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Abalone Shell (shi jue ming)
Abutilon Seed (dong kui zi)
Acanthopanax Bark (wu jia pi)
Achyranthes (niu xi)
Aconite (fu zi)
Acorus (shi chang pu)
Adenophora Root (nan sha shen)
Agkistrodon (bai hua she)
Agrimony (xian he cao)
Ailanthus Bark (chun pi)
Akebia Fruit (ba yue zha)
Albizzia Bark (he huan pi)
Albizzia Flower (he huan hua)
Alfalfa (medicago sativa)
Alisma (ze xie)
Aloe (lu hui)
Alum (bai fan)
Amber (hu po)
Ampelopsis (bai lian)
Andrographis (chuan xin lian)
Anemarrhena (zhi mu)
Antelope's Horn (ling yang jiao)
Apricot Seed (xing ren)
Areca Peel (da fu pi)
Areca Seed (bing lang)
Arisaema (tian nan xing)
Ark Shell (wa leng zi)
Arnebia (zi cao or ying zi cao)
Arnica (arnica montana)
Artichoke Leaves (Cynara scolymus)
Ash bark (qin pi)
Ashwagandha (withania somniferum)
Aster (zi wan)
Astragalus (huang qi)
Aurantium (zhi ke [qiao])
Bamboo Juice (zhu li)
Bamboo Shavings (zhu ru)
Belamcanda Rhizome (she gan)
Benincasa Peel (dong gua pi)
Benincasa Seed (dong gua xi/ren)
Benzoin (an xi xiang)
Bilberry (yue ju)
Biota Leaf (ce bai ye)
Biota Seed (bai zi ren)
Bitter Melon (ku gua)
Bitter Orange Peel (ju hong)
Black Cohosh (sheng ma)
Black Plum (wu mei)
Black Sesame Seed (hei zhi ma)
Bletilla (bai ji)
Boneset (ze lan)
Borax (peng sha)
Borneol (bing pian)
Bottle Brush (mu zei)
Buddleia (mi meng hua)
Buffalo Horn (shui niu jiao)
Bulrush (pu huang)
Bupleurum (chai hu)
Burdock (niu bang zi)
Camphor (zhang nao)
Capillaris (yin chen hao)
Cardamon Seed (sha ren)
Carpesium (he shi)
Cassia Seed (jue ming zi)
Catechu (er cha)
Cat's Claw (uncaria tomentosa)
Cephalanoplos (xiao ji)
Celosia Seed (qing xiang zi)
Centipede (wu gong)
Chaenomeles Fruit(mu gua)
Chalcanthite (dan fan)
Chebula Fruit (he zi)
Chinese Gall (wu bei zi)
Chinese Raspberry (fu pen zi)
Chrysanthemum (ju hua)
Cibotium (gou ji)
Cinnabar (zhu sha)
Cinnamon (rou gui or gui zhi)
Cistanche (rou cong rong)
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Citrus Peel (chen pi)
Clam Shell (hai ge ke/qiao)
Clematis (wei ling xian)
Cloves (ding xiang)
Cnidium Seed (she chuang zi)
Codonopsis (dang shen)
Coix Seed (yi yi ren)
Coptis (huang lian)
Cordyceps (dong chong)
Coriander (hu sui)
Corn Silk (yu mi xu)
Cornus (shan zhu yu)
Corydalis (yan hu suo)
Costus (mu xiang)
Cranberry (vaccinium macrocarpon)
Cremastra (shan ci gu)
Croton Seed (ba dou)
Curculigo (xian mao)
Cuscuta (tu si zi)
Cuttlefish Bone (hai piao xiao)
Cymbopogon (xiang mao)
Cynanchum (bai qian)
Cynomorium (suo yang)
Cyperus (xiang fu)
Dalbergia (jiang xiang)
Damiana (turnera diffusa)
Dandelion (pu gong ying)
Deer Antler (lu rong)
Dendrobium (shi hu)
Devil's Claw (harpagophytum procumbens)
Dianthus (qu mai)
Dichroa Root (chang shan)
Dittany Bark (bai xian pi)
Dong Quai (tang kuei)
Dragon Bone (long gu)
Dragon's Blood (xue jie)
Drynaria (gu sui bu)
Dryopteris (guan zhong)
Earthworm (di long)
Eclipta (han lian cao)
Elder (sambucus nigra or sambucus canadensis)
Elsholtzia (xiang ru)
Ephedra (ma huang)
Epimedium (yin yang huo)
Erythrina Bark (hai tong pi)
Eucalyptus (eucalyptus globulus)
Eucommia Bark (du zhong)
Eupatorium (pei lan)
Euphorbia Root (gan sui or kan sui)
Euryale Seed (qian shi)
Evodia (wu zhu yu)
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Flaxseed (ya ma zi)
Fo Ti (he shou wu)
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Frankincense (ru xiang)
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Ginkgo Biloba (yin xing yi)
Ginseng, American (xi yang shen)
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Ilex (mao dong qing)
