Frankincense has anti-inflammatory properties and may prevent anaphylatoxin formation during severe allergic reactions, while myrrh is used as a fragrance and has antiseptic, astringent and antispasmodic properties, according to Drugs.com. It is also used to initiate menstruation and to treat cancer and infectious diseases. More research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of myrrh as a treatment for schistosomiasis and fascioliasis.
The resin bark of trees and shrubs belonging to the Burseraceae family, which grow in tropical areas of America, North Africa and Arabia, produce frankincense and myrrh, according to Drugs.com. Indians doctors trained in ayurvedic medicine traditionally used frankincense to treat asthma, rheumatism, dysentery, ulcers and arthritis.
Researchers have found that frankincense reduces inflammation in rats. Although arthritis patients have reported decreased pain when treated with frankincense, researchers could not confirm any change in the condition, explains Drugs.com. The compound may be useful as an alternative to corticosteroid and NSAID therapy for other inflammatory diseases such as tendinitis and bursitis. Researchers have also studied frankincense's effectiveness in treating asthma.
Historically, myrrh was used to treat wounds, sepsis, gout, leprosy and jaundice, according to Drugs.com. In recent times, it is used as a cosmetic fragrance, food and beverage flavoring and as a dental astringent and antiseptic in the treatment of mouth and throat sores. Myrrh may irritate skin. Pregnant women should not use myrrh as it can cause miscarriage.