Myrtus communis belongs to the Myrtaceae family and is an attractive evergreen shrub native to North Africa and cultivated throughout the Mediterranean. It has many tough, slender branches, a brownish red bark and small sharp pointed leaves. Once it has flowered it produces small black berries. Both the leaves and flowers are very fragrant.
According to myth, when the goddess Aphrodite (or Venus) first emerged naked from the sea she sought refuge beneath a myrtle bush. Since then the myrtle has stood for chaste beauty, purity and love. According to Greek and Roman folklore, myrtle tea, drunk at least once every three days preserves love and youth.
A pale yellow to orange essential oil is steam distilled from the young leaves and twigs. Its aroma is fresh and clear and it blends well with blends well with Jasmine, sandalwood, lemon, rose, eucalyptus, bergamot, lavender, rosemary, clary sage, lime, ginger, clove and other spices. Its major chemical components are the oxide 1,8-cineole (30%) and the esters myrtenyl acetate, geranyl acetate, linalyl acetate, bornyl acetate (31%).
Psychologically, Myrtle’s antispasmodic, calming and cheering properties make it useful for insomnia and to soothe anger, fear, despair, fear of illness and death.
On the physiological level its anti-inflammatory, diuretic and calming properties make it helpful for arthritis, muscle knots and spasms, inflamed skin and pulmonary disorders.
On a more subtle level, Myrtle provides protection during major life transitions. It also promotes harmony, love and respect. It can support one’s connection to angles. Myrtle is useful in balancing opposites — enhancing gentility and strength; keeping the Ego and Will in a healthy, balanced state; balancing male and female energies. Myrtle can help one ‘go with the flow’. It can be used to increase fertility, attract love, as well as keep love alive and strong. It is also used to attract money and abundance.
Contraindications: Generally considered non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitizing. May irritate mucus membranes or skin with high dose or prolonged use.
Beverley Hawkins, Aromatherapy 201 Course 1999 revised 2000,……..2009Return to Article Archives