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Myrrh is a natural resin that dries in a gum used in the production of perfume, incense, and medicine. (

Myrrh is included in many remedies that are used to aid digestion, due its ability to stimulate the stomach, increase appetite, and encourage digestions. It also has tonic, expectorant, astringent, and emmenagogue properties.

A mixture of myrrh can be used as a mouthwash.

British Pharmacopoeia 1867

Myrrh Myrrha

“A gum-resinous exudation from the stem of Balsamodendron Myyrah… Collected in Arabia Felix and Abyssinia.”[1]


“In irregular-shaped tears or masses varying much in size, somewhat translucent, of a reddish-yellow, or reddish-brown colour, fractured surface irregular and somewhat oily; odour agreeable and aromatic, taste acrid and bitter.” Used in the preparations of:[2]

  • Decoctum Aloes composita
  • Mistura Ferri compostia
  • Pilular Aloes et Myrrha
  • Pilula Assafoetidae composita
  • Pilula Rhei composita
  • Tinctura Myrrhae

Preparations of Myrrh

Compound Decoction of Aloes / Decoctum Aloes composita[3]

  • extract or socotrine aloes (120 grains), myrrh (90 grains), saffron (90 grains), carbonate of potash (60 grains), extract of liquorice (1 oz), compound tincture of cardamoms (8 fl oz), distilled water (as needed)
  • dose: ½ - 2 fl oz

Compound Mixture of Iron / Mistura Ferri compostia [4]

  • sulphate of iron (25 grains), carbonate of potash (30 grains), myrrh (60 grains), refined sugar (60 grains), spirit of nutmeg (4 fl drachms), rose water (9 ½ fl oz)
  • dose: 1-2 fl oz

Pill of Aloes and Myrrh / Pilular Aloes et Myrrha [5]

  • socotrine aloes (2 oz), myrrh (1 oz), saffron, dried (1/2 oz), confection of roses (2 ½ oz)
  • doseL 5-10 grains

Compound Pill of Assafoetida / Pilula Assafoetidae composita [6]

  • assafoetida (2 oz), galbanum (2 oz), myrrh (2 oz), treacle, by weight (1 oz)
  • doseL 5-10 grains

Compound Rhubarb Pill / Pilula Rhei composita[7]

  • rhubarb root, in powder (3 oz), socotrine aloes, in powder (2 ¼ oz), myrrh, in powder (1 ½ oz), hard soap, in powder (1 ½ oz), oil of peppermint (1 ½ fl drachm), treacle, by weight (4 oz)
  • dose: 5-10 grains

Tincture of Myrrh / Tincture Myrrhae [8]

  • Myrrh, in coarse powder (2 ½ oz), rectified spirit (1 pint)

A Compendium of Domestic Medicine, 1865

Listed by Savory as an Astringent (Remedies Which Check Bleeding or Excessive Secretion) (413/391) and as an Emmenagogue (Remedies Which Promote the Flow of the Menses)[9]

Used as a tonic and expectorant, often relied on to stimulate the stomach, increase appetite and encouraging digestion in smaller dosages. Larger doses of myrrh can be used to increase the pulse, and to increase the overall temperature of the body. Myrrh is used to treat cases of asthma, catarrhs, and during stages of consumption characterised by inflammation and fever. “As a tonic, it often proves beneficial in green sickness, and defective excretion of the menstrual discharge, particularly in pale, leucophlegmatic, languid girls.”[10]

Remedies Containing or to be used with Myrrh

  • Aloes, Socotrines: aloes are often combined with myrrh as an emmenagogue. Powdered myrrh is included in “The Aloetic Pills”, which are used “in leucophlegmatic and strumous habits, when the alvine excretion is irregular.”[11]
  • Bark, Peruvian: tincture of myrrh included in “Bark Gargle”[12]
  • Borax: tincture of myrrh included in a gargle, and borax combined with myrrh was strongly recommended by Mr. Saunders “particularly when the gums are spongy”[13]
  • Calomel: Rufus’s pill (Pil. aloes c. myrrh) included in “Purgative” [14]
  • Gum Myrrh: powdered myrrh included in pills used to treat chronic catarrh, and in pills used to open the bowels “in a suppression of the menses”[15]
  • Pil. Rufi. (fr. Pilules d’Aloes et Myrrhe): “This pill is a good stomachic and purgative, and well calculated for delicate females, especially where there is uterine obstruction”[16]
  • Rhubarb, Turkey: powdered myrrh included in “Dyspeptic Pill”[17]
  • Salt of Steel: salt of steel is combined with myrrh when administered.[18]
  • Tincture of Aloes and Myrrh: primarily used as a laxative, tonic, and emmenagouge “in green sickness and other disordered states of health in females, connected with retained, supressed, or deficient menstruation, and with constipated bowels”[19]
  • Tincture of Myrrh: mainly used to stimulate ulcers, but also can be used as a mouth wash “when the gums are spongy.” Can be combined with bark infusions, rose infusions, and acids to form a gargle that is effective in treating putrid sore throats, and in the final stage of thrush.[20]
  • Tincture of Myrrh and Borax: Highly recommened by Mr. Saunders and “many of the most eminent dentists throughout the United Kingdown” to treat issues arising from spongy gums, or when the gums are receding. When used as a mouthwash it can freshen the breath and if used daily, will keep the gums healthy and prevent toothache.[21]

Diseases Treated with Myrrh

General Diseases

  • Burns and Scalds: powdered myrrh used in an ointment to be applied if earlier liniments produce too much pus[22]
  • Menstruation: (Retention of the Menses, and Chlorosis—Green Sickness) a tonic including myrrh may be used to assist in treatment. (Suppression of the Menses) “the infusion of gentian and senna,[23] combined with myrrh, is the best purgative in the treatment of this disease” [24]
  • Putrid Sore Throat: the steam produced from hot water than contains myrrh (or other remedies) is part of the treatment recommended by Savory.[25] Tincture of myrrh is included in two gargles to be administered[26]

Medical Articles Containing Myrrh

  • Inflammatory Sore Throat (Gargles): tincture of myrrh[27]

Prescriptions Containing Myrrh


  • Cayenne Gargle: tincture of myrrh[28]


  • Compound Pills of Iron: powdered myrrh[29]


  1. General Medical Council of Great Britain, British Pharmacopeia, (London: Spottiswoode & Co.,1867), 217
  2. GMCGB, 218
  3. GMCGB, 96-97
  4. GMCGB, 210-11
  5. GMCGB, 235
  6. GMCGB, 236
  7. GMCGB, 239-40
  8. GMCGB, 337
  9. Savory, John. A Compendium of Domestic Medicine (London: John Churchill and Sons, 1865), 393.
  10. Savory, 76
  11. Savory, 12-13
  12. Savory, 28
  13. Savory, 33
  14. Savory, 36
  15. Savory, 76-78
  16. Savory, 117
  17. Savory, 126
  18. Savory, 130
  19. Savory, 153
  20. Savory, 160
  21. Savory, 161
  22. Savory, 210
  23. Savory, 246
  24. Savory, 247
  25. Savory, 249
  26. Savory, 250
  27. Savory, 294
  28. Savory, 318
  29. Savory, 328

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