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Isatis Leaf (da qing ye)
Isatis Root (ban lan gen)
Java Brucea (ya dan zi)
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Kadsura Stem (hai feng teng)
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Millettia (ji xue teng)
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Mulberry Bark (sang bai pi)
Mulberry Leaf (sang ye)
Mulberry Twig (sang zhi)
Mullein (jia yan ye)
Musk (she xiang)
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Notoginseng (san qi)
Notopterygium (qiang huo)
Nutmeg (rou dou kou)
Oldenlandia (bai hua she she cao)
Omphalia (lei wan)
Onion (yang cong)
Ophicalcite (hua rui shi)
Ophiopogon (mai dong)
Oroxylum Seed (mu hu die)
Oryza (gu ya)
Oyster Shell (mu li)
Passion Flower (passiflora incarnata)
Patrinia (bai jiang cao)
Pau D'Arco (tabebuia avellanedae)
Peach Seed (tao ren)
Pearl (zhen zhu [mu])
Perilla Leaf (su ye)
Perilla Seed (su zi)
Perilla Stem (su geng)
Persimmon (shi di)
Pharbitis Seed (qian niu zi)
Phaseolus (chi xiao dou)
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Phragmites (lu gen)
Picrorhiza (hu huang lian)
Pinellia (ban xia)
Pine Knots (song jie)
Pipe Fish (hai long)
Plantain Seed (che qian zi)
Platycodon (jie geng)
Polygala (yuan zhi)
Polygonatum (huang jing)
Polyporus (zhu ling)
Poppy Capsule (ying su qiao)
Poria (fu ling)
Prickly Ash Peel (hua jiao)
Prinsepia Seed (rui ren/zi)
Prunella (xia ku cao)
Prunus Seed (yu li ren)
Pseudostellaria (tai zi shen)
Psoralea (bu gu zhi)
Pueraria (ge gen)
Pulsatilla (bai tou weng)
Pumice (fu hai shi)
Pumpkin Seed (nan gua zi)
Purslane (ma chi xian)
Pyrite (zi ran tong)
Pyrrosia Leaf (shi wei)
Quisqualis (shi jun zi)
Radish (lai fu zi)
Realgar (xiong huang)
Red Atractylodes (cang zhu)
Red Clover (trifolium pratense)
Red Ochre (dai zhe shi)
Red Peony (chi shao)
Red Sage Root (dan shen)
Rehmannia (shu di huang)
Reishi (ling zhi)
Rhubarb (da huang)
Rice Paper Pith (tong cao)
Rose (mei gui hua)
Rosemary (mi die xiang)
Safflower (hong hua)
Saffron (fan hong hua)
Sandalwood (tan xiang)
Sanguisorba Root (di yu)
Sappan Wood (su mu)
Sargent Gloryvine (hong teng)
Saw Palmetto (ju zong lu)
Schefflera (qi ye lian)
Schisandra (wu wei zi)
Schizonepeta (jing jie)
Scirpus (san leng)
Scopolia (S. carniolica Jacq.)
Scorpion (quan xie)
Scrophularia (xuan shen)
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Sea Cucumber (hai shen)
Sea Horse (hai ma)
Seaweed (hai zao)
Selaginella (shi shang bai)
Senna (fan xie ye)
Shiitake (hua gu)
Siegesbeckia (xi xian cao)
Siler Root (fang feng)
Slippery Elm (ulmus fulva)
Smilax (tu fu ling)
Smithsonite (lu gan shi)
Sophora Flower (huai hua mi)
Sophora Root (ku shen)
Spirodela (fu ping)
Stellaria (yin chai hu)
Stemona (bai bu)
Stephania (fang ji [han])
Sweet Annie (qing hao)
Teasel Root (xu duan)
Tiger Bone (hu gu)
Torreya Seed (fei zi)
Tortoise Plastron (gui ban)
Tremella (bai mu er)
Trichosanthes Fruit (gua lou)
Trichosanthes Root (tian hua fen)
Trichosanthes Seed (gua lou ren)
Tsaoko Fruit (cao guo)
Turmeric (jiang huang)
Turtle Shell (bie jia)
Tussilago (kuan dong hua)
Urtica (xun ma)
Uva ursi (arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
Vaccaria Seed (wang bu lui xing)
Valerian (jie cao)
Veratrum (li lu)
Viola (zi hua di ding)
Vitex (man jing zi)
Walnut (hu tao ren)
Watermelon (xi gua)
White Atractylodes (bai zhu)
White Mustard Seed (bai jie ze)
White Peony (bai shao)
Wild Asparagus (tian men dong)
Windmill Palm (zong lu pi/tan)
Xanthium (cang er zi)
Zedoary (e zhu)

