According to an ancient legend, the gum resin of myrrh is the bitter tears of Myrrha whom the Gods turned into the myrrh shrub to protect her from her drunken father. He was Theias, the King of Assyria.
Myrrh has been used in medicines and incense from the earliest periods of history. It grows in Arabia, Abyssinia, and Somalia.
It is one of the ingredients in the incense Moses fixed for the Jewish ceremonial rites and was used as a medicine by the ancients.
There are 2 varieties on the market; the India and the Turkey myrrh. The Turkey myrrh generally excels in quality.
The JUICE exudes spontaneously and CONCRETES upon the bark. No cut is necessary. Alcohol and water severally extract the whole of its odor and taste. It is best to powder it first, when using in decoction or infusion.
This GUM is a slow, mild, stimulating, antiseptic tonic with some tendency to the lungs and to the uterus. Hence it is employed as an expectorant and emmenagogue in debilitated states of the system, in the absence of febrile excitement or acute inflammation. The complaints for which it is usually taken, are chronic catarrh, phthisis pulmonafis, humoral asthma, and other pectoral affections in which secretion of mucus is abundant but not easily expectorated, chlorosis, amenorrhea, and the various affections connected with this state of the uterine function. In amenorrhea, it is frequently combined with aloes.
The infusion is sometimes taken but the X has been recommended as being the mildest. The tincture is used chiefly as an external application.
The tincture forms a fine wash for sores, spongy and inflamed gums, the aphthous sore mouth of children, and various kinds of unhealthy ulcers. A little taken internally will help in removing bad breath. In using the tincture as a mouth wash or gargle, mix 1 t. with 2 T. tepid water. It can, of course, be made stronger or weaker, if desired. As a gargle in diphtheria, inflammatory sore or relaxed throat, thrush, bad legs, ulceration of the tongue, mouth, and throat. Sprayed into the mouth and down the throats of infants in these conditions, it is a fine remedy.
The powdered gum is a good application for sores and ulcers and is also useful to apply to the umbilicus of the infant after removing the cord. It will assist the healing process, removing foul odors and arresting putrefaction.
2 to 5 drops of the FE will be found useful to relieve fermentation in atonic indigestion and nausea incident to pregnancy.
It will diminish mucous discharges and is therefore useful in some chest affections as cough, asthma, and tuberculosis in combination with other remedies. It can be used in substance, fluid X, tincture, or infusion. In taking powder, 2 to 5 gr. will be a sufficient dose.
When taken in a hot infusion, myrrh stimulates the circulation and assists a flow of blood toward the capillaries and will give a sense of pleasant warmth to the stomach.
Myrrh tends to prevent septic conditions, purifies the blood current and rapidly increases the white blood corpuscles.
An antiseptic, diffusive tonic for the circulation and nervous system is made as follows: mix 4 dr. ea. FE myrrh and FE lady’s slipper, 20 dr. FE prickly ash into 4 oz. syr. of ginger.
Because of its astringent, healing tonic and stimulating properties, myrrh is am excellent tooth powder.
The following is a valuable antiseptic: mix 4 oz. pulverized myrrh and 2 Dr. pulverized cayenne into 1 oz. simple syrup.
A few drops in water taken before an anasthesia will sustain the heart, steady the nerves, and cause a fuller and better pulse.
One drop in water, repeated as needed, is an excellent parturient. It equalizes the circulation, sustains the contractions, relieves irritability, and anticipates flooding. Do not take any other stimulant unless needed.
In shock from injury, there is nothing better.
An old herbalist claims that myrrh will take away the wrinkles that come of age and make the face smooth and youthful; he calls it “liquor of myrrh.” Here is his recipe:
- boil eggs hard;
- take out the yolks and fill centers with powdered myrrh;
- put in a glass and set in a wine-cellar or moist place;
- wash the face with the liquor.
Use before bedtime for 8 consecutive days.