Using frankincense and myrrh as herbal remedies to treat gum disease and more

Frankincense and myrrh are related desert plants that contain an amber-colored resin. Both have been used for thousands of years in herbal medicine and spiritual ceremonies.

Frankincense essential oil is used in aromatherapy to uplift the spirit, warm the body, and bring reassurance to anyone lacking self confidence. It can also help break emotional ties to the past. Frankincense is revered as a holy perfume and the resin is frequently burned as incense. Frankincense can also help heal stubborn sores and wounds.

Myrrh is an immune stimulant, a circulatory stimulant, and an expectorant. Myrrh powder, made from the dried resin of the plant, works Internally and externally to heal stubborn infections, repair wounds, and clear poisons from the body. Myrrh is especially useful in the treatment of gum disease.

Myrrh essential oil is used during prayer and meditation.
Photo of man praying -- courtesy of

Myrrh essential oil is used in prayer and meditation. The aroma brings about deep tranquility of the mind.

Myrrh essential oil is anti-fungal, antiseptic, antibacterial, and astringent.

Myrrh essential oil is used to treat muscular pain and to heal sores. It is also an excellent remedy for fungal infections including ringworm and athlete's foot.

Use myrrh essential oil in chest rubs and massage oils.

Myrrh oil is a good addition to chest rubs, mouthwashes, toothpastes, and hemorrhoid ointments but should not be swallowed or taken internally.For coughs due to colds and other lung problems, use diluted myrrh oil as a chest-rub. Combine six drops of myrrh essential oil with a quarter cup of grapeseed oil or other cold-pressed oil. Add a few drops of rosemary essential oil for added strength and rub on chest as needed to soothe cough and reduce phlegm. This mixture also relieves muscle and joint pain when used in massage.

Myrrh essential oil can be used in gargles for sore throat and gum disease.

When treating a sore throat, sinus problems, or laryngitis, add a drop of myrrh essential oil to a quarter cup of warm salt water. Gargle to help speed healing and reduce pain. Myrrh can also heal and prevent gingivitis and other stubborn gum diseases.

Myrrh essential oil stimulates growth of healthy cells.

Myrrh essential oil is known to kill harmful bacteria and to stimulate the activity of white blood cells. Myrrh improves the immune system and stimulates regeneration of normal, healthy cells. Myrrh is a well known remedy for inflamed tissue and may even have anti-cancer properties.

Sprinkle myrrh powder on stubborn sores.

Myrrh resin is used to lower cholesterol and in the treatment of mouth ulcers. It is also used in the treatment of indigestion, stomach ulcers, colds, cough, asthma, and lung congestion.

Myrrh and frankincense have a long history.

On the first Christmas, gold, frankincense, and myrrh were given to baby Jesus. The amber-colored resin was highly valued by ancient civilizations. Egyptians used myrrh in the embalming process to preserve mummies and in the treatment of leprosy and syphilis. Frankincense was burned as incense in the temples.

Myrrh and frankincense essential oils aid meditation.

The aroma of these oils is uplifting and assists in spiritual meditation. The effect on the central nervous system is gentle, easing grief and healing emotional wounds. Myrrh and frankincense essential oils bring about a deep tranquility of the mind. Use myrrh and frankincense with sandalwood during meditation for best results.

Frankincense essential oil
Frankincense photo courtesy of

Frankincense essential oil helps in the treatment of depression.

More about frankincense

The word frankincense means “luxuriant incense”. When burned, frankincense gives off “trahydro-cannabinole” which is thought to expand the consciousness. Frankincense is often used in meditation and religious ceremonies. Frankincense resin is also made into a useful essential oil that can heal stubborn wounds.

Frankincense essential oil is extracted from the resin of the Boswellia shrub by steam distillation. It has a warm rich scent that is slightly lemony. Frankincense is a strong anti-inflammatory that can heal persistent sores and prevents breakdown of surrounding connective tissue. It is used when treating spider bites, stubborn wounds, rheumatoid arthritis, and low back pain.

Frankincense essential oil is good for the skin.

Frankincense has many uses. It has astringent and restorative properties that make it an excellent ointment for aging skin. Frankincense essential oil can be added to creams, lotions, and medicinal ointments -- but use with caution. It only takes a few drops because essential oils are powerful substances. Use frankincense creams and lotions as moisturizer. Use frankincense ointment as a salve. Frankincense can also be added to muscle rubs and massage oils. It is great for sore muscles and joints.

