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The oleo-gum-resin of Commiphora myrrha (Nees) Engl (syn. Commiphora molmol (Engl.) Engl. ex Tschirch) is used in the Ethiopian folkloric medicine for wound management. The present study was aimed at evaluating the wound healing properties of the essential oil and resin of C. myrrha using in vivo and in vitro models. Ointments of the essential oil 4% (v/w) and resin 5% (w/w) were applied topically to study wound healing property, and their toxicity was assessed according to Draize skin irritation test. Agar diffusion and micro-dilution methods were used to evaluate antimicrobial activity. Thirty-seven components, representing 97.48% of the total essential oil, were identified by GC–MS analysis, with furanoeudesma-1,3-diene (26.09%), isofuranodiene (18.23%) and curzerene (16.52%) as the major constituents. The ointments were found to be non-irritant at the concentrations used, but they exhibited significant (p < 0.05-0.001) wound healing effect as evidenced by increased wound contraction rate, shorter epithelization time and higher skin breaking strength as compared to the control. Both the oil and resin showed potent antibacterial activity, comparable with that of ciprofloxacin against some Gram-negative bacterial strains. However, the fungal pathogens tested showed limited susceptibility. The results demonstrated that the essential oil and resin of C. myrrha enhance wound healing, in part or in full, due to their antimicrobial effects, supporting the traditional use of this plant as a wound healing agent.
Keywords: Commiphora myrrha; antibacterial; antifungal; wound healing; oleo-gum-resin