Myrtus communis L.

Last updated: 23 Aug 2016

Scientific Name

Myrtus communis L. 


Myrtus acuta Mill., Myrtus acutifolia (L.) Sennen & Teodoro, Myrtus angustifolia Raf. [Illegitimate], Myrtus augustini Sennen & Teodoro, Myrtus aurantiifolia Grimwood [Illegitimate], Myrtus baetica (L.) Mill., Myrtus baui Sennen & Teodoro, Myrtus belgica (L.) Mill., Myrtus borbonis Sennen, Myrtus briquetii (Sennen & Teodoro) Sennen & Teodoro, Myrtus christinae (Sennen & Teodoro) Sennen & Teodoro, Myrtus eusebii (Sennen & Teodoro) Sennen & Teodoro, Myrtus gervasii (Sennen & Teodoro) Sennen & Teodoro, Myrtus italica Mill., Myrtus josephi Sennen & Teodoro, Myrtus lanceolata Raf. [Illegitimate], Myrtus latifolia Raf. [Illegitimate], Myrtus littoralis Salisb., Myrtus macrophylla J.St.-Hil., Myrtus major Garsault [Invalid], Myrtus media Hoffmanns., Myrtus microphylla J.St.-Hil., Myrtus minima Mill., Myrtus minor Garsault [Invalid], Myrtus mirifolia Sennen & Teodoro, Myrtus oerstedeana O.Berg, Myrtus petri-ludovici (Sennen & Teodoro) Sennen & Teodoro, Myrtus rodesi Sennen & Teodoro, Myrtus romana (L.) Hoffmanns., Myrtus romanifolia J.St.-Hil., Myrtus sparsifolia O.Berg, Myrtus theodori Sennen, Myrtus veneris Bubani, Myrtus vidalii (Sennen & Teodoro) Sennen & Teodoro [1]

Vernacular Name

English Myrtle of Europe, foxtail myrtle [2]
India Aas, abhulas, adhera, as, asbiri, asmirsin, baragasha, barg-e-maurid, bergi-i-murad, burg madar, cativam, chitti jama, firangimethi, gandhamalati, guemmam, habul, hab-ul-as, hab-ul-asa, habb-ul-aas (murad), hambalas, hubbul as, isbar, isferem, ismar, kulinaval, maurid, mersin, murad, murad (ass), muradvilayatimehndi, murid, mursine, murt, murukulu gida, ral safaid, rihan, sadevam, shalmun, sutrsowa, tevam, tevamamaram, tevarkon, tukhm-e-maurid, vilayati-mehndi, yas [3]
Pakistan Mort [3].

Geographical Distributions

Myrtus communis is an evergreen shrub that grows wild throughout the Mediterranean area, thriving in this area’s warm climate. [1]

Botanical Description

No documentation


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

M. communis has been reported to contain monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, α-pinene, 1,8-cineole and limonene. [4][5]

Plant Part Used

Leaves and twigs. [6]

Traditional Use

M. communis is used as insecticidal agent which exhibited the highest level of toxicity to Culex pipiens molestus Forskal mosquito. The chemical constituent alpha-pinene from this oil was extremely toxic to this particular mosquito. [7]

Preclinical Data


Antimicrobial activity

The antimicrobial action of Myrtle essential oil has been examined against a nalidixic acid resistant specific strain of Salmonella typhimurium in lettuce. This may be useful in disinfecting organic produce [8]. The essential oil was also effective against specific microbial strains including E. coli and C. albicans and in one particular examination, demonstrated activity against 22 out of 25 different bacterial species [9][10].

Antioxidant activity

M. communis oil demonstrated anti-genotoxic activity on the artificially induce SOS response, while various extracts of the herb demonstrated specific free radical scavenging activity. [11]

Hypoglycemic activity

Animal studies have demonstrated that the ingestion of myrtle oil can lower blood glucose levels in diabetes-induced animals. When compared to healthy rabbits, myrtle oil showed hypoglycemic activity in those with alloxan-diabetes. [12]


The toxic dosage in animal studies was 3.7 mL/kg in rats and 2.2 mL/kg in mice; showing hepatic injury.  However, this study stated 1 to 2 mL in humans daily may be too low for liver changes when taken internally. [13]

Clinical Data

No documentation.


No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing

No documentation.


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Myrtus communis L.[homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Aug 23] Available from:
  2. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 2. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p. 159.
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms and etymology. Volume IV M-Q. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 240-241
  4. Tuberoso CI, Barra A, Angioni A, Sarritzu E, Pirisi FM. Chemical composition of volatiles in Sardinian myrtle (Myrtus communis L.) alcoholic extracts and essential oils. J Agric Food Chem. 2006;54(4):1420-1426.
  5. Aidi Wannes W, Mhamdi B, Marzouk B. Essential oil composition of two Myrtus communis L. varieties grown in North Tunisia. Ital J Biochem. 2007;56(2):180-186.
  6. Lis-Balchan M. Aromatherapy science: A guide for healthcare professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 2006; p. 251-252.
  7. Traboulsi AF, Taoubi K, el-Haj S, Bessiere JM, Rammal S. Insecticidal properties of essential plant oils against the mosquito Culex pipiens molestus (Diptera: Culicidae). Pest Manag Sci. 2002;58(5):491-495.
  8. Gündüz GT, Gönül SA, Karapinar M. Efficacy of myrtle oil against Salmonella typhimurium on fresh produce. Int J Food Microbiol. 2009;130(2):147-150.
  9. Yadegarinia D, Gachkar L, Rezaei MB, Taghizadeh M, Astaneh SA, Rasooli I. Biochemical activities of Iranian Mentha piperita L. and Myrtus communis L. essential oils. Phytochemistry. 2006;67(12):1249-1255.
  10. Lis-Balchin M, Deans S, Hart S. A study of the changes in the bioactivity of essential oils used singly and as mixtures in aromatherapy. J Altern Complement Med. 1997;3(3):249-256.
  11. Hayder N, Abdelwahed A, Kilani S, et al. Anti-genotoxic and free-radical scavenging activities of extracts from (Tunisian) Myrtus communis. Mutat Res. 2004;564(1):89-95.
  12. Sepici A, Gürbüz I, Cevik C, Yesilada E. Hypoglycaemic effects of myrtle oil in normal and alloxan-diabetic rabbits. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;93(2-3):311-318.
  13. Uehleke H, Brinkschulte-Freitas M. Oral toxicity of an essential oil from myrtle and adaptive liver stimulation. Toxicology. 1979;12(3):335-342.