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Medicinal Herb: Commiphora molmol (Myrrh)


Biological Name:
(Commiphora molmol)


Other Names:
African myrrh, Arabian and Yemen myrrh, Bal, Bol, Bola, Gum myrrh, Heerabol, Myrrha, Myrrhe, Somali Myrrh, Torchwood

Commiphora molmol (Myrrh)


Commiphora molmol (aka Commiphora myrrha, common name: myrrh) is an aromatic plant belonging to the Burseraceae family, also known as the torchwood or incense family. [1] The Commiphora species that serve as sources of myrrh are thorny shrubs or small trees that grow to up to 3 meters high. They are native to Africa, eastern Mediterranean countries, and South Arabia. A pale yellow-white viscous liquid exudes from natural cracks or fissures in the bark or from fissures cut intentionally to harvest the material. When air-dried, this exudate hardens into a reddish-brown mass that often contains white patches. These tears are approximately the size of a walnut and form the basis of myrrh resin.[2]

Traditional Indications:

Most antibiotics are unable to kill nongrowing bacteria, which is the reason why antibiotic treatments need to be continued for several days. Although there are some antibiotics that have activity against both growing and nongrowing cells, there is almost no antibiotic that is specific for nongrowing bacteria.

Myrrh oil from Commiphora molmol preferentially kills nongrowing cells. In addition myrrh oil as an antibiotic that even after repeated use of the antibiotic there is no evidence of resistance development. For these resons Myrrh has been used traditionally in the treatment of:

  • hypertension,
  • hyperlipidemia,
  • respiratory infections,
  • ulcers, and
  • cancer.

Myrrh has also been used for its efficacy in inducing/facilitating recovery) in the treatment of a variety of injuries.[3]

Uses and Pharmacology

Several studies have shown Myrrh to have Antiparasitic, Antimicrobial, Gastro-intestinal, and anticarcinogenic, effects.[4]



  1. Bhattacharjee, M. K., & Alenezi, T. (2020). Antibiotic in myrrh from Commiphora molmol preferentially kills nongrowing bacteria. Future science OA, 6(4), FSO458. https://doi.org/10.2144/fsoa-2019-0121
  2. https://www.drugs.com/npp/myrrh.html
  3. Haffor AS. 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. PMID: 19995243.
  4. https://www.drugs.com/npp/myrrh.html

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Page last updated: 26th June 2020

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