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Myrrh (mo yao)

What is myrrh? What is it used for?

Myrrh is a form of gum resin derived from the commiphora tree, which is native to northern Africa and southwest Asia. When the bark of the tree is cut, myrrh seeps out in yellowish, reddish-brown masses that are shaped like tears and are sometimes as big as walnuts.

Myrrh consists of water-soluble gum, alcohol-soluble resins and volatile oil. The gum contains polysaccharides and proteins, while the volatile oil is composed of steroids, sterols and myrcene. Myrrh's characteristic odor is derived from substances called furanosequiterpenes.

While it is believed that myrrh was introduced into traditional Chinese medicine in the seventh century, it has been used in Middle Eastern medicine to treat infected wounds and bronchial conditions for much longer, perhaps thousands of years. It also has a long history of use in ayurvedic medicine, where it has been used to treat mouth ulcers, gingivitis and disorders of the female reproductive cycle.

How much myrrh should I take?

As a gargle or rinse, most practitioners recommend using 5-10 drops of myrrh tincture to a glass of water. As a mouthwash, the recommended dose is 30-60 drops of tincture in a glass of water.

What forms of myrrh are available?

Myrrh is available as a powder, tincture or topical cream. Tinctures are used in gargles, mouthwashes and rinses; they can also be applied directly to affected areas of the gums or mouth.

What can happen if I take too much myrrh? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

There are no known side-effects or drug interactions with myrrh. While there are no restrictions for its use while lactating, it is recommended that women do not take myrrh while pregnant.


References

  • Bown D. Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses. New York: DK Publishing, Inc., 1995, p. 265.
  • Bruneton J. Pharmacognosy, Phytochemistry, Medicinal Plants. Paris: Lavoisier Publishing, 1995.
  • Huang KC. The Pharmacology of Chinese Herbs, 2nd ed. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 1999, p. 183.
  • Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health Care Practitioners. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996.
  • Wilford JN. Ruins in Yemeni desert mark route of frankincense trade. New York Times January 28, 1997:B1, B10.
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