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The Gifts And Benefits Of Myrrh

Feb 18, 2008
The role of myrrh in the traditional Christmas story is well known, but the many benefits of this powerful herbal compound perhaps less so. Yet myrrh is far from being just an expensive gift of Kings in a long ago time. It has been used for several thousand years as a potent weapon in the battle against various types of infection, including bacteria, viruses and fungi. Myrrh is also an anti-inflammatory and appears to act as a general stimulant for the immune system.

The name myrrh is believed to be derived from the Arabic "Mur", meaning bitter, and is sourced from the branches of a number of different small trees or shrubs native to parts of East Africa, the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent. The branches release a richly aromatic resin-like substance which has been highly prized in these Eastern regions since ancient times and was used as a perfume, herbal medicine and embalming agent amongst many other functions.

Most important of these, however, was its use as an antiseptic agent, particularly in the treatment of infected wounds. The antiseptic action of myrrh is believed to be partly due to its stimulating the immune system to produce infection fighting white blood cells, but myrrh may also act directly as an anti-bacterial agent.

Myrrh also combats infections of the chest and respiratory system, including common coughs and colds, by helping to clear the congestive mucus which is responsible for much of the misery caused by these illnesses. Sufferers from more serious problems such as sinusitis, asthma and even TB have also found some relief through the use of myrrh because of this powerful internal cleansing action of the herb; an action which advocates of the benefits of myrrh also claim to be effective in the intestines and digestive system; cleansing the colon in particular.

Myrrh is also believed to stimulate the blood flow and muscular action necessary for effective digestion, and there is developing evidence that it may help with general cardiovascular health, as a protection against atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and in the prevention of clots in circulating blood.

But the benefits of myrrh are not confined to the internal organism. Applied directly to infected areas it has been shown to be particularly effective in combating oral problems such as mouth ulcers, gingivitis and other gum diseases, toothache and sore throat, and is used as an anti-bacterial agent in some proprietary mouthwashes and toothpastes. As an anti-fungal, myrrh is also used by herbal practitioners to alleviate the symptoms of such infections as thrush, herpes, candida and other yeast infections.

And as if all of the above were not enough, ancient Indian medicine claimed that the benefits of myrrh included enhanced intellectual powers and even aphrodisiac qualities. But it is not necessary to accept all of the more extravagant claims made for the herb; it's enough merely to be mindful that the many potential benefits of myrrh make it well worth considering as a supplement when tackling the ailments mentioned above, or when a general tonic and stimulant is required.

For mouth problems it can be added as a tincture to water, to make a powerful antiseptic mouthwash, or applied directly to the affected areas. For more general problems, or as a pick up, myrrh may be taken as capsules, the recommended dose normally being around 300mg.

In common with other herbal remedies, myrrh is a potent substance, comprised of numerous active compounds, and this recommended dose should not therefore be exceeded except under the direction of a suitably qualified and experienced herbalist. Myrrh is contraindicated, moreover, for pregnant women, those suffering from kidney problems and diabetics.

With these caveats, however, myrrh may be regarded not only as one of the wonders of the ancient world, but as a modern boon which is well worth a place in your home.
About the Author
Steve Smith is a freelance copywriter specialising in direct marketing and with a particular interest in health products. Find out more at http://www.sisyphuspublicationsonline.com/LiquidNutrition/Myrrh.htm
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