Synonyms: Gum Myrrh, Commiphora, Bissabol

Biological Source: It is a gum resin obtained from the stem of Commiphora molmol Engier.

Family: Burseracae.

Geographical source: It is mainly collected from Somaliland in the north east of Africa and south of Arabia.

Collection and Preparation

The oleo gum resin is collected into lysigenous cavities. The schizogenous ducts form lysigenous cavity by the breakdown of bark. The gum exudes out upon the wounding of bark and changes its colour from yellowish-white to reddish-brown and forms a hard mass. The gum is collected on goatskin and marketed.

Description of Myrrh

  • Shape: Irregular rounded tears
  • Size: 2.5 to 10 cm in diameter.
  • Texture: Rough, dull, and dusty surface.
  • Fracture: Brittle, granular fracture.
  • Colour: Reddish brown.
  • Odour: Agreeable aromatic.
  • Taste: Unpleasant, aromatic, bitter, acrid.

Chemical Constituent

The drug contains a mixture of resin (25%), volatile oil (2.5-6.5%), and gum (60%). Along with these compounds, three free resin acids α, β, and γ-Commiphoric acids, esters of resin acid, commiphorinic acid, two phenolic resins α and β-heerabomyrrhol, volatile oil consist terpene, cuminic aldehyde, and eugenol, etc.

Myrrh tears and Chemical structure of Commiphoric acid and Cuminaldehyde
Fig.1. Myrrh tears and Chemical structure of Commiphoric acid and Cuminaldehyde

Chemical Test of Myrrh

  1. A yellowish-brown emulsion forms upon trituration with water.
  2. Take 0.1gm of drug and 0.5 gm sand, triturate it with ether and filter it. Evaporate the filtrate and add bromine vapour, violet colour develops.

Uses of Myrrh

It has stimulant, antiseptic property, uterine stimulant, emmenagogue. Due to its astringent property to a mucous membrane, it is also used for mouth wash and gargles.

Substituent and Adulterant

The substituents of myrrh are fadhli or Arabian myrrh, Yemen myrrh, perfumed bdellium or bissabol, Indian bdellium, African bdellium and Gum hotai etc.

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