Essential Oil Profile: Cistus

by Amelia E. Stone, RN


Common Name: Cistus

Latin Binomial: Cistus landiferus

Family: Cistaceae

Other Common Names: Rock Rose, European Rock Rose, Labdanum

Production Method: Steam Distilled

Countries of Origin: Spain

Typical Constituents: α-Pinene (4.9-44.0%), 3-Phenylproprionic acid (0-22.2%), Camphene (1.4-7.0%), α-Selinene (0-6.4%), ρ-Cymene (2.1-6.3%), Caryophyllene oxide (0-4.4%), Viridiflorol (1.4-3.7%), Heptyl vinyl ketone (0-2.9%), α-Terpineol (0-2.4%), Fenchone (1.4-2.3%), Bornyl acetate (1.2-2.1%), 2,2,6-Trimethylcyclohexanone (1.7-2.0%), α-ρ-Dimethylstyrene (0-1.9%), Pinocarveol (0-1.8%), [Z]-Tagetenone (0-1.8%), Terpinen-4-ol (0-1.8%), Benzyl 3-phenylpropionate (0-1.7%), [E]-Cinnamic acid (0-1.4%), Borneol (1.1-1.3%), Pinocamphone (0-1.3%), Verbenone (0-1.2%), Ledol (0-1.1%),Germacrene D (0-1.0%)

Description of Oil: pale orange with a sweet, warm-herbaceous, musky-like odor

Description of Plant: small sticky shrub with lance-shaped leaves which are white and furry on the underside, fragrant white flowers

History, Folklore and Myth: Imported into Ancient Egypt from Crete.  Combined with frankincense, myrrh and galbanum to make insence during the time of Christ.

Properties and Uses: antimicrobial, antiseptic, astringent, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative, vulnerary

Precautions and Contraindications: None known

Other Interesting Information: The gum is obtained by boiling the leaves and twigs in water.  The oil is then obtained from the gum by distillation.


References: Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Virginia, Queensland, Australia: The Perfect Potion. 1995.

Lawless, Julia. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils. Shaftesbury, Dorset. Element Books. 1995.

Tisserand, Robert, and Tony Balacs. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. 1995.

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