The evergreen myrtle shrubs are typical of the Mediterranean flora. In addition to the use in the herbal kitchen their essential oils are attributed to a healing effect. Myrtle is used in the herb kitchen, its oil is used in the cosmetics industry.

Occurrence & cultivation of myrtle

The evergreen myrtle shrubs are typical of the Mediterranean flora. In addition to the use in the herbal kitchen their essential oils are attributed to a healing effect. The myrtle ( Myrtus communis ) is part of the plant family of the myrtle family ( Myrtaceae ). Typical are the plants for the Mediterranean region with its mild, Mediterranean climate; Myrtle can also be found in North Africa and Central Asia. In ancient Greece and ancient Rome, the myrtle was dedicated to the goddess Venus.

It was considered a symbol of love and beauty, purity, fertility, chastity and joy - so brides were decorated with myrtle wreaths and grooms with myrtle branches - hence the term "bridal myrtle" comes. The evergreen myrtle shrub can grow up to five meters high. In our Central European regions, the myrtles are mainly cultivated as a container plant, because they can not survive in the wild, severe night frosts. Then the plant stays much smaller.

Typical of myrtles are the rough, leathery and narrow leaves. The myrtle leaves are between one and five inches long and stand opposite. They are relatively densely occupied with the oil glands, while they appear dotted dotted. While the leaves' tops are dark green, the undersides of the myrtle leaves appear lighter. Aged myrtle branches often remain mostly bare.

From early May until midsummer, myrtles produce small white flowers that smell beguiling. At up to three centimeters long flower styles they stand individually in the axils of the leaves. The sepals of the myrtle flowers are triangular, while the petals appear almost circular. The stamens are equipped with yellow dust bags. The flowers of myrtle ripen to dark, about one centimeter large and blue-black colored berries.

In addition to various resins, bitter and tannins myrtle plants contain much essential oil. The tea tree (Melaleuca) is a well-known member of the large myrtle family and supplier of the popular tea tree oil. Offered are myrtles for growing in planters. All myrtles are sun lovers, but they also grow well in light shade.

Because myrtles thrive in a natural environment on stony and lime-free soils, lime-free substrates are recommended within the individual attitude. Myrtle need regular fertilization and continuous watering.

While the fresh branches of myrtle are harvested as a medicinal plant during the summer, the slightly smaller leaves of the myrtle cultivated in planters are available year round for use in the herbal kitchen and for making liqueurs.

Effect & application

From the leaves of myrtle her oil is extracted, which is contained to about 0.1 to 0.8 percent. Apart from natural regional fluctuations, myrtle oil contains on average: 24.5 percent, 1, 8 percent cineole, 24.5 percent alpha-pinene, 12.3 percent limonene, 11.6 percent tannin, 8.2 percent gamma-terpinene, 3, 3 percent Nerol, 2.5 percent linalyl acetate, 2.8 percent geraniol and 0.5 percent gamma-pinene.

With its pronounced secretion promoting effect myrtle oil stimulates the appetite. As Myrtol, which is made of eucalyptus oil, sweet orange oil, myrtle oil and lemon oil in a ratio of 66: 32: 1: 1, it is one of the most popular cough medicine in Germany. It dissolves the mucus and thus helps to relieve the respiratory system. Thus, the oil of myrtle is a liberating remedy for bronchial infections.

The healing effects of myrtle are also used against sinusitis and some urinary tract disorders. The high-quality essential oil of myrtle has an antiseptic effect. Therefore it is used in the treatment of wounds, against inflammation of the gums and hemorrhoids.

The grated leaves can relieve skin problems such as psoriasis and acne. Myrtle oil is an important raw material of traditional medicinal plant oils - a popular example is the popular tea tree oil. As an incense and fragrance oil, myrtle has been used for air purification since ancient times. In this way it provides for concentration, attention and mental clarity. The fragrance facilitates the meditations, it gives self-confidence and courage.

In the herb kitchen myrtle branches are considered as a spicy addition to roasts and grilled meats. The leaves are either ground or used as a whole. Harvested berries of myrtle can cook like juniper berries in gravy. The buds and flowers of myrtle are also a pretty as well as spicy decoration of fresh salads. The sepals should be removed before serving.

Myrtle is also a raw material in the production of liqueur: Exemplary is the sweet Myrto Rosso, which is made from myrtle berries. Myrto Bianco is dry from flowers and foliage of myrtle. In the cosmetics industry, myrtle oil is used as a base for cosmetics and perfumes.

Dried flowers and leaves spread over long periods of a beautiful fragrance, so they can be processed well into sachets or potpourri. Myrtenduft harmonizes particularly well with citrus oils, lavender, flower oils and resins.

Importance for Health, Treatment & Prevention

The mild beneficial effects of myrtle are repeatedly used by the health conscious: as an inhalation, addition for relaxing baths, in meditation mixtures as well as beneficial myrtle tea and as a dietary supplement, for example in traditional Ayurveda as Bio Tulsi Churna, both the oil and the flowers and Leaves of myrtle used.

Myrtle spends all year round seasoning, healing properties and fragrance. In summer, it can be set up as a decorative container plant in the open air - and who has a winter garden, can enjoy the Mediterranean atmosphere throughout the year.

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