Health Benefits of Myrrh Essential Oil

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Ancient oil is prized for its healing and beautifying properties

    Myrrh has been used since ancient times as perfume and incense for medicinal and sacred purposes. Myrrh essential oil is a staple in aromatherapy and is believed to ease coughs and colds, soothe digestive discomfort, and boost immunity.

    How It Works

    In aromatherapy, inhaling the aroma of myrrh essential oil is thought to transmit messages to the limbic system, a brain region involved in controlling emotions that also influences the nervous system. Aromatherapy proponents suggest that essential oils may affect a number of biological factors, including heart rate, stress levels, blood pressure, breathing, and immune function.


    When used in aromatherapy, myrrh is said to help treat or prevent the following health problems:

    • colds
    • cough
    • insomnia
    • sore throat

    In addition, myrrh essential oil is said to reduce inflammation, stimulate the immune system, alleviate pain, and promote wound healing. Sometimes used as an ingredient in skincare products, myrrh essential oil is also purported to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

    Health Benefits

    Although several preliminary studies indicate that myrrh essential oil may offer certain health benefits, there is currently a lack of research testing the health effects of aromatherapeutic use of myrrh essential oil.

    Gum Disease

    It's important to note that none of the above studies tested the aromatherapeutic use of myrrh essential oil and that more research is needed before myrrh essential oil can be recommended in the treatment of any health condition.

    Possible Side Effects

    Myrrh essential oil should not be taken internally without the supervision of a health professional. Internal use of myrrh essential oil may have toxic effects. In addition, some individuals may experience irritation or an allergic reaction when applying myrrh essential oil to the skin. A skin patch test should be done before using any new essential oil. The oil should not be applied at full- strength to the skin or used in excessive amounts. Pregnant women and children should consult their primary healthcare providers prior to using essential oils. Learn more about how to use myrrh essential oil safely.

    Dosage and Preparation

    There is no standard or recommended dose for myrrh essential oil. When combined with a carrier oil (such as jojoba, sweet almond, or avocado), myrrh essential oil can be applied directly to the skin or added to baths. Myrrh essential oil also can be inhaled after sprinkling a few drops of the oil onto a cloth or tissue, or by using an aromatherapy diffuser or vaporizer.

    What to Look For

    Essential oils are not regulated by the FDA and do not have to meet any purity standards. When purchasing essential oils, look for a supplier who either distills their own material or deals directly with reputable distillers and uses gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC/MS) to analyze the quality of the product.

    Why buying pure myrrh essential oil, check the label of its Latin name, Commiphora myrrha. No other oils ingredients should be listed. If you see another oil, such as fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil, or sweet almond oil, the myrrh is diluted and should not be used in a diffuser.

    Myrrh oil should be packaged in a dark amber or cobalt blue bottle and stored out of sunlight. Once opened, myrrh essential oil may crystalize. Be sure to wipe the bottle opening clean before replacing the cap.

    Other Questions

    What does myrrh essential oil smell like?

    Myrrh essential oil has been described as having a clean, earthy smell with a hint of licorice.

    Will using myrrh essential oil on my face reduce fine lines and wrinkles?

    Myrrh has antioxidant properties that may fight cell aging, and some beauty companies tout the benefits of myrrh in their anti-aging products. While many people swear by the youthful benefits of using myrrh topically, there is no scientific evidence to back this up. If you choose to use myrrh as skincare, dilute it in a carrier oil, such as jojoba, and do not put it close to your eyes as its vapors may sting.

    A Word From ishonest

    Given the lack of science behind myrrh essential oil's purported health benefits, it cannot currently be recommended as a standard treatment for any condition. If you're interested in using myrrh oil for health purposes, make sure to consult your physician before beginning treatment. Self-treating and avoiding or delaying standard care can have serious consequences.

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