Native to Spain and Greece, this is the “rockrose” grown in some North American gardens. Possibly the Bible’s onycha and “rose of Sharon” (Song 2:1), it often replaces ambergris. It has long been popular in Spain, which remains the major producer today. Shepherds in ancient Crete would drive their herds through the plants so the sticky gum would collect on the animal’s coats; after combing it out, they’d take the gum to market. Don’t confuse this plant with laud-anum, an old-time pain remedy made of opium.

Family: Cistaceae

Extraction: Leaves and twigs are boiled and the resin skimmed off, then aged to produce resinoid and absolute with a warm, spicy, balsamic odor. A fixative.

Medicinal Action: Labdanum is a nervous-system sedative, used in the treatment of rheumatism, colds, coughs, menstrual problems, cystitis and hemorrhoids.

Cosmetic/Skin Use: Antiseptic to wounds, acne, dermatitis and boils.

Emotional Attribute: Labdanum is both emotionally elevating and grounding. It improves meditation and intuition, and raises consciousness. It calms the nerves and promotes sleep, yet is also an aphrodisiac.

Associated Oils:

Cistus (C. incanus) –An essential oil with a lighter, more pungent odor distilled from the gum.
Cistus (Helianthemum canadense)-This oil, distilled from a plant called frostwort, is also called cistus. It is used for skin problems and precancerous skin conditions.

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Written by Kathi Keville

Explore Wellness in 2021