Myrrh. Commiphora myrrha.

Botanical name: 


Volatile oil, Myrrhol, Glucocide, resin, gum.


Tinctura Myrrhae, Tincture of Myrrh. Dose, from five to thirty minims.
Tincture Aloes et Myrrhae, Tincture of Aloes and Myrrh. Dose, from twenty minims to two drams.

Physiological Action—A stimulant to the nervous system, with tonic properties. A stimulant with local action upon mucous membranes and glands and glandular organs; antiseptic. In overdoses, emetic and actively cathartic, decreasing bronchial secretion.

Specific Symptomatology—Myrrh is specifically indicated in a general sense where there is adynamia or extreme asthenia, with weak, inefficient capillary circulation, cold skin, weak pulse and deficient circulation.

It increases the power and frequency of the heart and respiratory action, and conduces to a general sense of warmth and increased vigor.

Therapy—This agent has always been highly esteemed as a stimulant, although its influence is more of a local than a general character. It exercises the characteristic influence of most of the stimulants upon the excretions and secretions, acting as a diaphoretic, expectorant, sialagogue, and to a certain extent emmenagogue.

It was once popular in the compound tincture of capsicum and myrrh. As a most active general stimulant in ulcerative, engorged, flabby and atonic conditions of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat this agent acts promptly. It stimulates the capillary circulation, restores tone and normal secretion and causes the healing of ulcerations. It is useful in sore mouths of all kinds, and especially in syphilitic sore mouth and sore throat. It may be combined with other washes or gargles or it will act promptly alone.

It will quickly cure the beginning of syphilitic ulcerations in the throat and mouth. In the spongy gums and aphthous sore mouth of children, in stomatitis materni if combined with an alterative and tonic astringent it will assist in the cure of the very worst cases without taking the child from the breast. An infusion made of white oak bark, yellow dock root and myrrh, to which may be added a mild antiseptic, as baptisia, echinacea, or boric acid, will cure the most intractable cases of this latter named disease. Myrrh is excellent in the sore mouth and extreme ulceration of mercurial ptyalism.

In its influence upon the digestive apparatus Myrrh is direct in its action. It quickly increases the power of the digestive function, stimulating the peptic glands to extreme action. It increases the appetite and promotes the absorption and assimilation of nutrition. It is given in atonic dyspepsia in the absence of inflammatory action, especially if there is excessive mucous discharge from the bowels.

It is exceedingly useful in the apepsia and extreme inactivity of the stomach in alcoholics, either alone or combined with capsicum.

While it is expectorant, and stimulates the secretion from the mucous membranes when inactive, it influences to a satisfactory extent the restoration of the functions of those membranes when the secretion is excessive, as in catarrhal conditions. In deficient or excessive action it restores the normal conditions.

In debilitating expectoration of phthisis pulmonalis it suppresses secretion and increases the patient's power to throw it off. In excessive mucous secretion from any organ it has a direct influence. In atonic catarrhal diarrheas of a subacute or chronic character its influence is specific and satisfactory.

In some cases of catarrh of the bladder it is used internally, and in the irrigation fluid also. It is valuable in prostrating leucorrhea.

It is an old popular remedy in amenorrhea given in combination with aloes and iron, especially in chlorotic and anemic patients. It has long been in use in the old school for this purpose. It may be combined also with macrotin to a good advantage.

The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.