'Cistus’ refers to a genus of flowering plants in the family Cistaceae. Cistaceae contains about 20 plants and is otherwise known as part of the ‘Rockrose’ family, common through the western Mediterranean, Morocco, Portugal, southern France, the Aegean and Anatolia. The name Rockrose also refers to the related genera Halimium, Helianthemum and Tuberararia which migrated to wetter climates as part of the flora surviving the more tropical Tertiary times.
Cistus landanifer is the exact flowering plant that much Cistus Essential Oil is distilled from, also known as Rockrose. Cistus Essential Oil is distilled from the leaves of the plant. Cistus is a rare essential oil, used often in perfumery from an absolute (solvent) extraction. Labdanum is also a derivative of Cistus ladanifer, but whereas Cistus oil is a distillation of the leaves, labdanum is a distillation of the sticky gum that covers the cistus plant. The gum is first removed by placing the cistus leaves in water and then the pure gum is steam distilled, or solvent extracted, separately from the rest of the plant material. Labdanum is highly prized as a substitute for illegal Ambergris, which is now illegal to harvest or trade.In aromatherapy, Cistus creates ‘balance and harmony’. It is antimicrobial, expectorant, tonic, antiseptic, emmenagogue, and antimicrobial and may assist with Bronchitis, colds, coughs, nervousness as well as digestive and menstrual problems. It may also assist in skin care with wrinkles and aging. Cistus blends with many essential oils and is a favorite with perfumers. Some of these oils include patchouli, sandalwood, oakmoss bergamot, chamomile, clary sage, frankincense, lavender, juniper & cypress, pine, as well as vetiver.