Myrrh
Myrrh

Background

Myrrh is a sap-like substance (resin) that comes out of cuts in the bark of certain trees.

Myrrh is used for problems in the stomach and intestines, congestion, parasite infections, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

In foods and beverages, myrrh is used as a flavoring component.

In manufacturing, myrrh is used as a fragrance, in incense, and as a fixative in cosmetics. It is also used in embalming.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Some experts warn that myrrh may interfere with the body's response against COVID-19. There is no strong data to support this warning. But there is also no good data to support using myrrh for COVID-19.
When taken by mouth: Myrrh is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in the small amounts found in food. Myrrh is POSSIBLY SAFE when used appropriately as medicine. It can cause some side effects such as diarrhea. But large doses of myrrh are POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Amounts greater than 2-4 grams can cause kidney irritation and heart rate changes.

When applied to the skin: Myrrh is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when applied to the skin or diluted in a bath. It can cause some side effects such as skin rash.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking myrrh by mouth during pregnancy is LIKELY UNSAFE and should be avoided. Myrrh can stimulate the uterus and might cause a miscarriage. There isn't enough reliable information to know if myrrh is safe to use on the skin when pregnant. Stay on the safe side and avoid use. There isn't enough reliable information to know if myrrh is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Fever: Myrrh might make a fever worse. Use with caution.

Heart problems: Large amounts of myrrh can affect heart rate. If you have a heart condition, get your healthcare provider's advice before starting myrrh.

Surgery: Since myrrh might affect blood glucose levels, there is a concern that it might interfere with blood glucose control during and after surgery. Stop using myrrh at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Uterine bleeding: Myrrh seems to be able to stimulate uterine bleeding, which is why some people use it to start their menstrual periods. If you have a uterine bleeding condition, use myrrh with caution, since it might make this condition worse.

Effectiveness

Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
Likely effective Effectiveness definitions
Possibly effective Effectiveness definitions
Likely ineffective Effectiveness definitions
  • A disease caused by parasitic worms (schistosomiasis). Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by parasitic worms. Taking myrrh does not cure this infection in most children and adults.
Possibly ineffective Effectiveness definitions
Insufficient evidence Effectiveness definitions
  • Infection of the liver by a parasitic worm (fasciolosis). Some research shows that taking myrrh for 6 days can cure fasciolosis. But other research shows that taking myrrh doesn't work for this infection.
  • Infection of the intestines by parasites. Cryptosporidiosis is a disease caused by parasites in the intestines. Early research shows that taking myrrh along with the drug paromomycin helps treat this infection better than taking the drug alone. But taking myrrh alone doesn't work as well as taking myrrh along with the drug.
  • Miscarriage. Early research in adults with partial miscarriage shows that taking myrrh 500 mg three times a day for 2 weeks may help the body to clear the contents of the miscarriage.
  • Acute pain. Early research suggests that taking a specific myrrh extract might help to reduce several types of acute pain.
  • Chronic pain. Early research suggests that taking a specific myrrh extract might help to reduce several types of chronic pain.
  • A sexually transmitted infection caused by Trichomonas vaginalis (trichomoniasis). Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a parasite. Early research shows that taking myrrh for 6-8 days may help cure this infection in women who are not cured after taking the drugs metronidazole and tinidazole.
  • Wound healing. Early research in patients that required a surgical cut at the opening of their vagina as part of childbirth (episiotomy) shows that taking a bath with myrrh 10-20 mL diluted in 5 L of water twice a day for 7 days might reduce redness and improve healing by a small amount.
  • A long-term disorder of the large intestines that causes stomach pain (irritable bowel syndrome or IBS).
  • A type of inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn disease).
  • A type of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis).
  • Asthma.
  • Bad breath.
  • Cancer.
  • Chapped lips.
  • Colds.
  • Congestion.
  • Cough.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • Indigestion.
  • Infections of the kidney, bladder, or urethra (urinary tract infections or UTIs).
  • Leprosy.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Parasites.
  • Sore mouth or throat.
  • Syphilis.
  • Ulcers.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of myrrh for these uses.

Dosing & administration

The appropriate dose of myrrh depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for myrrh. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Myrrh might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking myrrh along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase PresTabs, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

Warfarin (Coumadin)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Taking myrrh might decrease how well warfarin (Coumadin) works to slow blood clotting. This could increase the chance of blood clotting.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar: Myrrh might lower blood sugar levels. Taking other supplements that also lower blood sugar could lower blood sugar too much. Some herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar include alpha-lipoic acid, bitter melon, chromium, devil's claw, fenugreek, garlic, guar gum, horse chestnut, Panax ginseng, psyllium, Siberian ginseng, and others.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.

Action

Myrrh can help decrease pain and swelling (inflammation). It can also kill bacteria.
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This monograph was last reviewed on 23/11/2022 01:04:35 and last updated on 29/11/2021 09:05:18. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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