Cistus: The plant and its products
Cistus (from the Greek kistos) is a genus of flowering plants in the Rockrose family Cistaceae, containing about 20 species. They are perennial shrubs found on dry or rocky soils throughout the Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Portugal through to the Middle East, and also on the Canary Islands. In Portugal, the most common species is Cistus Ladanifer; the plants cover large areas of the countryside, especially in the south (Alentejo and Algarve). Known in Portugal by its common name Esteva, the rockrose is used as an ornamental plant (although predominantly in countries where it is not native) and due to the high amount of resin it produces, it is an important source forlabdanum, a substance used in the perfume industry, due to its resemblance to ambergris. An estimated 33% of all modern quality perfumes contain labdanum. Cistus Ladanifer plants can also be used to produce Essential oil and Hydrosol. According to studies conducted, the plants in Portugal are particularly well-suited.
An extensive description of the rockrose hydrosol can be found in relevant literature, from which the following quotations where taken:
Rock rose supports all types of medicines and treatments and is a good postoperative choice for speeding internal healing and preventing
bleeding (…) Rock rose is a powerful antiwrinkle treatment (…) and makes a good aftershave (…).
One of the most important applications may be in the amelioration of endometriosis
“Properties, Indications & Uses: Antiviral, antibacterial, and antiarthritic. Indicated for:
Children’s illnesses, whooping cough, and inflammation of the arteries. Uses: Skin care for mature skin and wrinkles and an inhalant for coughs and bronchitis.”
Also backed up by several investigations conducted by foreign and national universities, it is safe to say that essential oils and oil containing hydrosols from the rockrose have shown to have beneficial properties.
A survey conducted in the southwestern region of the Algarve in 2006, gathered extensive information on the traditional use of native plants for medicinal uses. The rockrose has been historically used for a number of applications, either in the form of tea, poultice, inhaled or ingested. Among the wide range of reported illnesses for which the seeds, leaves or petals of the rockrose have been used, are: diabetes, uric acid, diarrhoea, colds, flu, and others.
I have been offered some Organic Cistus Ladanifer Hydrosol from Portugal, but I'm not sure there would be any interest here. If you think you might like to use this product, please let me know by replying to this post.