Myrrh—the resin from the small, thorny myrrh tree—has an ancient history of use as incense, in meditation rituals, as well in medicinal use for many ailments, from fighting infections to healing skin conditions. Modern research is proving what the ancients seem to have known: that myrrh is potent natural medicine. And, we’re learning it has even more medicinal properties than originally believed, including potent anti-cancer properties.
Research in the medical journal Medical Diversity assessed the power of myrrh resin (also known as myrrh essential oil) against six kinds of cancer (lung, cervical, breast, skin, kidney, and colon). The myrrh extract showed significant anti-cancer activity against all six forms of cancer, suggesting potential for use of the resin or its active compounds in the treatment of cancer.
New research in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism found that compounds in myrrh resin work by inducing cancer cell death—a process known as apoptosis. The researchers found that the natural compound known as guggulsterone (GS), which has a lengthy history of use in Ayurvedic medicine in India, was at least part of myrrh resin’s potency against cancer. They indicate that myrrh resin is now undergoing additional research as well as development as an anti-cancer drug.
Research published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine also shows that myrrh essential oil can protect the nervous system against specific free radicals that would otherwise cause damage. Myrrh resin contains the natural compounds known as sesquiterpenes that have been found to cross the blood-brain barrier, which could account for some of the remedy’s ability to help with nervous system health.
Myrrh resin/essential oil has many other healing uses:
-A drop or two can be added to toothpaste or baking soda for brushing the teeth and for its antibacterial effects that contribute to oral health.
-A drop or two can be added to your favorite skin cream to soothe the skin and promote a healthy complexion.
-Myrrh essential oil can be diffused to uplift mood.
-A drop or two can be added to moisturizer to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
While there are many myrrh essential oil products on the market, most have been diluted with cheaper oils or contain harsh solvents used in the processing of them so it is important to choose an oil that has third-party laboratory testing. Sadly, few companies have done this type of research so it can be difficult to find suitable products. As most of the products are not pure enough for internal use, it is best to follow package instructions.
And, regardless how you choose to use the oil, myrrh essential oil is best diluted as it is quite strong. Simply dilute a couple of drops in an carrier oil like sweet almond or fractionated coconut oil (a liquid version of coconut oil).
Always conduct a 48-hour skin test of the myrrh oil diluted in the carrier of your choice prior to more extensive use. Avoid during pregnancy.
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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, RNCP is an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty & Cooking.
Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook. All rights reserved. No use of this article, in whole or in part, may be used without the prior written permission of the author. This article is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.