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Myrtle (Myrtus communis L.) 1 gr. seeds (numerous tiny seeds)
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Myrtle (Myrtus communis L.) Myrtle branch with flowers


Myrtle flower Used plant part

Around the Medi terra nean, mostly the fresh or dried leaves are used; the dried berry fruits are also aromatic and have been tried as a substitute for black pepper.

Plant family

Myrtaceae (myrtle family)

Sensory quality

The leaves exemanate an aromatic and re freshing smell some what reminis cent to myrrh or eucalypt; the taste is very inten sive, quite dis agree able and strongly bitter.

Main constituents

The most important constituents of myrtle oil (up to 0.8% in the leaves) are myrtenol, myrtenol acetate, limonene (23%), linalool (20%), pinene (14%), cineol (11%), furthermore, p-cymene, geraniol, nerol and the phenylpropanoid, methyleugenol. There is considerable variability in the composition of oil from different locations.


The plant grows abundantly in the North Western to Eastern Mediterranean; its multiple occurrences in the Old Testament testifies its significance to West Asian peoples (see also pomegranate).

Myrtle flowers Myrtle flower



Myrtle has closely related names in most European and even some non-European languages; besides English myrtle, we have German Myrte, Estonian m 1/4rt, Spanish mirto, Scottisch Gaelic miortal, Modern Greek mirtia 1/4 , Russian myrt 1/4 , Armenian mrdeni and Farsi mourd . All these names relate to Old Greek myrtos 1/4 or myrsine 1/4 1/2

  • and were typically transmitted via Latin myrtus. The Greek term entered the language probably as a Semitic loan; see also nutmeg.

    Besides the Greco-Latin mirto, Spanish has another term for myrtle, which is of Arabic origin: Array n is a medieval loan from Andalusian Arabic ar-raihan the myrtle; this term is still valid in modern Arabic, but in the Arabic-speaking countries of the Eastern Mediterranean and of Asia, it has changed its meaning to basil, while the denotation myrtle is conserved only in North African Arabic; cf also Maltese ri an myrtle. Raihan derives from the Arabic noun rih odour. See also caper for Arabic loanwords in Iberic languages.

    Selected Links

    chemikalienlexikon.de: Linalool Die Myrte (Jens Rathke)


    Myrtle plants with flowers Myrtle is another example of a spice finding no wide appli cation because of its bitter ness (see zedoary), despite the pleasant odour. Its culinary im portance is limited to the region of origin: The fragrant macchia forests on the mountain slopes around the Mediterranean Sea.

    Myrtle is a perfect firewood, transmitting a spicy, aromatic taste to any meat grilled thereover. Furthermore, meat or poultry may be wrapped with myrtle branches or the body cavities may be stuffed therewith; after broiling or roasting, the myrtle is to be removed. Foods flavoured with the smoke of myrtle are common in rural areas of Italy or Sardinia; rosemary may serve as a substitute. Interestingly, the same technique is also known in the Caribbean, where allspice leaves are employed for virtually the same purposes.

    Dried myrtle leaves are readily available in most Western countries; any food broiled over charcoal may be flavoured simply by repeatedly sprinkling a handful of the leaves over the glowing coal. Rosemary, thyme and other robust herbs (even eucalypt) may also be tried.

    Natural Medical uses of the plant:

    Even today, myrtle occupies a prominent place among the medicinal plants of the country - Israel. Due to shortage of space, here only the most important medicinal uses: treatment of dermatitis in infants, hair loss, intestinal inflammation, healing bruises, and relieve constipation and asthma (asthma). Dry leaves - myrtle, and crush them into powder. Mix the powder with oil - olive, so you get a green paste. Spread the paste on Mfshaotihm sensitivity of infants, or on irritated skin in general. You can also use talcum powder, no oil - olive, for the same purposes. Ointment is very effective for strengthening the hair roots and prevent dropouts. Dip the fingertips cream and massage the scalp. Healing bruises and wounds assume a poultice on gauze and wear.

    Myrtle tea: brew a cup of boiling water 2 heaping teaspoons bay leaves, dried or green. You can sweeten with a teaspoon full of honey. This tea is very effective in inflammatory bowel disease, constipation and to treat ulcers (ulcers). Asthma (asthma): Cook 100 g of green leaves in the water. With the rise of steam forming a tent a towel over your head and inhale the vapors into the respiratory tract.

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