Evergreen shrub growing to a height of 10 ft (3 m). Has dark green leaves, white flowers, and purple-black berries.
Habitat & Cultivation
Myrtle is native to the Mediterranean region and it is cultivated for its essential oil. The leaves are gathered in spring.
Leaves, essential oil.
Myrtle contains tannins, flavonoids, and a volatile oil (mainly alpha-pinene, cineole, and myrtenol).
History & Folklore
In ancient Greece, myrtle was dedicated to Aphrodite, who was the goddess of love, and brides bedecked themselves with myrtle leaves. A liqueur is made from the berries.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Myrtle leaves are astringent, tonic, and antiseptic. An infusion of the leaves can be used externally to clean and heal wounds and ulcers, or internally to remedy disorders of the digestive and urinary systems. The essential oil is strongly antiseptic and anti-mucus, and in Spain is used to treat bronchial and lung infections.
Do not take the essential oil internally except with professional advice.