The Health Benefits and Uses of Myrtle Oil
The myrtle plant or myrtus communis is not the same as lemon myrtle plant or backhousia citriodora. Myrtus communis is an evergreen shrub and the buds, fragrant leaves, aromatic flowers and fruits or berries are edible. Myrtle can be eaten fresh, cooked or used as spice when dried. Myrtle is also used as a tonic and medicinal herb.
Myrtle essential oil is obtained through steam distillation from the leaves and twigs of myrtus communis or also known as common myrtle and true myrtle plant. Sometimes, the flowering tops are also included.
One of the active constituents in myrtle oil is myrtol which consists of alpha-pinene, d-limonene and 1,8-cineole. According to a research, there are 70 other components including linalool, bornyl acetate, alpha terpineol and linalyl acetate.
Myrtle oil which smells a little like eucalyptus oil has shown to have antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, antibacterial, carminative, expectorant, decongestant and sedative properties.
Pure myrtle essential oil can be applied topically, as a rub or used as a compress but should be blended with a carrier oil. You can diffuse the oil and inhale the scent, use in steam inhalation, mist spray and also add it to your bath, steam room or sauna.
A multi-centre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel group clinical trial conducted at the Medizinische Universitätsklinik, Abteilung Pneumologie, Freiburg, Germany concluded that myrtol standardized is an alternative to antibiotics and has the ability to treat acute bronchitis.
In addition to its use as a remedy to treat bronchitis, myrtle essential oil may help provide relief from the symptoms of asthma, flu, sinusitis and the common cold. As an expectorant, it is used as a remedy for coughs.
Its anti-inflammatory effect helps in treating sore throats, gingivitis and hemorrhoids. To use it for sore throat or gum inflammation, gargle diluted myrtle essential oil. For hemorrhoid, blend myrtle essential oil with a carrier oil or aloe vera gel and apply it on the piles.
Because of its astringent properties, myrtle essential oil is beneficial for the skin. As a skin wash or conditioner, it may help treat acne and problem skin.
Diffusing myrtle essential oil and inhaling the scent may help prevent bacterial infection from airborne germs. You can also apply myrtle compress to treat bites, cuts and stings and prevent bacterial infection. Inhaling the aroma of myrtle calms the nervous system, brightens the mood and induces sleep.
The Department of Microbiology, Research Center of Barij Essence, Kashan, Iran conducted an in vitro study and found that myrtle essential oil has antifungal activity and was able to treat candida albicans when it was combined with amphotericin B which is an antifungal compound.