Myrtle tree Tree Uses
Tree Healing Therapy
Botanical name Myrtus communis / Family MyrtaceaeMyrtle (also called 'true myrtle') is an evergreen shrub or small tree that is native to the Mediterranean region and found in western Asia. It is covered in a deep-greyish, fissured bark, with smooth and shiny, deep- green leaves, which when crushed exude a strong scent and yield an essential oil. The myrtle has fragrant, starry, usually white flowers and edible, spherical, blue-black berries containing several seedsHistory, mystery and spiritual healing A sacred flowering tree, myrtle was dedicated to Aphrodite, goddess of love in ancient Greece, and brides garlanded themselves with myrtle leaves. Myrtle was also linked to the Roman festival of Verenalia, when women requested divine intervention in their relations with men, ritually removed jewellery from the statue of the goddess Venus, cleansed her and adorned her with flowers.
Biblical references to myrtle, such as 'The man that stood among the myrtle trees' (Zechariah 1 1 0), are many. For the Jews, myrtle was a token of peace, which is why it became a bridal decoration. Used for its pleasant aroma, it is also one of the four sacred plants of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles the leaves are held by the worshippers in the synagogue during prayers. In the Muslim tradition, myrtle was among 'the pure things' carried by Adam out of the Garden of Eden. Myrtle has also been held as the emblem of honour and authority, and was worn by the Athenian judges when exercising their duties..
healing A medicinal plant of the ancients, myrtle played a prominent part in writings of Hippocrates, Pliny, Dioscorides, Galen and the Arbabian writers. Ancient Egyptians used crushed myrtle leaves added to wine to treat fever and infections. This was also used by Dioscorides for stomach, bladder and pulmonary infections.
In the 19th century myrtle was used for bronchial infections, genitourinary problems and haemorrhoids. It was practically obsolete in modern therapeutics until it was revived in 1876 by medical doctor, researcher and author Dr Jean Delioux de Savignac, who recommended diluted tincture of myrtle leaves as an astringent lotion, and used the powder internally for chronic catarrh of the bladder and menorrhagia, and in infusion for chronic bronchitis.
Modern research finds the plant astringent, with antioxidant and antigenotoxic activities that may be chemo-preventive. Myrtle contains tannins, flavonoids and phenols, among other compounds; the essential oil contains mainly alpha-pinene, cineole and myrtenol, and is used for asthma, coughs and sore throats.
At the time of writing there are no known cautions.