Whether it’s biblical stories about the gift of the Magi for the newborn Christ or exotic aromatherapy remedies, myrrh essential oil has a special spot in the sun. And if your interest has been piqued by this essential oil, we have the complete reckoner on its uses. A plant-based gum resin, myrrh is sourced from cuts made in the bark of trees that belong to the Commiphora genus. The genus Commiphora has over 200 species, a majority of which have been used to treat skin and dental issues, pain, diarrhea, and inflammatory conditions since ancient times.
[pullquote]Most of the therapeutic properties of myrrh can be attributed to terpenoids, which are also present in the essential oil. These give myrrh its pain-relieving, antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, antitumor, and anesthetic properties. Myrrh’s ability to heal wounds has already been established by its use in many commercial products.1 23 4 5[/pullquote]
Today scientific studies are still unraveling the mysteries of myrrh, from its ability to kill cancer cells to building tolerance to pain. While these discoveries are still some way off from becoming mainstream remedies or therapy for disease, there are a range of health and beauty conditions that you can treat at home with myrrh essential oil.
1. Prevents Premature Skin Aging
Myrrh essential oil is reputed to have anti-aging abilities because of its powerful antioxidants, making it an effective means to keep wrinkles at bay.6 The inherent stress-reducing properties of essential oils also help clear skin. Myrrh can also help soften chapped, cracked, or rough skin. It stimulates the generation of new cells and improves blood circulation, giving the skin a smooth and youthful look.7
How to use:
Since essential oils are extremely potent, herbalists recommend making a diluted solution of floral waters that can be safely used on sensitive facial skin. Further, being volatile, the combinations need to be prepared just before use.
- Fill a spray bottle with 4 oz of distilled water. To this, add 5–10 drops of myrrh essential oil. Use as required.
- You can also add myrrh to your favorite moisturizer or body lotion. Take as much lotion as you need and add no more than 3 drops of myrrh essential oil. Blend well and apply.
- Add 1 drop of myrrh oil to a preparation including 1 drop frankincense oil, 2 drops geranium oil, and a base of 1/4 oz vitamin E oil or jojoba oil. Massage this oil on your face twice a day. It works best on dry to normal skin.8
- Use myrrh in a steam facial to firm up your skin. To a bowl of hot water, add 2 drops each of myrrh and frankincense oil along with 1 drop of lavender oil. Cover your head with a towel, steam your face with the mix, and later splash cold water on your face.9
2. Treats Wounds And Fungal Infections
Myrrh’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, healing, and antiseptic properties have already been mentioned. Here are a couple of ways in which a bottle of myrrh essential oil in your cabinet can come in handy to treat skin conditions:
- Wounds: Put 2 drops of myrrh essential oil on a sterile gauze pad. Use this as a compress on wounds to prevent infection and speed up healing.
- Athlete’s foot: This common fungal infection responds well to myrrh essential oil. Blend 3 drops of the oil, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and 8 oz distilled water. Pour this blend into a spray bottle. Shake the bottle well and spray the feet and spaces between the toes after a shower.10
Myrrh essential oil has been established as effective against nail fungus and ringworm infections too.11
3. Conditions Dry Hair
[pullquote]Always dilute your myrrh essential oil with carrier oils like olive oil for a dry scalp and evening primrose oil for itchy, dry, or inflamed scalp conditions.12[/pullquote]
For people with a tendency toward dry hair, overwashing and regularly using chemical-based shampoos and hair dryers can strip natural oils from the scalp and leave it prone to dandruff and dryness. The hair begins to lose its volume as well as sheen. The moisturizing properties of myrrh make its essential oil a good weapon to combat these common problems and restore softness and luster to your hair.13
How to use:
- Mix 10–15 drops of myrhh essential oil to 1 oz olive oil or evening primrose oil.
- Massage the blended oils onto your scalp and rinse off or apply along the length of your hair as a conditioner. Scale this quantity up to suit your need.
- Or simply add myrrh essential oil to the shampoo or conditioner you use. Add about 2–5 percent of the product.
4. Treats Dental Problems
Myrrh can fix your dental woes too by combating bacteria and microbes that are often the cause of dental problems like gingivitis and halitosis. As an antiseptic and astringent, it can also keep your mouth and breath feeling and smelling fresh for hours.
