters that offers all kinds of health benefits from curbing sugar cravings to supporting liver function and healthy, radiant skin.
Myrrh contains a high content of sesquiterpenes, a class of compounds that have a direct effect on the pituitary,* hypothalamus,**and amygdala.***
Research from the Universities of Berlin and Vienna show increased oxygenation around the pineal and pituitary glands when myrrh is used. Further research has shown that sesquiterpenes have the ability to surpass the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain tissue.
It is purifying, restorative, revitalizing, and uplifting and can be a wonderful component used in meditation.
*Pituitary: receptor of intuition and vision and the master gland of the body
**Hypothalamus: region of the forebrain that coordinates both the autonomic nervous system and the activity of the pituitary, homeostatic systems, and involved in sleep and emotional activity
***Amygdala: a roughly almond-shaped mass of gray matter inside each cerebral hemisphere involved with the experiencing of emotions
Young, Kac. The Healing Art of Essential Oils: A Guide to 50 Oils for Remedy, Ritual, and Everyday Use. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2017. Print.
Jacknin, Jeanette. Smart Medicine for Your Skin: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Conventional and Alternative Therapies to Heal Common Skin Problems. New York: Avery, 2001. Print.