The rock roses (Cistus) form a plant species of rock rose plants (Cistaceae), not all of which are equally effective.
With its five-petalled, pink-coloured flowers, “Cistus incanus” resembles a wild rose. Research relates to “Cistus incanus ssp. tauricus” from the magnesium-rich soils of Chalkidiki. The Cistus plant grows wildly throughout the Mediterranean region and should not be confused with the ornamental plants of the Cistus species. The warmth- and light-loving shrub grows up to one metre high and spreads an aromatic, resinous fragrance. Its elongated leaves contain many oil droplets, some of which evaporate when exposed to heat. The essential oil obtained is valued in aromatherapy. It is considered a remedy for those who suffer from emotional coldness and feel numb inside. Comparable to the cistus flower, which looks slightly crumpled, something tender and very beautiful seems to be “crumpled” or destroyed in these people – often in connection with unresolved experiences and feelings. The oil can help: Simply put three to five drops of rockrose oil in an aroma lamp and breathe away the negative. If massage oils like jojoba are added, it particularly enhances decongestive treatments such as a lymphatic drainage. No chance for viruses, bacteria & co.
On Chalkidiki (a peninsula of Greece), where people drink cistus tea every day, there are supposedly many 100-year olds. This legend is told on Chalkidiki: At Mount Olympus, the gods once held a council to decide which plants should take over certain healing tasks. The cistus (botanically Cistus incanus, also known as Cystus) was given the task by the gods to heal the wounds of fighters injured in battle. Much to the annoyance of the goddesses. They were convinced that the plant with the delicate pink flowers was much more suitable for beauty care – inside and outside. The result: the cistus was allowed to do both: heal and beautify. In ancient times, the plant was highly demanded. Above all, its resin, the so-called labdanum, was famous as a cosmetic and aid for skin and hair problems throughout the Mediterranean region – it was not for nothing that it was consecrated to the dear Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and was extremely popular as incense (for love incense).
Excursus: The resin is very sticky-tough. There are two ways to portion it:
1. Put the jar with the labdanum in a water bath and heat it slightly so that it becomes more liquid (please do not heat it too much.)
2. Put the jar in the freezer. After some time the incense will be frozen and you can easily scrape it out.
Greek labdanum at https://www.rauchtum.de/shop/Raeucherharze/LABDANUM-Harz-10-g.html
To protect the fine active ingredients, the incense is offered in a jar with a screw lid.
At the same time, the resin was valued as a remedy against the plague and other diseases of the time.
Especially, the Greek farmers and the monks of the famous Athos monasteries used the cistus herb as a healing tea for a wide variety of health disorders.
Cistus blooms in Central European gardens from the end of May to June.
Youtube information on the rockrose: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-i6-jWpbbQ
In addition to tannins and essential oils, cistus also contains so-called polyphenols. 12 important flavonoids are among them. This composition explains the broad spectrum of active substances and applications of the healing plant.
Most flavonoids are already known from many other healthy food supplements and healing nutrition. These include, for example, the active ingredients naringenin, apigenin, kaempferol, quercitrin, gallic and ellagic acid.
Apigenin is not only found in cistus, but also in celery and many other vegetables. The ingredient naringenin is primarily known from the healthy and vitamin-rich grapefruit. Naringenin has a supporting effect against the metabolic syndrome. This is manifested by obesity, blood sugar problems, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
The ingredient quercitrin has been offered as a food supplement for many years. Nevertheless, it can also found in many kinds of fruit and vegetables. Its effect on chemotherapy is particularly positive, as it significantly reduces the side effects associated with chemotherapy.
Ellagic acid is mainly found in cistus, but pomegranate also contains the anti-cancer agent.
Excursus: Tannins are defence substances.
Concentrated tannins extract water from the mucous membrane, leaving a furry feeling on the tongue. But microorganisms and viruses are also exposed to the polyphenols without protection. The crucial proteins for attachment and penetration are thereby inactivated. This means that the pathogens can no longer adhere to human tissue: They are washed away with saliva, mucus or water. This explains the non-specific antibiotic effect of rockrose on skin and mucous membranes. (1)
The particularly high content of vitamin P (polyphenols) works effectively against free radicals and contributes above all to maintaining the health of the blood vessels. A lower concentration of polyphenols is also found in onions or red wine. It has been shown that these ingredients of cistus tea have a much greater effect on cell protection than vitamin E or C traditionally used for this purpose.
