Cistus ladaniferus

Cistus ladaniferus

[span class=alert]In regards to the Traditional Use and Therapeutic Action sections of Essential Oils, the oils are rated as is standard practice in the French school of aromatherapy and others. The ratings ranked from one (+) to four (++++) with four indicating the highest value, indicate the oil’s therapeutic value from a practicing clinician’s point of view. The French rating system mentioned are obtained from this book reference entitle ‘Les Cahiers Pratiques D'Aromatherapie Selon L'Ecole Francaise’ (Authors: Francine Baudry, Pascal Debauche & Dominique Baudoux). However, further clarification might be required and will be updated once additional information of the rating system is obtained.[/span]

Family Name


Genus Name


Vernacular Name

Labdanum, gum rockrose, rockrose.

Original Habitat

This plant is found in Mediterranean regions such as Portugal, Spain, Italy and France (Corsica).[1] This is a small, hardy shrub. The leaves have tiny hairs with a resin that emits a warm, pleasant smell.[2] This resin, called Labdanum, has been around since the ancient Egyptian times. This resin, among others, was found in archeological remains and used in the mummification process.[3]

Plant Part Used

Leaved branches


The essential oil of C. ladaniferus is used in the fragrance industry due to its deep woody or balsamic scent. It is also used as a fragrance in some skin care products. In aromatherapy it is used as single oil and in more complex formulations. 


When the twigs of Cistus ladaniferus are boiled, labdanum gum is obtained. This gum is then steam distilled to produce Labdanum oil.[4] Labdanum oil is yellow, but turns brown quickly when exposed to the air. The oil is heavy and has a woody or balsamic aroma and deep undertones.

Chemical Constituents

Terpenes: Alpha-pinene (45-50%), camphene (5%)
Terpenic acids: Borneol (2%)
Phenol: Eugenol (2%), thymol
Esters: Linalyl acetate (2%), methyl benzoate
Ketones (5%): Fenchone, acetophenone [4][5][6][7][8][9]

Medicinal Uses

Antiviral +++
Stimulates the immune system +++
Anti-hemorrhagic  +++
Cicatrizing agent +++
Stimulates and regulates the central nervous system ++

Traditional Use

Child's illness: Chickenpox, measles, scarlet fever, whooping-cough +++
Autoimmune diseases, polyarthritic rheumatoid ++++
Arteritis, hemorrhage +++
Neurovegetative dystonia ++

The resin was also used to tone the skin in Egypt.

To support the lymphatic system, C. ladaniferus may be combined with Laurel nobelis and carrier oil and applied topically. May be used to stop bleeding and is often used to stop bleeding when shaving.[10]

Contraindications and Precautions

Identified as a mild skin irritant [11] with case studies of sensitization.[12]



[span class=alert]Keep out of reach of children as oils are highly concentrated.Essential oils are irritating to the eyes.  Avoid contact with eye area.Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil, lotion, cream or gel even when using in diffuser or bath.Essential oils are sometimes prescribed to be used internally, but should only be used internally under professional supervision.[/span]


  1. Bazdi B, et al. Composition of the essential oils of Cistus ladaniferus and C. monspeliensis from Morocco. J Essen Oil Res. Sep2005;17(5):553-555.
  2. Hedrick UP. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. New York:Dover Publications; 1972.
  3. Hamm S. Headspace solid phase microextraction for screening for the presence of resins in Egyptian archaeological samples. J Sep Sci. Feb2004;27(3):235-243.
  4. Bauer K, Garbe D, Surburg H. Common fragrance and flavor materials: preparation, properties and uses. Germany: Wiley VCH; 1997.
  5. Vernin G. Mass spectra and Kovats indices of some phenylpropanoic acid esters found in the essential oil of Cistus ladaniferus L. Journal of Essential Oil Research. 1993;5(5):563-569.
  6. Peyron L, Alessandri S, Alessandri A. Leaf oil of Cistus ladaniferus L. grown in Corsica. Parfums, Cosmetiques, Aromes. 1986;67:59-67.
  7. Buenadicha P. The essential oil of Cistus ladaniferus. Farmacognosia. 1964;24(3-4):85-104.
  8. Fesneau M. The study of Cistus ladaniferus of Spain. Industries de la Parfumerie. 1950;5:551.
  9. Sabetay S, Trabaud L. Some constituents of the oil of cistus from Est.acte.erel. Industries de la Parfumerie. 1950;5:548-549.
  10. Schnaubelt K. Advanced aromatherapy: the science of essential oil therapy.  Vermont: Healing Arts Press; 1995.
  11. Tisserand R, Balacs T. Essential oil safety. Churchill Livingston Press; 2006.
  12. Larsen WG. Cosmetic dermatitis due to a perfume. Contact Dermatitis. 1(3):142-145.