Effect of myrrh (Commiphora molmol) on leukocyte levels before and during healing from gastric ulcer or skin injury

J Immunotoxicol. 2010 Mar;7(1):68-75. doi: 10.3109/15476910903409835.


Myrrh (Commiphora molmol) has been widely used as an anti-inflammatory and wound healing commercial product. As white blood cell (WBC)/leukocyte counts have been used as an indicator by clinicians to monitor progress of healing in patients, the purpose of this study was to examine effects of myrrh supplementation on blood WBC numbers before an injury and during healing. Male rats (7-8-wk-of-age) were randomly assigned to four groups. Group 1 (SIM) served as "skin injury treated + myrrh treatment (500 mg/kg/day)," Group 2 (SI) as "skin injury alone", Group 3 (GUM) as "gastric ulcer treated + myrrh treatment", and Group 4 (GU) as gastric ulcer only. Myrrh treatments (via drinking water) began 4 wk before induction of injury and continued for a 2 wk period post-injury. Baseline values for each WBC type were recorded before start of the myrrh treatments. Counts were performed again on Day 1 of the 5th wk (1-2 hr before injury) and post-injury on Days 4 and 7 of the 5th wk, and a final time on Day 4 of the 6th wk. Results showed that levels of all WBC types were significantly (P < 0.05) elevated before either injury in myrrh-treated rats (Groups 1 and 3) as compared with levels in rats in Groups 2 and 4. At all timepoints, there were neither significant differences between the values seen with rats in Groups 1 and 3, nor between those in Groups 2 and 4. Treatment with myrrh also induced an initial increase in WBC levels that persisted through the post-injury healing period. Levels of most cell types only increased in the Group 2 and 4 rats once the injury was induced, but then declined over the healing period. Since myrrh enhanced WBC levels before injury, we conclude that myrrh likely contains substances that could induce an apparent antigen-driven response. As the myrrh also helped maintain elevated WBC levels throughout the healing period, this implied it was also able to induce maturation/differentiation/activation of both myeloid and lymphoid cell types during the effector phase of the immune responses involved in wound healing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drinking
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Leukocytes / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Medicine, Traditional*
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / injuries
  • Stomach Ulcer / drug therapy*
  • Terpenes / pharmacology*
  • Time Factors
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Terpenes
  • myrrh oil