Labdanum, Cistus ladiniferus, from the Cistaceae family.
Often called Rock Rose or Citus Oil, Labdanum is native to the Mediterranean mountain regions and the Middle East. Most oil is now produced in Spain.
In ancient times, the resin was scraped from the fur of goats and sheep that had grazed on the cistus shrubs. It was collected by the shepherds and sold to coastal traders. The false beards worn by the pharaohs of ancient Egypt were actually the labdanum soaked hair of these goats. Later long poles with leather or cloth strips were used to sweep the shrubs and collect the resin which was later extracted. It was used to treat colds, coughs, menstrual problems and rheumatism.
The raw resin is usually extracted by boiling the leaves and twigs. An absolute is also obtained by solvent extraction. An essential oil is produced by steam distillation. The raw gum is a dark brown, fragrant mass containing up to 20% or more of water. It is plastic but not pourable, and becomes brittle with age. The absolute is dark amber-green and very thick at room temperature. The fragrance more refined than the raw resin. The odour is very rich, complex and tenacious
This essential oil has a warm sweet, dry herbaceous, musky scent and has been used since the middle ages in ointments to treat infected wounds and skin ulcers.
Typical chemical constituents are camphene, sabinene, myrcene, phellandrene, limonene, cymene, cineole, borneol, nerol, geraniol, fenchone and many others.
Its properties are antimicrobial, antiseptic, astringent, emmenogogue, expectorant, tonic.
Rock Rose fragrance is warm, deep, spicy and soothing.
When added to massage oil it can increase lymph drainage. For swollen lymph nodes in the neck warm rock rose compresses can be applied.
Excellent for skin care for infected and inflamed skin. Claimed to be useful for treating slow healing skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis.
It is generally non toxic, non irritant and non sensitising but avoid during pregnancy.
Methods of use: Apply externally
Cautions: Avoid during pregnancy.