This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics - Vegetable Kingdom", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica And Therapeutics: Vegetable Kingdom.
Active Ingredients. - Myrrh contains two per cent. of Myrrhol, C10H14O, a volatile oil, soluble in alcohol, and in ether; from 30 to 40 per cent. of a resin, called myrrhus, C48HS2Ol0, soluble in alcohol, ether, and acetic acid, and capable, by prolonged heating, of changing into myrrhic acid, C48H82O6; and 40 to 50 per cent. of gum.
Physiological Action. - Like other resins, myrrh is a stimulant. Mucous surfaces are affected by it, and the secretions therefrom are augmented, those, in particular, which belong to the bronchial tubes. Taken in small or medicinal doses, it excites sensations of warmth, and quickens the desire for food, promoting the healthy action of the assimilating organs, and giving tone in general to the system. Large doses are somewhat hurtful, the sensations of warmth in the stomach being so great as to become unpleasant, and the pulse being increased in fulness and frequency. In its remote action this drug is somewhat tonic, but it exerts none of that influence over the nervous system which marks the action of gum-resins derived from the Umbelliferae.
Therapeutic Action. - Myrrh is found useful in certain forms of phthisis and bronchitis. It checks the excessive mucous discharge in pulmonary catarrh; and in phthisis it is said to assist in diminishing the puriform expectoration. Whether these ends are accomplished directly or indirectly, there can be no doubt that myrrh strengthens the system, when debilitated, by its energizing powers, perhaps over the heart and the vascular system generally. In dyspepsia arising from an atonic condition, myrrh is reputed highly serviceable. It is also much esteemed in disorders connected with the menstrual functions. Mucous discharges, such as leucorrhcea, particularly when accompanied by amenorrhcea, and when arising from an enfeebled state of the system, are likewise treated beneficially with myrrh, which is then best associated with iron or aloes. Removing the leucorrhcea, it often does away with the amenorrhcea.
External Applications. - Myrrh is found very serviceable in cases of foul and indolent ulcer. Spongy and ulcerated gums are likewise well treated with the tincture; and the same, diluted with water, forms an excellent gargle in ulcerated throat.
As a dentifrice, usually in combination with other substances, myrrh has long enjoyed celebrity.
Preparations and Dose. - Myrrha, gr. x - xx. (.65 - 1.30); Tinct. Myrrhae, 3 ss. - j.; Pilulae Aloes et Myrrhae; Pil. Aloes et Mastiches; Pil Ferri. Comp.; Pil. Galbani Comp.; Pil. Rhei Comp.; of either of these pills the usual dose is one to three.
1 Specielle Arzneiverordungslehre, Wien, 1878.