Myrrh: medical marvel or myth of the Magi?

Holist Nurs Pract. Nov-Dec 2007;21(6):308-23. doi: 10.1097/01.HNP.0000298616.32846.34.

Abstract

Since antiquity, the genus Commiphora is composed of more than 200 species, and has been exploited as a natural drug to treat pain, skin infections, inflammatory conditions, diarrhea, and periodontal diseases. In more recent history, products derived from Commiphora myrrha and various other species of Commiphora are becoming recognized to possess significant antiseptic, anesthetic, and antitumor properties. Traditional practice and evidence-based research have supported that these properties are directly attributable to terpenoids (especially furanosesquiterpenes), the active compounds present in myrrh essential oil. More recently, current studies have focused on applying clinical trial methodologies to validate its use as an antineoplastic, an antiparasitic agent, and as an adjunct in healing wounds.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Commiphora* / chemistry
  • Drug Interactions
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Marketing of Health Services
  • Oils, Volatile / chemistry
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology
  • Oils, Volatile / therapeutic use*
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Phytotherapy / trends
  • Plant Oils / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use*
  • Resins, Plant / chemistry
  • Resins, Plant / pharmacology
  • Resins, Plant / therapeutic use
  • Sesquiterpenes / therapeutic use
  • Terpenes / chemistry
  • Terpenes / pharmacology
  • Terpenes / therapeutic use*

Substances

  • Anesthetics
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • Resins, Plant
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • Terpenes
  • myrrh oil