Apart from the story of the 3 Kings in the Nativity scene, Myrrh is commonly seen in an essential oil form. It is known to have great benefits and is used most commonly in aromatherapy. While it doesn’t get as much attention as peppermint or lavender essential oils, it certainly has its own great benefits that should earn itself as one of the must-have oils in your armory. It is a versatile oil that can be used for many purposes such as fighting infections and being a very powerful antioxidant.
Myrrh oil can be used in many different ways and methods. You can mix it into a paste or even using it as a flavoring for your food. However, different oil brands and types have different uses so it is important to read the instructions on the label to see how it is used best.
You can read more about those guidelines below. But first – the benefits. Due to its many uses, carrying this essential oil may be a hidden trick up your sleeve while you are exploring the outdoors.
What is Myrrh?
Myrrh is a substance that is taken from the tree Commiphora myrrha which is commonly found in the Middle East and certain parts of Africa. The resin of the tree creates myrrh which is then manufactured into an essential oil by cutting the trunks to release the tree sap. Once it has dried, it is then harvested.
Having close botanical ties with frankincense, another gift from the 3 Kings, the tree has a distinct look with its uniquely tied trunks that often do not bear leaves due to the arid conditions.
Another distinct look of a myrrh tree is the white flower. The dried, teardrop-shaped sap is harvested from the tree is broken down into two forms, the sesquiterpenes, and the terpenoids.
Researchers claim that both have helpful antioxidant properties and have anti-inflammatory effects. Ongoing researches attest to its efficacy for cancer treatment and antibacterial effects.
It seems to have a significant effect on the brain, specifically on the hypothalamus, which is the center for emotional wellbeing. Oral usage of myrrh also helps bad breath and gingivitis and topical usage can help treat bedsores and hemorrhoids.
Uses and Benefits
Those are just a couple of examples of the mental, emotional, and physical benefits linked to this natural oil. While some of the healing qualities of myrrh are yet to be fully established and confirmed, there are plenty of known uses for it.
In our list of 20 practical uses for myrrh, we take a closer look at its tried-and-true, proven properties. Those properties have been utilized in nature for hundreds, if not thousands of years, so we want to give you the knowledge to apply them on your own.
Take a closer look at this list:
Fighting Foul Intruders
- Antiseptic/Antibacterial Properties
Myrrh is proven to help treat wounds, prevent infection, and keep fungal invaders at bay. It has innate healing properties that can speed recovery time for minor scrapes and cuts when trekking through rough terrain. It will help you to avoid more serious complications, like a staph infection. Experts recommend using a few drops on a clean cloth to apply to the skin.
- Cancer Fighter
Myrrh has proven effective in fighting skin cancer, due to its the aforementioned healing properties; it can help to combat the malignant cells without harming healthy ones. Initial studies have also shown promise when fighting in other systems, like the liver and prostate.
- Mold Killer
Initial studies have deemed myrrh successful in killing different strains of mold and mildew in damp places, which can be crucial when you’re out in the elements. It can also help to destroy mold spores on food to help fight spoilage. If you are camping long term, this can be a useful tool to make your rations last.
- Immune System Health
Myrrh can help your body operate effectively and avoid autoimmune responses that can be counterintuitive to your health. By keeping your body in such a balance, it can expedite healing of any wound or injury. If you are exposed to any type of toxic substance, myrrh can help boost your body’s natural fight response.
Just as myrrh oil fights bacteria and fungus, the same properties apply in the fight against parasitic attackers. It’s been proven to treat symptoms and lessen the impact of a common parasitic worm that’s contracted by ingesting some aquatic plants. So, if you are getting your water from a natural source or without a filter, you may want to keep myrrh on hand.
Helping Your Body Work
- Respiratory Problems
Myrrh oil helps to relieve cough and congestion and to clear up phlegm. It works wonders against the common cold and sore throats. Working as an expectorant, it can nip symptoms in the bud, so as not to interfere with any outdoor adventures.
- Better Digestion
Another popular myrrh oil use is to aid digestion. The compound settles upset stomachs and eliminates gas. It can also be used as a treatment for diarrhea. An additional study is looking into whether myrrh can help calm spasms related to irritable bowel syndrome. When out hiking or camping, the last thing you want to deal with is digestion issues, so myrrh may be a quick and effective fix.
- Gum & Mouth Disease
Myrrh is a common ingredient in mouthwashes and toothpaste because it can help eliminate dental infections like gingivitis. If you find yourself without your handy electric toothbrush in the wilderness, myrrh can fight plaque build-up in its place. Individuals suffering from mouth sores also reported reduced pain and quicker healing. And an extra bonus, it can help freshen breath.
- White Blood Cell Boost
Myrrh is proven to increase white blood cell production which, as mentioned before, helps your immune symptom fight off anything that shouldn’t be in your body. More white blood cells also mean reduced frequency and severity of ulcers.
- Thyroid Disorder
A low-functioning thyroid can lead to a myriad of symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, and depression, among other problems that can impede your desire to explore the outdoors. In traditional Chinese medicine, myrrh was applied directly to the thyroid area daily to stimulate the gland and keep it in working order.