How to use for gingivitis
Gingivitis is a common gum disease, an inflammatory condition caused by the accumulation of plaque and tartar (a sticky mix of bacteria, mucus, and other particles) on the gums. Regular and correct brushing and flossing can correct mild gingivitis, but if the condition persists, try this gingivitis gum massage oil before calling on your dentist:
- In a clean container, add 1/2 oz carrier oil, 2 drops myrrh essential oil, 4 drops tea tree essential oil, 1 drop lemon essential oil, and 1 drop orange essential oil.
- Turn the bottle upside down a few times or roll it between your hands to blend well.
- After brushing your teeth, massage a few drops on your gums.14
How to use for halitosis
Halitosis, better known as bad breath, can occur due to a variety of reasons, but improper brushing and flossing leading to a buildup of mouth bacteria is a common cause. It could also occur due to cavities, dry mouth, sinusitis, or smoking. Besides correcting your mouth-cleansing practices, try using this gum-strengthening herbal mouthwash as a first line of treatment.
- Pour 8 oz water into a bottle and add 2 drops myrrh essential oil, 2 drops tea tree essential oil, and 1 drop peppermint essential oil.
- Turn the bottle upside down a few times to blend well. Also remember to blend well before each use.
- After brushing your teeth, use about 1/2 ounce of this blend to rinse your mouth thoroughly. Take care not to swallow it.15
- Or simply add 1 drop of myrrh essential oil to 1/2 a cup of water. Swish this in your mouth or gargle for about 30 seconds. Do not swallow. You can store the remaining mixture in a tightly closed jar for not more than a day.16 17 18
5. Treats Mouth Ulcers
The sting of a mouth ulcer on your inner cheek or lip, the floor of your mouth or soft palate can leave you miserable and sore, with every meal an ordeal to endure. Also known as canker sores or stomatitis, these nasty little wounds occur due to digestive disorders, vitamin deficiency, a yeast infection called candida, or even abrasion from a denture. If you’re prone to them, try this remedy. Myrrh’s anti-inflammatory, cleansing, and healing compounds can offer temporary relief from pain and hasten their disappearance.
How to use:
- Combine 3 drops of myrrh essential oil with 1 teaspoon alcohol. Dip a cotton bud into the mixture and apply on the mouth ulcer. This will sting for a while, but herbalists assure the efficacy of the treatment, so stay with it. For a milder option, dilute the mixture with a half glass of water and use as a mouthwash.
- Since myrrh essential oil is bitter, if a child needs to use this, mix 2 drops of myrrh essential oil with 1 drop of peppermint, mandarin or fennel essential oil and 1 teaspoon alcohol. Dab this mixture with a cotton bud on the ulcer or use as a mouthwash diluted with a half glass of water.19
6. Reduces Joint Pain
Myrrh, along with that other famous biblical herb frankincense, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to treat inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Now, lab studies confirm the efficacy of treating RA with plant-based products.20
How to use:
- Blend 2 drops myrrh oil, 3 drops lavender oil, 2 drops basil oil, 2 drops cedarwood oil, 2 drops lemongrass oil, and 1 oz carrier oil.
- Rub a few drops on your aching joints during the day for a peaceful night’s sleep. This amount should be good for up to 6 applications.21
7. Eases Menstrual Cramps
You could also try myrrh for cramps and any discomfort that accompany menstruation.
- Pour into your bath water 3 drops of myrrh essential oil and 2 drops of jasmine oil.
- Enjoy a relaxing, 20-minute soak that will ease your pain and tensions.22
8. Promotes Relaxation
The distinctive fragrance of myrrh is known to positively affect mental states. It clears the mind, boosts the spirit, and leaves you feeling revitalized yet relaxed, say experts.
How to use:
- Mix 3 drops of myrrh essential oil with 1 drop of benzoin and 2 drops of sandalwood oil.
- Burn the mix in an aromatherapy lamp.
- The fragrance will help you destress after a tension-filled day.23
Tips And Caveats
- Buy myrrh essential oil from reputed sources who offer a guarantee of its purity. You should never substitute synthetic versions for natural myrrh essential oil.
- When opening a bottle, keep it uncapped as briefly as possible. After pouring out the required quantity, screw on the cap tightly and store your myrrh essential oil in a cool, dark place.
- Store your blended essential oils in glass containers as they can damage plastic bottles.
- When using myrrh essential oil (or any other essential oil, for that matter), remember that it is a highly concentrated substance and should be used in tiny doses, not more than 1–5 drops at a time.
