Cistus creticus L.

Last updated: 02 August 2016

Scientific Name

Cistus creticus L.


Cistus complicates Spruner ex Nyman, Cistus creticus f. albus (O.E.Warb.) Demoly, Cistus creticus f. flavus Demoly, Cistus creticus subsp. trabutii (Maire) Dobignard, Cistus cupaniabus C. Presl, Cistus dunalianus Sweet, Cistus garganicus Ten., Cistus x incanus subsp. creticus (L.) Heywwod, Critus incanus subsp. creticus (L.) Heyw., Cistus ladaniferus Stokes, Cistus polymorphus Willk., Cistrus rotundifolius Sweet, Cistus tomentosus Lam. [Illegitimate], Cistus ubdalatus Moench, Cistus villosis L., Cistus villosus f. albus O.E.Warb., Cistus villosus var. creticus (L.) Boiss., Cistus villosus var. rotundifolius (Sweet) Grosser, Cistus villosus var. trabutii Maire, Cistus villosus var. undulatus Grosser, Cistus vulgaris Spach, Ladanium officinarum Spach [Unresolved], Ladanum verum Raf. [Unresolved]. [1]

Vernacular Name

English Labdanum, rockrose [2].

Geographical Distributions

Cistus creticus is a small, hardy shrub that has been found in Mediterranean regions such as Portugal, Spain, Italy and France (Corsica). [3]

Botanical Description

C. creticus is a member of the Cistaceae family. The leaves have tiny hairs with a resin that emits a warm, pleasant smell. [4]


No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

Oil extract of C. creticus has been reported to contain four esters of phenylpropanoic acids (e.g. 2-phenylethanol, 3-phenylpropanol, geraniol and dehydrogeraniol). [5]

Oil extract of C. creticus also has been reported to contain geranyl 3-phenylpropanoate, 3-phenylpropyl 3-phenylpropanoate, 2-penylethyl 3-phenylpropanoate, dehydrogeranyl 3-phenylpropanoate, ß-phenethyl derivative and 3-phenylpropyl derivative. [6]

Plant Part Used

Leaves, essential oil. [5][6][7]

Traditional Use

C. creticus has been traditionally used to treat chickenpox, measles, scarlet fever, whooping-cough, autoimmune sidorder, polyarthritic rheumatoid, arteritis, hemorrhage, and neurovegetative dystonia. In Egypt, the resin was used to tone the skin. A combination of C. creticus and Laurel nobelis also is able to stop bleeding when used topically. [8]

Preclinical Data


Anti-inflammatory activity

Aqueous extract of C. creticus leaves has been demonstrated to exhibit acute anti-inflammatory activity by rat paw edema. The result showed that the aqueous extract of C. creticus at all doses reduced significantly the edema paw inflammation as well as analgesic effect in thermal-induced pain model. [7]

Antibacterial activity

Methanol and aqueous extract of C. creticus aerial part showed a strong antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus epidermis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Acinetobacter baumannii. [9]


No documentation.

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation.


No documentation.

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation.


Identified as a mild skin irritant. [10]

Case Report

A patient with perfume dermatitis has been reported. [11]


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing

No documentation.


  1. The Plant List. Cistus creticus L. 2013 ver1.1 [updated 2013, cited 2016 April 06] Available from
  2. Lis-Balchin M. Aromatheraphy Science: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals. Great Britain: Pharmaceutical Press; 2006. p.8
  3. Mariotti JP, Tomi F. Casanova J, Costa J, Bernardini AF. Composition of The Essential Oil of Cistus ladaniferus L. Cultivated in Corsica (France). Flav. Fragr. J. 1997;12:147-151
  4. Hedrick UP. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. New York: Dover Publications; 1972
  5. Proksch P, Gülz PG, Budzikiewicz H. Phenylpropanoic Acid Esters in The Essential Oil of Cistus ladaniferus L. (Cistaceae). Z Naturforsch. 1979;35c:201-203
  6. Vernin G. Mass Spectra and Kovats Indices of Some Phenylpropanoic Acis Esters Found in The Essential Oil of Cistus ladaniferus L.. J Essent Oil Res. 1993;5:563-569
  7. El Hamsas EYA, El MAnsouri L, Boukhira S, Daoudi A, Bousta D. In Vivo Anti-Inflmmatory and Analgesic Effects of Aqueous Extract of Cistus ladanifer L. from Morooco. Am J Ther. 2016
  8. Schnaubelt K. Advanced Aromatherapy: The Science of Essential Oil Therapy.  Vermont: Healing Arts Press; 1995
  9. Benayad N, Mennane Z, Charof R, Hakiki A, Mosaddak M. Antibacterial Activity of Essential Oil and Some Extracts of Cistus ladaniferus from Oulmes in Morocco. J Mater Environ. 2013;4(6):1066-1071
  10. Tisserand R, Balacs T. Essential Oil Safety. Churchill Livingston Press; 2006
  11. Larsen WG. Cosmetic Dermatitis Due to a Perfume. Contact Dermatitis. 1975;1(3):142-145