The German Nutrition Society goes as far as to say that polyphenol-rich food such as cistus tea contributes significantly stabilisation of the heart and circulation and support the biological activity of vitamin C in the body. According to previous findings, the cistus is probably the plant richest in polyphenols in Europe.
Cistus activates the immune system, strengthens it and neutralises free radicals. It has anti-inflammatory, antipruritic, germicidal and antifungal features.
The ingredients of rockrose are particularly effective on the mucous membranes such as the mouth, nose, throat and bronchial tubes. Its health-promoting substances also unfold in the gastrointestinal tract (e.g. for intestinal flu), on the skin (e.g. for acne or neurodermatitis) and in the urogenital system (e.g. for urinary tract problems). In addition, the many polyphenols have a positive effect on heavy metal pollution (e.g. cadmium) and thus have detoxifying properties.
The grey-haired rockrose Cistus incanus is a natural remedy from the Mediterranean region, proving amazing powers in the fight against viruses, bacteria and fungal infections. It is also an ancient medicinal plant. Tea made from it has been drunk on the Greek islands for centuries against flu and colds. The resin of the cistus is already mentioned in the Bible under the name myrrh.
The latest research results now confirm what has long been known to folk medicine: Cistus incanus not only proves to be a bacteria killer, but can also be used excellently against viruses and render flu pathogens harmless in a purely biophysical way – something that was previously thought impossible. The secret of rockrose seems to lie in its unusually high content of polyphenols. These substances stop harmful oxidation processes in the cells, have an anti-inflammatory effect and prevent cancer.
Antibacterial for skin and mucous membrane
Skin care with rockrose is particularly easy. Washing with cistus tea has the reputation of soothing skin inflammations and providing a beautiful complexion. Cistus is used both in cosmetics and in the treatment of skin diseases, dermatitis or itching. Corresponding products are in circulation under the name “labdanum”. The laboratory tests are positive. The diterpenes in the resin are also effective against a number of other bacteria as well as the pathogenic fungus Candida albicans.
If you have itchy or irritated skin, a Cistus tea infusion will quickly bring relief. Simply boil ten grams of tea in 200 millilitres of water for about five minutes. Then dab the affected skin areas with a sponge and let it dry. It is important to drink at least one glass of the hot drink several times a day to accompany the skin treatment with Cistus tea. This is best done in the morning before breakfast.
Cistus resin against Lyme disease?
For another reason cistus is very up-to-date: In self-help groups against Lyme disease, the resin or tea of cistus (along with teasel) is considered an insider tip. According to laboratory tests, Lyme disease bacteria from the spirochete group react sensitively to the manoyloxides in the resin. The relevant active substances are likely to reach the intestine, but it is uncertain whether they also reach the blood and joints. So the practical test for the effect against Lyme disease is still missing.
The leaves and twigs of the rockrose can be prepared and drunk as a tea. The tea can help against infectious diseases, allergies and skin problems.
The resin of the cistus called labdanum can also be used for incense. In ancient Egypt, the resin of the cistus was used to be a beauty and healing remedy. To extract the resin, goats used to be driven between cistus plants. The resin stuck to the hair of the fur. The fur was then trimmed and cooked. The resin was then found in cooled water.
- Traditionally Greek: For a traditional preparation of cistus tea, put a small handful of cistus herb (about 10 g) in a cooking pot with 1 liter of water and bring it to a boil. Simmer for up to 5 minutes (depending on how strong you like it).
- The quick way: Put about 2 teaspoons of tea in a large cup, with boiling water over it and let it steep infuse for 2-5 minutes, according to taste.
Are there any side effects?
Due to the tannins and polyphenols contained, the Cistus product should not be consumed permanently in large quantities. The two ingredients mentioned can impair digestion and the absorption of nutrients in the intestines. However, these warnings only apply to the permanent intake of larger quantities.
Note: For health conditions, do not use medicinal plants without consulting a doctor or pharmacist.
Zistrose – Das Heilkraut für Körper, Schönheit und Seele