Latin: Commiphora myrrha, Commiphora molmol
Chinese: Mo yao
WHAT IT DOES:
Myrrh gum is
bitter in taste, aromatic, and cooling in action. It invigorates
the blood and reduces pain and swelling caused by blood stasis.
Do not use if
pregnant. Do not use with excessive uterine bleeding. Do
not use in high doses with evidence of kidney disease or stomach pain. Best used
as 5% or less of a comprehensive formula with other herbs.
• Dried gum powder: one to three grams per day
• Concentrated dried decoction extract: 250-750 mg per day
Myrrh gum has an intense dark color, reflecting its medicinal
potency. It exerts a strong and certain action against specific
types of pain and swelling, such as that of rheumatoid arthritis.
It is strong enough to soften hard swellings, carbuncles and fibrosis. Like
all plant resins, myrrh can also lower blood cholesterol levels by
binding to lipids (Michie and Cooper, 1991; reported in Bensky and
Gamble, 1993). Biblical references to "frankincense and myrrh"
refer to this herb along with boswellia gum, which is another useful
resinous anti-inflammatory. Eclectic physicians considered myrrh
tincture to be the most effective topical medicine for treating sore
and spongy gums. The tincture is diluted down to 10-15% with
water and applied directly to the gums. It is also useful as a
gargle for spongy enlarged tonsils (Felter, 1922). They use it
for similar applications in India, with the addition of honey and rose
petals to the solution (Nadkarni, 1954).
At our clinic we use both of these plants frequently when there is
painful swelling in the joints or severe congestion in the tissues. The action is often broader and
more satisfying than that of aspirin and other NSAID compounds alone,
which have numerous side effects
I do not use myrrh by itself. It's simply too strong. I
prefer to use it as a smaller part of a comprehensive formula with other supportive herbs, This is my general practice for all strong herbs.
The importance of using groups of herbs and nutrients in an integrated
fashion cannot be over-stated. The practice of using single strong
anti-inflammatories, which block chemical actions, can often create
side effects of the most severe nature, as the Cox-2 scandals
(Vioxx, Bextra, Celebrex) have now shown.
We are now beginning to gain a scientific understanding of why the
common practice of mixing anti-inflammatory herbs, found in all herbal
cultures, is so effective. If you completely block a chemical
pathway the body is using for some purpose, like ridding itself of a
toxin, it will often express its displeasure by creating a side effect,
a chain of chemical events. The different herbs work in a myriad
of ways, with actions on many different chemical pathways. If you
gently moderate several of these pathways, the result will often be a
significant reduction of pain and swelling without side effects.
Hopefully, then, by working in concert with changes in diet and
lifestyle, the body can overcome the original imbalance or causative
factors and come to a more complete resolution.
• In an attempt to determine the cause of its effectiveness,
researchers examined the individual ingredients of an herbal formula
used traditionally by Kuwaiti diabetics to lower blood glucose.
Only myrrh and aloe gums effectively improved glucose tolerance in both
normal and diabetic rats (Al-Awadi and Gumaa, 1987).
• Mixing myrrh gum into vinegar increases its ability to remove blood congestion and relieve pain (reported in Yeung, 1983).
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