At Foodcraft we believe that food is our medicine and herbs are our powerful healing partners for physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts used for a variety of purposes, including aromatherapy, skin care, and natural remedies.
We like to share the benefits of essential oils by focusing on specific oils in each blog.
Myrrh is a popular source of essential oil dating back to biblical times. It was considered a rare and valuable product that was used as incense, perfume, and to purify the air during sacred rituals. It has been used in traditional medicine as an ingredient for pain relief, circulatory problems and rheumatic complaints.
The word myrrh comes from the Arabic word “mur” meaning “bitter.” Myrrh essential oil has a reddish-brown color and is extracted from the dried sap of the herabole myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), which grows mainly in Somalia and Ethiopia. This thorny tree is native to Northeast Africa and Southwest Asia. It grows up to about 9 feet tall and is found mostly on rocky hillsides. Its flowers are yellow-red in color and bear a brown oval fruit. The myrrh tree has gnarled branches and sharp thorns. Another species from which essential oil of myrrh is obtained is Bissable myrrh (Comiphora erythrea), an Arabian species of myrrh.
Myrrh oil has an earthy, woody scent. Some smell bitter and antiseptic while others can smell warm, spicy and sweet. Both myrrh and frankincense essential oils are derived from the resin of a tree in the Burseraceae family known as frankincense. The main components of myrrh essential oil are cargerine, (1,3)-furanoudesma-diene, lindestrin, elimene, germacrene.
Traditional Uses of MYRH Essential Oil
For a long time, myrrh essential oil has been used in traditional medicine, religious rituals, purification ceremonies, funerals and perfumery. It was considered a rare and priceless commodity that was traded along ancient spice routes.
In traditional Chinese medicine, myrrh oil was mainly used for circulatory problems. It has a stimulating effect on blood circulation thus relieving pain and discomfort in circulatory problems such as wounds, ulcers, dysmenorrhea, chest and abdominal pain and arthritis.
Myrrh was associated with suffering and was often used during funerals. Ancient Egyptians used myrrh oil during the mummification process. It is said to mask the smell of decomposition and slow down the process.
Myrrh oil was considered an important ingredient by Greek soldiers. They use it to clean and disinfect their wounds from battle.
The oil was also taken internally, often mixed with wine and drunk before the ritual began. This is due to its ability to stabilize emotions and lift mood. It was also given to criminals who suffered mental and physical pain before their execution.
Benefits of using MYRH essential oil
Myrrh essential oil is usually mixed with a carrier oil and used to give an aromatherapy massage. It induces relaxation. It can also be used for steam inhalation with lemon essential oil and other citrus oils.
Myrrh essential oil is used to soothe chapped skin and chapped lips due to harsh, dry weather. A few drops of this oil in an unscented lotion can be used to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and wrinkles on the skin.
Vitiligo, a skin condition where patches or areas of skin lose pigmentation, can be treated using a mixture of myrrh and sandalwood essential oils.
Myrrh works against oral infections and inflammations such as gingivitis and mouth sores, relieving the pain that accompanies them. Some mouthwashes and toothpastes are often dosed with myrrh. Although it is approved by the FDA, it is still recommended to avoid consuming products with this flavor as high levels can be fatal.
Anti-septic, antimicrobial and anti-fungal
Myrrh essential oil was used to improve skin health by treating wounds and infections. It was also used by new mothers to heal after vaginal delivery. This can inhibit the growth of both bacteria and fungi on the skin which can lead to further infections. Myrrh mixed with frankincense essential oil is an effective antiseptic against germs and infections. Myrrh is also effective in killing certain molds that can cause food spoilage and contamination.
Reduces pain and swelling
Myrrh essential oil is a common ingredient in homeopathic rub oils that can relieve pain when applied to a sore area. It blocks the chemicals responsible for inflammation that causes pain and swelling. Myrrh also contains compounds that have the ability to signal or tell the brain that it is not experiencing pain.
Fights bad bacteria
Traditional uses of myrrh oil include air purification, preventing the spread of disease. This is due to its anti-bacterial properties that work against germs and airborne bacteria. It helps stimulate the immune system to respond better to infections. Mixing myrrh with sandalwood essential oil fights infection.
Myrrh essential oil is a powerful Antioxidants which fights free radicals that can cause oxidative damage to body organs due to pollutants and other environmental factors.
Sunscreen active ingredients
Although not effective on its own, myrrh essential oil is an ingredient in many sunblocks that are effective at blocking UV rays.
Safety tips and warnings
Myrrh essential oil is concentrated and therefore not recommended for direct application or ingestion to the skin. It can be mixed with a carrier oil when applied topically. Avoid applying the oil to sensitive areas, including the skin around the eyes and the skin of the inner ear.
For pregnant and lactating women, it is best to avoid myrrh oil as it can cause uterine contractions and cause miscarriage. It is not recommended for very young children.
Myrrh can also interfere with blood thinning medications and weaken their effectiveness. Since myrrh is known to stimulate blood circulation, people with heart disease should refrain from using it without medical advice.
Myrrh can lower blood sugar so it is good for people who are taking medication for diabetes to cleanse the oil as it can cause very low blood sugar. For this reason, it is recommended to stop using myrrh two weeks before surgery.
Credits: Innerfire Co