This section is from the book "Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by W. Hale White. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics..
A gum-resin obtained from Commiphora Myrrha (Nees) Engler (nat. ord. Burseraceae).
Eastern Africa and Southwestern Arabia.
In roundish or irregular tears or masses, brownish-yellow or reddish-brown; fracture waxy, somewhat splintery, translucent on the edges, sometimes marked with whitish veins; odor balsamic; taste aromatic, bitter and acrid.
The chief constituents are - (1) Mvrrhin C48H33G10, a resin, 23 per cent. (2) Myrrhol, C10H14O, a volatile oil. 2 to 4 per cent. (3) Gum, 60 per cent. (4) A bitter principle.
Many varieties of gum and gum-resins. Myrrh is contained in Mistura Ferri Composita and Pilulae Rhei Com-positae.
Dose, 5 to 30 gr.; .30 to 2.00 gm.
Dose, 1/4 to 1 fl. dr.; 1. to 4. c.c.
2. Tinctura Aloes et Myrrhae. - See Aloes, p. 498.
3. Pilulae Aloes et Myrrhae. - See Aloes, p. 498.
Both externally and internally, myrrh has the same action as other substances containing a volatile oil. It is a mild disinfectant, and a stimulant to sores and ulcers.
It has the same effect in the mouth. It is a stomachic carminative, exciting the appetite, the flow of gastric juice, and the vascularity and peristalsis of the stomach and intestines. The number of leucocytes in the blood is said to be increased by the administration of myrrh. It is excreted by mucous membranes, especially the genito-urinary and the bronchial, and it stimulates and disinfects their secretions in its passage through them. Thus it becomes an expectorant, a uterine stimulant, and an emmenagogue.
Occasionally myrrh has been employed as a stimulant to sores and ulcers.
It is, in the form of the tincture diffused through water 1 to 16, used as a mouth-wash and gargle for sore spongy gums, relaxed throat, and other similar conditions, for which it is often combined with borax, as in the following formula: - Myrrh, 1; eau de Cologne, 16; borax, 1; water, 3; syrup, 3. It is frequently given with purgatives for the sake of its carminative and stomachic properties. It is also commonly combined with iron when this drug is given for anaemia, but the reason for this is not clear. It is prescribed for amenorrhoea, and has been given for cystitis, and as a disinfectant expectorant for chronic bronchitis.