"Natural Healing with Herbs for a Healthier You"
THE BENEFITS OF THE USE OF MYRRH
IN HERBAL PREPARATIONS
CONTRA-INDICATIONS OF MYRRH
Myrrh is generally a safe herb with a long history of usage. Currently, myrrh is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for food use (21 Code of Federal Registration-CFR 172.510) and as a flavoring agent, fragrance, and stabilizing ingredient in beverages, cosmetics, drugs and foods. It has also been given the generally recognized as safe status (GRAS) as flavor ingredient No. 2765, by (FEMA), the Flavor Extract Manufacturer’s Association (Massoud et al. 96-99)(E Drug Digest). As with any herb, however, when myrrh is used as a medicine, it must be treated with respect. There are a few minor contraindications that consumers of myrrh should be aware of.
If taken orally, myrrh has been shown to tighten the muscles of the uterus and promote menstrual blood flow in women. It should not be taken orally therefore, by pregnant women. The effect of topical usage of myrrh on an unborn baby has not been studied and so the use of myrrh as a mouthwash is not recommended for pregnant women (E Drug Digest).
Large amounts of myrrh (2,000 mg to 4,000 mg) taken by mouth, may cause heart rate changes, diarrhea, or kidney irritation. Evidence from animal and human case studies has also shown that myrrh may lower blood sugar levels. Persons with diabetes or heart conditions should consult their physicians before self-medicating with myrrh (E Drug Digest). Another source suggests myrrh should be avoided when someone has conditions related to gastric heat, internal inflammation, excessive uterine bleeding, high blood pressure, and excitability (About).
Possible skin irritation, an allergic rash, or temporary burning or change in the sense of feeling may be caused from undiluted topical application of myrrh. Interactions with drugs, foods or other herbal products have not been reported from topical application of myrrh including the use of myrrh as a mouthwash (E Drug Digest)(Heilpflazen).
One study done at the University of Khartoum, Sudan, took Nubian goat kids and gave them high doses of myrrh. The six month old goat kids were split into four groups and different doses were given to each group (1 g/kg/d, 5 g/kg/d and 0.25 g/kg/d). The use of 1 to 5 grams of resin caused grinding of teeth, salivation, soft feces, inappetence, jaundice, dyspnea, ataxia, and recumbency. Death occurred between five and sixteen days for the goats receiving the higher doses. The oral dose of 0.25 g of plant resin/kg/d was not found to be toxic (Omer and Adam 299-301). This study just shows that there needs to be reasonableness even with some of the safest herbs. One of my favorite sayings applies to any herbalist or health practitioner informing someone who is inquiring about herbs. It is simply this - The best consumer is an educated one.
by Rebecca Joy Knottnerus