Medicinal plants

Rockrose – Application & Treatment for Health

In Zistros

Rockrose , Cistus incanus , belongs to the rockrose family . Its healing power has been valued in southern Europe since ancient times. In Central Europe, the medicinal properties of the plant have only been discovered in recent years.

Occurrence and cultivation of cistus

Rockroses grow to a height of around one meter and stand out due to their bushy shrubs with strong branching. They prefer to thrive on dry, stony surfaces whose soils are mostly poor in lime and nutrients. They are found throughout the Mediterranean. The greatest biodiversity exists in their homeland, and they mainly grow in the garigue, a Mediterranean shrub heath formation that is particularly widespread in France, Italy and North Africa.

The flowers, ranging from white to pink to purple, often only bloom for a few hours. A single shrub, however, is covered with hundreds of flowers, resulting in a lavish display of flowering shrubs between April and June. About 24 species of the genus Cistus are known, plus a large number of hybrids. Some of the more well-known rockrose species include the whitish rockrose from the western Mediterranean, the Montpellier rockrose, which is native to the Canary Islands and east of Cyprus, or the lacquer rockrose, which is found in France, the Iberian peninsula of Morocco and Algeria.

In Central Europe, the focus has been on the grey-haired cistus , Cistus incanus , as a medicinal plant for a number of years. The special thing about the plant is the labdanum that emerges from the leaves and twigs when exposed to sunlight. Labdanum is an aromatic, fragrant, oily resin. The name comes from the Syriac-Phoenician language area, where the cistus was called ladan , sticky herb. The resin was used as a medicine and for beauty care, the ancient Egyptians used it for incense.

Effect & Application

In its homeland around the Mediterranean Sea, cistus has been a medicinal product that has been known for centuries. It is used against infections , bronchial diseases, eye diseases and to stop bleeding. In Central Europe, the gray hairy cistus is of interest because studies have shown that it is one of the medicinal plants richest in polyphenols. Polyphenols are secondary plant substances with a high antioxidant effect. The antiviral effect of the plant is particularly discussed. For example in connection with Lyme disease , which is caused by ticks.

Even in an advanced stage, the medicinal plant still seems to have an effect. Current studies indicate an antiviral effect in influenza diseases . The cistus could thus become an alternative to the flu vaccination. And at the same time prevent bird and swine flu . The polyphenols in cistus, which include flavonoids and tannins, can prevent viruses from docking. In doing so, they enclose the virus in order to prevent the pathogen from entering the cell, where a harmful oxidation process of the cells would otherwise start.

The high polyphenol content not only stops the oxidative processes, but also has an anti-inflammatory and cancer-preventing effect. In addition, the cistus is said to have an immune-boosting defence . In addition to the antiviral effect, the medicinal plant fights bacteria and fungi, reduces inflammation and is helpful for allergies , skin problems and eczema . Other ingredients, such as the vegetable oils cineole and eugenol, have an expectorant, analgesic and antibacterial effect on the upper and lower airways in the case of colds .

Rockrose is apparently particularly effective in prophylactic use. However, it should be taken no later than 48 hours after the first symptoms appear. The medicinal plant also develops its effect against heavy metals . As with viruses, the polyphenols encapsulate heavy metals, such as cadmium, which enter the gastrointestinal tract. This prevents the harmful substances from entering the bloodstream and thus into other organs, and the substances are excreted instead. The polyphenols can apparently distinguish which mineral compounds are useful for the organism and which are not, because they do not bind iron.

Importance for health, treatment & prevention

Even though the effects of cistus have been intensively researched for a long time and the healing effects are undisputed, no standardized finished medicinal products are yet available. And compared to other medicinal plants, there are few studies. The quality of the active ingredient has not yet been defined by a pharmacopoeia. The wide-ranging effect is nevertheless well known.

At least the dried herb, which consists of stems, leaves and flowers, is available in the pharmacy, where lozenges or other tablets with the active ingredient are also available. The easiest way to prepare a cistus tea is to drink to prevent colds, to relieve inflammation in the throat or to eliminate heavy metals. A tablespoon of cistus herb is poured over a cup of boiling hot water. Let the mixture simmer for about five minutes, then strain and drink. For skin diseases, a bath with a decoction of cistus is recommended. Envelopes or washes with the brew are also recommended.

To do this, simmer ten grams of tea in 200 ml of water for about five minutes, then apply the brew twice a day with a sponge and let it dry. Drink a cup of cistus tea at least once a day. So far, therapy with cistus has shown amazing effects on neurodermatitis , and acne can also be treated with it. The medicinal plant is also successful in the fight against herpes simplex viruses , which like to spread around the mouth and nose when you have a cold. A four-week cure is recommended to strengthen the immune system. Drink a liter of tea throughout the day, the first cup in the morning on an empty stomach.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.