Frankincense is helpful in the treatment of colds, flu, and other respiratory diseases.

Frankincense essential oil helps regulate breathing and calms coughing spasms. It helps clear the lungs and nasal passages and eases shortness of breath. Frankincense helps strengthen the urinary system, too.

Frankincense essential oil brings restful sleep.

Frankincense is also a good nerve tonic. It calms the mind. Use a few drops in a hot bath before bed time to promote a restful night’s sleep. Frankincense is often used to treat insomnia.

Frankincense essential oil promotes a calm atmosphere.

In many cultures, frankincense is burned during labor to promote a calm, focused atmosphere during birth. Frankincense’s fragrance is long lasting and penetrating. Frankincense oil should not be used in large doses or for extended periods of time. It should never be used during pregnancy (until labor starts). If overused, frankincense may cause nausea and other bad reactions.

Benefits of frankincense and myrrh

After viewing dozens of videos about frankincense and myrrh, this one stood out as the best. I learned a couple of new things, including how frankincense and myrrh can help treat cancer:

Harvesting the resins

The processes for extracting the sap of Boswellia (for frankincense) and Commiphora (for myrrh) are the same. Harvesters make a cut in the tree's trunk, which injures the bark. The sap oozes from the cut and drips down the tree, forming droplets that are left to harden on the tree. The resin drops are collected after a couple of weeks.

Frankincense or myrrh? Which do I choose?

Frankincense, which is often burned as incense, symbolizes prayer rising to the heavens like smoke, while myrrh, which was once used in embalming, symbolizes entrance into the afterlife.

According to Chinese medicine, a healthy body is dependant on blood movement. In China, myrrh is often used to improve circulation. Myrrh is neutral, bitter, and draining. It quickens the blood and breaks stasis. Myrrh also disperses swelling and stops pain. Frankincense is warm, aromatic, acrid, and moving. It moves blood and qi, quickens the blood, soothes sinews, and frees the flow of meridians. When these two medicinals are combined together, they create a synergy effect.

The Institute of Traditional Medicine quotes Yang Yifan. Here is a condensed version, "Frankincense and myrrh are aromatic herbs. They are very bitter, pungent, and move quickly. The two herbs are often used together to enhance the therapeutic effect. In clinical practice, they are often applied to reduce pain and swelling in trauma, arthritis, and fractures. Frankincense ZA enters the heart and lung meridians. Frankincense is especially suitable for conditions where the joints and muscles are very stiff, swollen, and painful. It is also often used topically more than myrrh. Myrrh is neutral and it enters the liver meridians. Compared with frankincense, myrrh is more bitter and its dispersing action is also stronger. Myrrh is stronger than frankincense for breaking up congealed blood and is used not only in trauma and fracture, but also for hard masses, such as tumors."

Here on the farm, we have a bag of myrrh powder and a bottle of frankincense essential oil. I use myrrh powder for mouth sores and to protect from gum disease. Sometimes we take it by mouth for sore throat. We use frankincense essential oil for muscle pain, massage oil, and stubborn skin problems including infected spider bites. I have never tried myrrh essential oil but plan on purchasing some soon. We also plan on buying some frankincense resin to burn as incense.

Brushing teeth with myrrh powder can help heal the gums.
© Ian Morris | Dreamstime Stock Photos

When gum disease or mouth sores strike, it's time for myrrh.

Gum disease? Myrrh and frankincense can cure gum disease!

If gum disease is diagnosed, gently rub the gums with myrrh powder or sprinkle it on your toothpaste before brushing. To control infection and stop bleeding whenever you have a mouth sore, apply myrrh powder directly to sore area. A drop of frankincense can also help. Apply to area with cotton swab. I use myrrh powder at least once a week to keep my mouth, gums, and teeth in good shape. (In herbal medicine, we use what is on hand -- there are usually overlapping uses for different herbs and essential oils.)

Other herbs that can heal gum disease

No myrrh powder or frankincense available? Fresh strawberries, baking soda, or sage leaves can help heal gum disease. St. John's Wort, peppermint, chamomile, yellowroot or ginseng tea can also do the job. Other remedies include regular applications of diluted tea tree essential oil, witch hazel, licorice root extract, calendula extract, aloe vera juice, turmeric, green drinks (containing chlorophyll), pure cranberry juice, echinacea extract, propolis tincture, diluted clove essential oil, diluted eucalyptus essential oil, or grapefruit seed extract. Apply treatments three or four times a day. Discontinue if symptoms worsen or irritation develops.

