English: Myrrh

Chinese: 没药

Parts used: Dried resin of the tree

TCM category: Herbs that invigorate the Blood

TCM nature: Neutral

TCM taste(s): Bitter

Organ affinity: Spleen Heart Liver

Scientific name: Commiphora myrrha

Use of Mo Yao (myrrh) in TCM

Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.

Preparation: Once extracted from the tree, dry the resin

Dosage: 3 - 9 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Moves Blood and relieves Stagnation and pain caused by Blood Stagnation. Assists in wound healing.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which Mo Yao may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Wounds Sores Ulcers Carbuncles Traumatic injuries Irregular menstruation Painful menstruations

Contraindications*: This herb should not be used by pregnant women. It should not be taken internally for extended periods of time.

Common TCM formulas in which Mo Yao is used*

Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang

Source date: 1830

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Formula key actions: Invigorates Blood. Unblocks painful obstruction. Relieves pain. Invigorate Qi. Dispels Blood Stagnation. Unblock Channels.

Conditions targeted*: Muscle crampsArthralgia and others

Mo Yao is an assistant ingredient in Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang, Mo Yao invigorates Blood and Qi so as to stop pain. 

Read more about Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang

Zhen Ling Dan

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Formula key actions: Stabilizes uterine bleeding . Clears Blood Stagnation .

Conditions targeted*: Dysfunctional uterine bleedingPelvic inflammatory disease and others

Mo Yao is an assistant ingredient in Zhen Ling Dan. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.

In Zhen Ling Dan, Mo Yao is acrid and warming. Thus it invigorates the Blood and transforming Stagnation. It also regulates the Qi and
alleviate pain.

Read more about Zhen Ling Dan

Gua Lou San

Source date: 1826 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Formula key actions: Remove breast carbuncle (mastitis) after birth giving.

In Gua Lou San, Mo Yao invigorates Blood and eliminates Stagnation

Read more about Gua Lou San

Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Source date: 1830 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Formula key actions: Expels Cold and warm the menstruation Blood. Stops pain. Invigorates Blood. Dispels Blood stagnation.

In Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang, Mo Yao invigorates Blood and stops pain

Read more about Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang

Xiao Tiao Jing Tang

Source date: 1742 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Formula key actions: Remove Blood Stagnation. Nourishes Blood. Calms the Mind.

In Xiao Tiao Jing Tang, Mo Yao invigorates Blood and eliminate Blood Stagnation.

Read more about Xiao Tiao Jing Tang

Key TCM concepts behind Mo Yao's properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Mo Yao belongs to the 'Herbs that invigorate the Blood' category. Like the name indicates these herbs tend to stimulate the Blood flow. In TCM they're used to help the circulation of Blood in cardiovascular conditions or menstrual irregularities as well as to treat acute pains caused by Blood Stagnation. They can also be used to treat Blood Stagnation when it causes certain tumors, cysts and hardened clots.

Furthermore Mo Yao is Neutral in nature. This means that Mo Yao typically doesn't affect the balance in your body. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Eating too many "Hot" (Yang) ingredients can lead to an imbalance whereby one has a Yang Excess. The inverse is true as well: too many "Cold" (Yin) ingredients can lead to a Yin Excess. The Neutral nature of Mo Yao means that you don't have to worry about that!

Mo Yao also tastes Bitter. The so-called 'Five Phases' theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Bitter ingredients like Mo Yao tends to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such Mo Yao is thought to target the Spleen, the Heart and the Liver. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. In addition to regulating Blood flow, the Heart is believed to be the store of the 'Mind' which basically refers to someone's vitality. The Liver is often referred as the body's "general" because it is in charge of regulating the movements of Qi and the Body Fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions.

Research on Mo Yao

The formulation of myrrh may be safe, well tolerated, and effective for treating fascioliasis.1

Myrrh proved to be safe and very effective in treatment of schistosomiasis haematobium and mansoni infections.2


1. 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). Am J Trop Med Hyg. , 65(2):96-9.

2. Abo-Madyan AA, Morsy TA, Motawea SM. (2004). Efficacy of Myrrh in the treatment of schistosomiasis (haematobium and mansoni) in Ezbet El-Bakly, Tamyia Center, El-Fayoum Governorate, Egypt. J Egypt Soc Parasitol. , 34(2):423-46.