Cistus ladaniferous

Cistus ladaniferus

Cistus, a woody shrub of the Cistaceae family, grows in the Mediterranean basin on poor soil, especially in Spain (Cistus ladaniférus), Syria (Cistus syriacus), Crete (Cstus incarnus ssp creticus) and Cyprus (Cistus cyprius).

  • Bath

  • Dermal application

  • Oral route

  • Respiratory route

Essential oil of cistus must not be used in case of anticoagulant treatment.

Do not use in: pregnant or breast-feeding women, children under the age of three years and under the age of seven years for internal administration (ketones), persons with epilepsy in a prolonged fashion (ketones), persons allergic to one of its components, persons with asthma without the advice of an allergologist before the first use.

Epistaxis (nosebleed)
Place 2 drops of essential oil of cistus on a cotton tip and apply in the nostril to stop the bleeding. You may also soak a cotton wick and leave it in the nostril.

Swallow 1 drop of essential oil of cistus placed on a neutral tablet or in a teaspoon of olive oil or honey, or on a small sugar lump and allow to melt in the mouth three to four times daily.

Apply 2 drops of essential oil of cistus on a wound to stop the bleeding. In case of haemorrhage, place 2 drops on a clean cloth and apply to the skin.


Its very fragrant flowers blossom from April to June. Two of its species (Cistus creticus and Cistus monspeliensis) with white and pink flowers, fill the Corsican scrub land with scent which prompted Napoleon to say that he would recognise his island eyes closed by its perfume. Attempts have been made at cultivating it but without convincing results, due to the prohibitive production costs.

Cistus has managed to surprise two great men: the father of history and the father of botany. Herodotus said "It has a very pleasant perfume even though it comes from a obtained from a foul smelling place, as it is gathered from the beard of bucks. When the animals come out from the scrub, it sticks to them like glue." Cistus secretes a gum, labdanum, term derived from the syrophoenician ladan, "glue herb". The Greeks preferred using leather strip whips for harvesting. Linnaeus was surprised by the exceptional number of species, there are more than three hundred! The ancients used cistus in fumigation and for its "astringent virtue" that stopped bleeding. They also liked its animal smell: Pliny wrote "Pure, cistus should have a wild scent and smell of the desert".


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