Herbal remedies and lifestyle changes can stop gum disease.

Gum diseases like pyorrhea and gingivitis are common in today's society -- probably because of all the sugar that is consumed on a daily basis. Gum disease is usually a progressive disorder affecting the gums and underlying bone structure. Gum diseases can be successfully treated or avoided with myrrh, frankincense, herbs, good hygiene habits, healthy diet, and regular dental checkups.

Keeping teeth clean is important to gum health.

Causes of gum disease include plaque and tarter build-up, nutritional deficiencies, allergies, lack of fresh food, too much meat, refined food or sugar in the diet, and poor brushing and flossing habits. Everyone should visit a dentist at least once a year. Getting the teeth cleaned by a professional is a must for removal of plaque and tarter build-up below the gum line.

Cure bad breath and gum problems with herbs

Symptoms of gum disease include red, swollen gums that bleed easily, chronic bad breath, loose or shifting teeth, receding gums, loss of teeth, changes in bite pattern, and hot and cold sensitivity.

Improve gum health with good diet.

The best way to insure healthy gums is an improved diet. Eating lots of fresh, crunchy foods like celery, apples, cereal, seeds, and green salads which contain live enzymes can improve gum health. Always chew food well and avoid acid forming foods like sugar, soft drinks, and refined foods.

Poor gum health? Quit smoking!

Another way to keep the mouth and gums healthy is to quit smoking. The chemicals that are present in tobacco smoke are corrosive and damaging. Chewing tobacco also contributes to gum disease and tooth decay. Nicotine is an addictive, poisonous substance that should be avoided. Read more about overcoming addiction.

Herbal tooth pastes are available at health food stores

There are toothpastes on the market that contain frankincense and myrrh. The taste is bitter but worth it to save your teeth. Use daily to heal the gums and weekly to protect them from harmful microbes.

Most commercial toothpastes contain sodium lauryl sulfate. It is added to increase foaming while brushing. This ingredient causes dry mouth which can lead to tooth decay. Look for natural toothpastes in health food stores with myrrh or frankincense that do not contain sodium lauryl sulfate.

Girl with big smile has heathy gums.
© Graphicphoto | Dreamstime Stock Photos

This woman has healthy gums and teeth. She brushes, flosses, eats fresh vegetables, and gets professional cleanings every six months.

For gum health brush and floss regularly

Brushing lightly after every meal is recommended to avoid gum disease and cavities. Everyone should brush at least twice a day but not so often that gums are irritated. Flossing is also very important to mouth and gum health, especially at bed time. Do not get rough with your teeth and gums. Brush in gentle circular motions and floss with a light hand. Replace your toothbrush every 3 months and make sure the bristles are not too hard or they may injure your gums. Rinsing with salt water can also help keep gums healthy.

Sometimes dietary supplements are needed to protect and heal the gums. Minerals such as calcium, vitamins (especially vitamin C and vitamin E), and antioxidants like CoQ10 are often taken to promote gum health.

Myrrh and frankincense dissolve in oil and alcohol.

Myrrh and frankincense are resins that can be dissolved in alcohol based tinctures and oils. Sometimes the powdered resins are sprinkled on top of herbal teas or wine. Myrrh and frankincense do not dissolve in water.

Myrrh and frankincense can be burned as incense and used as an aid to meditation.

Myrrh and frankincense bring about feelings of peace. They are often burned in religious ceremonies and have been around for thousands of years. The earliest mentions of myrrh and frankincense are in the Hebrew BIble.

Myrrh and frankincense essential oils are produced from bushy shrubs.

Myrrh and frankincense are related plants. Myrrh and frankincense resins are harvested from the stems of the bushy shrubs found growing in arid regions of Arabia, Somalia, and other parts of North Africa and the Middle East. Both are useful in herbal medicine, in aromatherapy, and in the treatment of gum disease.

* Overuse of myrrh and frankincense can cause diarrhea, irritation of the kidneys, headache, and other problems. Do not use myrrh or frankincense during pregnancy. Keep all essential oils away from the eyes. Do not take essential oils internally without consulting a qualified professional. Always dilute essential oils with good carrier oil and test on small area of skin before use. Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedy especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking other medicines.

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Herb Articles by Janice Boling

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