Myrtle leaf oil (Myrtus communis)
Myrtle essential oil comes from the same family as eucalyptus, tea tree, bayberry and English bog myrtle. It is a small tree or large bush with lots of small, tough branches, small shaply pointed leaves and flowers followed by small, black berries. The leaves and flowers have a prominent fragrance.
Myrtle has been used in herbal medicine since ancient Egyptian times, as there are records showing the leaves being steeped in wine to combat fever and infection. The plant was dedicated to Aphrodite in Ancient Greece and Dioscórides prescribed macerated Myrtle wine to patients suffering from lung and bladder infections, as well as for tuberculosis. Dr Delious de Savgnac (1876) recommended Myrtle for the treatment of hemorrhoids, pulmonary infections, genital infections and problems with the bladder and urinary system.
The therapeutic properties of myrtle essential oil are anticatarrhal, antiseptic, astringent, bactericidal, expectorant and balsamic. The main chemical components are alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, limonene, cineole, alpha-terpinen-4-ol, myrtenol, geraniol, linalyl acetate, myrtenyl acetate and carvacrol.
Blends well with: atlas, bergamot, benzoin, black pepper, cedarwood, clary sage, clove, coriander, elmi, eucalyptus, frankincense, ginger, hyssop, jasmine, lavender, lemongrass, melissa, myrrh, neroli, peppermint, rose, rosemary, rosewood, spearmint, thyme, tea tree and ylang ylang essential oils.
Precautions: It is classed as a non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing oil – excessive use of it can lead to headaches and nausea.
Uses for Myrtle oil
Myrtle essential oil is primarily used for chronic pulmonary conditions, to expel phlegm and catarrh from the lungs. It is useful for acne prone skin and also as a sleeping aid, to uplift, refresh and restore. Myrtle oil is said to be of great benefit in helping people to cope with withdrawal from addiction. It has an uplifting effect on the body and mind and is helpful when used in cases of self-destructive behavior – it is said to cleanse the inner being and dissolve disharmony.
Myrtle, along with willow tree bark, occupies a prominent place in the writings of Hippocrates, Pliny, Dioscorides, Galen, and the Arabian writers. It has been prescribed for fever and pain by ancient physicians since at least 2,500 BC in Sumer. Myrtle’s effects are due to high levels of salicylic acid, a compound related to aspirin and the basis of the modern class of drugs known as NSAIDs.
Nutritional Value of Myrtle
Myrtle leaves and fruit contains a unique combination of organic compounds and nutrients that make it not only an interesting dietary addition as an herb but also as an invaluable source of essential oil. Myrtle contains various antioxidants and flavonoid compounds, including myricetin, as well as quercetin, catechin, citric and malic acids, linalool, pinene, tannins, and other sugars.
Benefits of Using Myrtle Essential Oil
Aphrodisiac: associated with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. It works very well to alleviate problems like impotency, frigidity, erectile dysfunctions, and loss of libido.
Anticancer Potential: highly praised for its high levels of antioxidants, including quercetin, tannins, myricetin, and catechin. These antioxidants have been widely studied and have been found to have anti-carcinogenic and anti-mutagenic properties. According to a research report in Natural Product Communications Journal, myrtle is quite similar in chemical composition to sandalwood, which has been connected to a reduction in prostate and breast cancer.
Astringent Properties: If used in mouthwash, myrtle essential oil makes the gums contract and strengthen their hold on the teeth. If ingested, it also makes the intestinal tracts and muscles contract. Furthermore, it contracts and tightens the skin and helps to diminish wrinkles. It can also help stop hemorrhaging by inducing the blood vessels to contract.
Eases Breathing: counters the accumulation of phlegm and catarrh in the respiratory tracts. This property also curbs the formation of mucus and provides relief from coughs and breathing trouble.
Eliminates Bad Odor: It can be used in incense sticks and burners, fumigants, and vaporizers as room fresheners. It can also be used as a body deodorant or perfume. It has no side effects like itching, irritation or patches on the skin like certain commercial deodorants.
Expectorant: reduces the presence and further deposition of phlegm. It also clears congestion of the nasal tracts, bronchi, and lungs resulting from colds and provides good relief from coughing.
Fights Infections: inhibits infections since it is a bactericidal, germicidal, fungicidal, and antiviral substance. It also helps to reduce infections in the stomach and intestines, while helping to stop diarrhea.
Hormone Balance: Extensive research has been conducted around the world regarding the effects of myrtle essential oil on the endocrine system, primarily in regulation of the thyroid gland. It has been shown that myrtle essential oil, whether consumed or inhaled, can positively affect the release of hormones, including those related to the ovaries and women’s reproductive health.
Maintains Healthy Nerves: It maintains the stability of the nerves and keeps you from becoming nervous or unnecessarily stressed over small issues. It is a beneficial agent against nervous and neurotic disorders, shaking limbs, fear, vertigo, anxiety, and stress.
Prevents Infections: This property makes myrtle essential oil a suitable substance to apply on wounds. It does not let microbes infect the wounds and thereby protects against sepsis and tetanus, in case of an iron object being the cause of the damage.
Relaxes the Body: The essential oil of myrtle relaxes and sedates. This property also provides relief from tension, stress, annoyance, anger, distress, and depression, as well as from inflammation, irritation, and various allergies.
Myrtle can be used for skin care and against hemorrhoids, acne, pimples, cystitis, infections in the urinary tract, and chronic problems like leucorrhea. And, it is effective against chest infections in both babies and the elderly.
Words of Caution: There is no inherent risk in using myrtle essential oil, but as always, pay attention to your body’s reaction to any new substance or supplement, and consult a doctor if anything unusual occurs.