- Always use only the recommended dose of oil and dilute as instructed when using for children.
- Dilute myrrh essential oil with a carrier oil and do a patch test to check for sensitivity. If you have any allergic reaction, immediately discontinue use of the oil.24
- Herbalists caution against the internal use of myrrh during pregnancy and lactation. Myrrh can stimulate menstruation so it is best avoided during pregnancy. However, the essential oil can be used in small doses for massage as it has a relaxing effect.25
|↑1||Tonkal, A. M., and T. A. Morsy. “An update review on Commiphora molmol and related species.” Journal of the Egyptian Society of Parasitology 38, no. 3 (2008): 763-796.|
|↑2||Hanuš, Lumír O., Tomáš Řezanka, Valery M. Dembitsky, and Arieh Moussaieff. “Myrrh-commiphora chemistry.” Biomedical Papers 149, no. 1 (2005): 3-28.|
|↑3||[Drahl, Carmen (22 December 2008). “Frankincense And Myrrh”. Chemical & Engineering News 86 (51): 38.|
|↑4||Nohr, Lise Anett, Lars Bjørn Rasmussen, and Jørund Straand. “Resin from the mukul myrrh tree, guggul, can it be used for treating hypercholesterolemia? A randomized, controlled study.” Complementary therapies in medicine 17, no. 1 (2009): 16-22.|
|↑5||Myrrh may have potent anticancer effects. United Press International (UPI).|
|↑6||Ashry, Khaled M., Yasser S. El-Sayed, Rania M. Khamiss, and Ibrahim M. El-Ashmawy. “Oxidative stress and immunotoxic effects of lead and their amelioration with myrrh (Commiphora molmol) emulsion.” Food and Chemical toxicology 48, no. 1 (2010): 236-241.|
|↑7, ↑14, ↑15||Wilson, Roberta. Aromatherapy: Essential Oils for Vibrant Health and Beauty. Penguin, 2002.|
|↑8||Page, Linda. How to be Your Own Herbal Pharmacist: Herbal Traditions – Expert Formulations. Healthy Healing Inc, 1998.|
|↑9||Heldstab, Celeste Rayne. Llewellyn’s Complete Formulary of Magical Oils: Over 1200 Recipes, Potions & Tinctures for Everyday Use. Llewellyn Worldwide. 2012.|
|↑10, ↑22, ↑23||Heldstab, Celeste Rayne. Llewellyn’s Complete Formulary of Magical Oils: Over 1200 Recipes, Potions & Tinctures for Everyday Use. Llewellyn Worldwide, 2012.|
|↑11||Mahboubi, Mohaddese, and Leila Mohammad Taghizadeh Kashani. “The anti-dermatophyte activity of Commiphora molmol.” Pharmaceutical biology 54, no. 4 (2016): 720-725.|
|↑12||Zulpa, Amy. Essential Oils – The Ultimate Resource (Large Print): A Beginner’s Guide to the Use of Essential Oils. Speedy Publishing LLC., 2014.|
|↑13||Gladstar, Rosemary. Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health: 175 Teas, Tonics, Oils, Salves, Tinctures, and Other Natural Remedies for the Entire Family. Storey Publishing, 2015.|
|↑16, ↑21||Fite, Vannoy Gentles; McDaniel, Michele Gentles; Reynolds, Vannoy Lin. Essential Oils for Healing: Over 400 All-Natural Recipes for Everyday Ailments. St. Martin’s Press, 2016.|
|↑17||Periodontal (Gum) Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments. NIDCR.|
|↑18||Bad Breath. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑19||Comfort, Sandy. 100 Plus Essential Oil And Organic Recipes Box Set: Over 300 Essential Oil Recipes For Beauty, Beauty Products, Bodyscrubs, Healing And Health. Mayorline via PublishDrive, 2015.|
|↑20||Su, Shulan, Jinao Duan, Ting Chen, Xiaochen Huang, Erxin Shang, Li Yu, Kaifeng Wei et al. “Frankincense and myrrh suppress inflammation via regulation of the metabolic profiling and the MAPK signaling pathway.” Scientific reports 5 (2015): 13668.|
|↑24||Page, Linda. How to be Your Own Herbal Pharmacist: Herbal Traditions – Expert Formulations. Healthy Healing, Inc., 1998.|
|↑25||Lis-Balchin, Maria. Aromatherapy Science: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals. Pharmaceutical Press, 2006.|