Myrrh & Fascioliasis (Part 2)
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Myrrh & Fascioliasis (Part 2)

Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha, C. molmol or Somalian myrrh) is a tree within the Burseraceae botanical family. There are over 200 other species: C. mada, C. gascariensis (C. abyssinica), and C. mukul (Guggul) to name three. It is indigenous to Ethiopia, Somalia, and the Arabian Peninsula. The oleogum-resin (sap) is dried then ground into powder, then distilled into essential oil (EO), or chemically extracted for an oleoresin or CO2. Myrrh yields about 8% volatile oil (this is a huge amount), The volatile oil contains aldehydes, phenols and sesqueterpenes. 

The therapeutic properties of the Commiphora species’ are attributed to terpenoids (sesqueterpenes) called furanoses-quiterpenes (Tonkal & Morsy 2008). M. commiphora EO contains high concentration of these very heavy sesqueterpenes. Sesqueterpines are powerful antimicrobials, researched to kill candida yeast, parasites & fungus. They also have anti-inflammatory properties. The dense sesqueterpenes in myrrh give it a very long half-life in the body, which also prolongs the effect of the other EO and medicinals it is blended with. 

Myrrh is a very gentle (Class I) EO by Australian aromatherapy standards. The Essential Oil Desk Reference says Myrrh EO is so gentle it can be applied neat (undiluted) to the skin. It is used as a food additive, flavoring agent and dietary supplement but does not have an official GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) rating. It is a cicatrizant for wounds and soothes inflamed gums. It was historically used as a form of sunscreen in ancient times (Stewart). recommends the following dosages. External: 10 drops of myrrh essential oil in 25 ml of carrier applied externally. Internally: One 200 mg herbal capsule 5 times daily (1000mg per day). This is more or less consistent with the dosage used by the researchers in the research study. Keep in mind that any essential oil is hundreds of times more potent than the herb itself. 

Despite its gentleness, myrrh does have cautions and contraindications. The specific Comphora species used in an herbal product may not be indicated on the product label. The bulk powder, sold as incense, may be a mix of species as well as purified and unpurified myrrh. Therefore it is not fit for internal use. Guggul (C. mukul), should not be substituted for Comphora myrrha fortworeasons. Purified Guggul, a cholesterol-lowering supplement, can decrease the effectiveness of pharmaceutical medications such as oral contraceptives and cardiac medications (Barney 2006). I have not found this same caution attached to the EO. The crude form of Guggul resin contains a toxic alkaloid not found in the purified product (Barney 2006). Essential oil does not contain alkaloids because alkaloids are water-soluble. 

About Fascioliaisis 
Fasciola has historically infected “over 17 million people worldwide, causing marked morbidity and mortality” (Tonkal & Morsy cite Haseeb et al., 2002). Chronic Fascioliasis results in growth deficiencies (World Health Organization) and predisposes one to hepatitis C” (Tonkal & Morsy cite Wahib et al., 2006) and liver cancer. Pharmaceuticals require high or multiple drug doses and caused side effects (Tonkal & Morsy cite Farid et al., 1990). Treatment with choloroquine, emetine, dehydroemetine and metronidazole has proven toxic, ineffective or contraindicated. Triclabendazole is the current medication used by the World Health Organization (WHO). It has a high cure rate with minimal side effects. But it is expensive. WHO relies upon donations of the drug from pharmaceutical companies. 

Fascioliasis occurs when the parasite infests the hepato-biliary system.  Fasciola is a parasitic of animals that is transmitted to humans via the fecal–oral route; but can also pass from human to human. Animal hosts include cattle, sheep, pigs, buffalo, donkeys, horses, goats, dromedaries (camels, llamas) and rodents. Fasciola eggs are passed in the feces of infected animals or humans into waterways where they develop in snails. The snails release mature larvae that attach to vegetation then encyst. Humans & animals become infected by ingesting encysted larvae in contaminated water or attached to aquatic or semi-aquatic plants.  

Signs, Symptoms & Sequelea of Fascioliasis
As the parasites reach the gallbladder and liver, they cause inflammation, biliary & hepatic cirrhosis and blockage of the bile ducts. Acute symptoms of the disease are abdominal pain, respiratory difficulty, fever, anorexia, weakness, weight loss, fatigue, asthenia, pallor, and enlarged & tender liver. The chronic phase symptoms are nonspecific and mild; colicky upper gastric pain is characteristic. Clinical signs of infection are elevated liver enzymes, inflammatory markers & antibody titers, and hepato-spleenomegaly. Congestion & inflammation within the hepatobiliary system decreases liver function, predisposes to poor detoxification & nutrient mobilization and toxic irritation. This increases risk for growth deficiency in children, hepatitis C and liver cancer.     

* Check your sources for cautions & considerations, and route & dosing before using EOs. Especially during pregancy; on small children & infants; the elderly & weak; and those with epilepsy & neuro-muscular diseases.

Massoud, A., El Sisi, S., salama, O., & Massoud, A. (2001). Preliminary study of therapeutic
     efficacy of a new fasciolicidal drug derived from commiphora molmol (myrrh). American
     Journal of Tropropical Medicine and  Hygiene 65(2), 96–99. Retrieved from
Barney, M. (2006). Guggul; Ayurveda’s wonder herb. Utah: Wooldand Publishing.
Herbs 2000. Myrrh. Retrieved from
Tonkal A., Morsy T. (2008) An update review on commiphora molmol and related species.  
     38(3):763-96. Retrieved from
World Health Organization. Fascioliasis. Retrieved from


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