The oleo-gum resin from Commiphora molmol has been used in western herbal medicine particularly for mouth ulcers, gingivitis and respiratory conditions such as pharyngitis and bronchitis. It has also been used as a diaphoretic, emmenagogue and a vermifuge. The activity against worms is noted in the ancient literature: the physician Galen described Myrrh as one of the herbs suitable for ridding the body of these parasites. Professor WMH Cook, an Eclectic physician writing in the mid 19th century, also recommended Myrrh for inflammatory Conditions where there is sensitiveness of the mucous membranes of the stomach, bowel, lungs, uterus or kidney. The oleo-gum resin from many species of Commiphora is regarded as medicinal Myrrh, except when sourced from C. mukul. Myrrh oleo-gum resin is composed of about 30-60% water-soluble gum, 25-40% alcohol-soluble resin and 3-8% volatile oil.
In addition to an antiparasitic effect, Myrrh has demonstrated antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activity in experimental models. An antimicrobial activity in the intestine may be of benefit, for example, to improve the balance of bowel flora and to remove potential triggers for chronic conditions such as autoimmune diseases caused by microbes. Alcoholic extracts of Myrrh have inhibited the growth of bacteria in vitro, and the results vary, perhaps due to the strength of the extracts and the test methods used.
Methanolic extract strongly inhibited the growth of Proteus mirabilis and Klebsiella pneumoniae, and moderately inhibited Acinetobacter baylyi and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Methanolic extract strongly inhibited the growth of Enterococcus faecalis.
Anti-inflammatory effects have been demonstrated by oral administration of water or alcoholic extracts of Myrrh (defined as, or presumed to be, from C. molmol) in animal models of arthritis, ulcerative colitis and acute and chronic inflammation (standard paw and ear oedema, cotton-pellet granuloma), although high doses may be required to achieve a clinical effect.