Commiphora, Mirra

Commiphora, Mirra – Commiphora abyssinica Engl.,




They grow in arid places in Northeast Africa along the coast of the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, on the adjacent islands (Socotra, etc.) and on the opposite coast in Arabia. Cultivated.

Commiphores are small trees that look like a low spreading cedar. Branches bearing leaves end in thorns. The leaves are mostly trifoliate: sometimes only the middle leaflet develops. Flowers are blood red. The fruit is a drupe.

Resin flows onto the parenchyma of the plant bark spontaneously or from incisions. The dried resin is collected. Myrrha or Gummiresina Murrha is pieces of different sizes – from individual grains to sticky masses. The taste is very bitter. “Mirra” in Arabic means “bitter”. Popular varieties of myrrh from Somalia and Yemen.

Crumbles quite easily; myrrh mixed with water gives a whitish-yellow emulsion. Does not melt when heated. Burns with a glowing flame. Myrrh contains 50-60% gum, 25-40% resin, 2-10% essential oil. The resin consists of resins and resin esters. The composition of the essential oil includes a-pinene, limonene, eugenol, sesquiterpenes and m-cresol. It is used internally for catarrh of the respiratory organs and as a gastric astringent and facilitator of digestion, externally as an antiseptic powder on wounds. Tinetura Myrrhae is used as an astringent to lubricate the gums.


The plant contains gum resins.



Like essential oils, resins are complex mixtures of various organic compounds. In plants, they are often present simultaneously with essential oils, but may be accompanied by substances from other groups of natural compounds – gums, tannins, sterols, sometimes rubber.

According to the primary composition, there are three main groups of natural resins:

– resins (actually) – Rsina;

– oil-resin, or balms, – Olea-resina, or Balsama. These are liquid resins, which are natural solutions of resins in their own essential oil;

– gum resins – Gummi-resina. These are liquid (in living plants) mixtures of gums and resins dissolved in essential oil (more precisely, Cummi-olea-resina).

The resins themselves, freed from accompanying substances, like the components of essential oils, are also terpenoids, but more complex, belonging mainly to the class of diterpenes (C 20 H 32 ).

Resin hydrocarbons (for example, pimaradiene), their oxygen derivatives, resinol or resin acids (for example, abietic and pimaric acids) and resinol or resin alcohols (for example, cafestol) are distinguished among resin diterpenes.


Among the resinols, rezitannols or tannols, which have the properties of tannins, are distinguished into a special group. Resinols can form esters.

The constituent substances of resins can be triterpene acids and alcohols – derivatives of a- and b-amirin (for example, mastic tree), lignans (for example, guaiac resin), etc.

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