- Supports Circulation
Myrrh stimulates cell tissue and blood flow, allowing nutrients and oxygen to reach all systems of the body. Proper circulation ensures your brain is also getting the oxygen it needs to stay sharp, which is crucial when facing a potentially life-or-death situation in nature.
- Combats Pain
When used with a cold compress, myrrh is known to relieve pain at a wound site. That’s because the compound interacts with receptors in the brain to tell it that you are not hurting. It even applies to something as simple as a headache. There’s evidence showing a compound with myrrh can reduce headache pain, and get you back to focusing on what’s important to you.
- Reduce Swelling/Inflammation
Myrrh also blocks the brain’s direction to produce inflammatory chemicals. That, in turn, calms swelling in the joints, or at the site of an injury. Myrrh’s restorative properties can help get you back to tip-top shape after a long day of hiking, or other strenuous activity.
- Skin Health
Because of myrrh’s antibacterial properties, it can help fight chronic skin conditions like acne, eczema, and athlete’s foot. Those same properties come into play if you come into contact with skin-irritating substances, such as poison ivy or oak. It also can help skin abrasions heal faster.
- Sunscreen Multiplier
One study found that myrrh can help your skin survive the harsh sun, in coordination with your regular SPF. Researchers concluded that myrrh significantly increases a sunscreen’s ability to block harmful ultraviolet rays, as compared to sunscreen on its own.
- Antioxidant Properties
Just like in some of the foods we eat, you can find antioxidant properties in the myrrh compound. Antioxidants combat oxidative damage, and for those of us who aren’t scientists, that means it fights the causes of disease and aging. Specifically, some experiments have shown promise in helping to protect from liver damage.
Look and Feel Better
- Mood Boosters
Myrrh also comes with emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits. Those who’ve used this substance for centuries have said it triggers our sense of maternal connection. It’s believed to be directly linked to feelings of trust and can help us to identify an unsafe environment. Knowing who or what is a friend versus a foe in nature can be extremely important, so having that mindset could prove beneficial.
Myrrh, like other essential oils, can be used on its own or in coordination with other compounds, such as frankincense or lavender, for relaxation. Experts recommend adding a few drops to the bottom of a warm bath or shower or applying directly on the skin.
- Skin Appearance
Because of the cell generation and skin aiding qualities mentioned before, using myrrh as a part of a skincare routine can reduce the signs of aging and fine lines. It’s already a common ingredient in some skin products, but can be used in homemade lotions for more natural skin treatment. It can help to heal chapped or cracked skin, proving a vital tool for battling the elements.
- Beneficial Blends
Myrrh can be easily blended with other essential oils and compounds to create treatments with additional physical and mental benefits. Most commonly, myrrh is combined with frankincense to evoke calm and promote your body’s nutrient absorption. Myrrh also blends well with cinnamon and rosemary. Combinations of myrrh and bergamot are created to raise situational awareness, an important trait if you like camping or other outdoor activities.
Just like any other type of medicinal treatment, you should consult with a medical professional before adding myrrh to a regular regimen. If not used properly, it can come with some not-so-pleasant side effects.
While researchers continue to study the benefits and side effects of myrrh, experts say ingesting myrrh is not recommended unless in small doses under the direct supervision of a doctor. Myrrh is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
However, a pregnant woman shouldn’t use myrrh because it can cause bleeding and uterine contractions. Breastfeeding mothers are also told to avoid it because there’s not enough information about any potential impact on the baby.
Myrrh can also interfere with some existing medications. For example, if you are taking blood thinners, myrrh may not allow the medicine to do its job properly. In extreme cases, it can even lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
Diabetics should also be extremely cautious about using myrrh because it can lower your blood sugar, and interfere with prescriptions.
If you are applying myrrh topically to the skin, just as with any skin product, you may find it causes dermatitis (irritation or rash). Although it is proven to help remedy skin issues, if you are an individual with sensitive skin or allergies, it may not work as effectively.
Myrrh has been used for generations to boost our body’s natural functions, and help us in times of injury or illness. It protects our most vital systems from the hazards of the outside world, through its antibacterial and antiviral nature. It tells our brain to ease pain and calm inflammation if we get hurt and it helps us feel better if something we eat doesn’t agree with our stomachs.
When we venture out into the wilderness, we make ourselves vulnerable to Mother Nature, and that can come with a myriad of risks. The food you consume, the path you choose, or even the water you drink can reap serious consequences. Myrrh can help to make sure you that no matter which decisions you make on your journey, that you can stay as healthy as possible.
So for those of you looking to connect with nature, this naturally occurring compound can also be an irreplaceable tool. A small item to pack, yes, but it comes with quite a large list of potential benefits that you can take advantage of on your next adventure.
Jodie Walker is a full-time writer and a keen essential oil enthusiast. She believes that there’s an essential oil for everything and loves the benefits that it provides. Her favorites include Sweet orange oil and Peppermint oil for a quick perk me up.
Editor’s Note: Spark Naturals has provided a generous discount for Backdoor Survival readers. Use the following coupon code: backdoorsurvival