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Essential Oils

Cistus (Rock Rose) Essential Oil – A Natural Wound Healer

Cistus essential oil, also known as rock rose essential oil, has been used since ancient times for its ability to help with wounds. Nowadays, it is widely used in aromatherapy, regulate acne-prone and oily skin, help with respiratory health, and more.

Although cistus may not be one of the most well-known essential oils, its healing properties are powerful. And its calming properties are a great aid to meditation.

The History of Cistus (Rock Rose)

Cistus essential oil is steam distilled from the flowering tops and leaves of Cistus ladaniferus, which is native to the Mediterranean. Other, lesser quality versions of the essential oil are distilled from the stems or resin of the plant. Cistus ladaniferus is a small shrub that develops white flowers with red markings. The name "cistus" comes from the Greek word "kistos," which means "evergreen shrub." "Ladanifer" comes from the Greek word ‘ledon.’ This refers to the dark resin that is produced by the plant. 1

The resin was originally discovered thousands of years ago by shepherds who noticed it in the coats of their sheep and goats. When the shepherds were attempting to brush the resin out of the animals’ coats, they discovered that it had beneficial medicinal uses.

Ancient Egyptians used the resin in incense and perfumes, often in royal and spiritual ceremonies. Cistus has been used in Europe since the Middle Ages to treat wounds, ulcers, dysentery, diarrhea, and catarrh. 2

Chemical Properties

Cistus essential oil is a pale, golden-yellow color and has a sweet, warm, herbaceous scent with hints of fruit and honey. It has been know to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, astringent, cicatrizant, emmenagogic, expectorant, mucolytic, nervine, and sedative properties. This wide range of therapeutic properties is due to its composition, which consists primarily of:

purple rock rose

Common Uses for Cistus (Rock Rose) Essential Oil

Cistus essential oil can be used both topically and aromatically to treat a wide variety of conditions.

Improves Wounds

One of the most common uses of cistus essential oil throughout history has been to improve wounds and infections. The combination of its powerful antiseptic and antimicrobial properties help to clear the wound of any harmful microbes. It also prevents it from being infected by any other harmful pathogens. Cistus has shown abilities to fight against Staph, Candida, and E.Coli. It is also known for its ability to slow the bleeding from a fresh wound.

To speed healing time and reduce infection in minor wounds, mix a drop or two of cistus essential oil with a carrier oil and apply to the wound before covering it with a bandage.

Maintains Healthy Skin Conditions

The astringent properties of cistus essential oil help to tone the skin and reduce signs of aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines. For those who are prone to acne or have particularly oily skin, this oil can help regulate the production of sebum and clear up breakouts.

It can be blended with other skin-healing oils such as rose absolute, elemi, chamomile, and neroli to reduce the look of scars, psoriasis, eczema, and other skin disorders. 3

To keep skin looking young and healthy, add a drop or two of cistus essential oil to your daily moisturizer. For the treatment of psoriasis, eczema or other disorders, mix with a carrier oil and other healing essential oils of your choice and gently massage onto the affected area.

Reduces Soreness

The analgesic properties of cistus essential oil work together to soothe sore muscles and joints. For those who are suffering from sore muscles, arthritis, or other muscle and joint pain, using cistus essential oil can topically relieve the symptoms. Simply mix a few drops of cistus essential oil to a carrier oil and massage onto sore areas. Alternatiely, try adding a few drops to a warm bath.

Alleviates Respiratory Symptoms

Cistus essential oil has both expectorant and mucolytic properties, which help to rid the lungs and nasal passages of excess mucus and clear the sinuses. The antimicrobial properties help to rid the body of harmful pathogens that may be the underlying cause of respiratory symptoms.

If you are suffering from congestion, add a few drops of this essential oil to a bowl of steaming water, cover your face with a towel and breathe in the vapors.

meditation woman

Aids in Meditation

Cistus has been used throughout ancient times as an incense in spiritual ceremonies. The delightful scent and calming qualities help to clear the mind and get rid of negative emotions. This greatly benefits the meditation experience. For a general sense of well-being or to aid in meditation, diffuse cistus essential oil throughout your home.

Alternative Uses for Cistus (Rock Rose) Essential Oil

Other uses of cistus essential oil include adding to a massage blend in order to assist in lymph drainage, bring on delayed menstruation, or alleviate the pain of menstrual cramps. It can also be diffused throughout a room to calm the mind after a traumatic event or boost the immune system. 4

Safety and Precautions

Cistus essential oil can be used both topically and aromatically, but should not be used internally.

When using essential oils topically, you should always conduct a patch test before use. If you have sensitive skin, it is recommended to dilute in a carrier oil before applying to the skin.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, avoid the use of essential oils unless directed by a doctor. You should never attempt to use essential oils in place of a prescription medication without consulting a medical professional.

When stored correctly in a cool, dark place, cistus essential oil will last for 3-4 years.


Although cistus essential oil is not one of the most common therapeutic oils, it has a lot of healing properties that can benefit everyone. It can be used topically to help with skin conditions, wounds, relieve muscle pain, and much more. If you’re looking for a natural way to ease your symptoms, cistus essential oil is the perfect addition to your medicine cabinet.

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