New YouTobe Video

Vicky E. Arvelaki.


Rock Rose (Cistrus Creticus)

Cistus creticus, commonly know as Rock Rose, is a perennial shrub, found on dry or rocky soils in Mediterranean area and particularly in Crete island, South Greece.

Mythology and History
Cistus Incanus Creticus.

It was known to the Greeks as early as the times of Herodotus and Theophrastus.
This plant and has been prized since ancient times as the source of the substance labdanum, also known as ladanum. This sticky resin, derived from the sap of Cistus incanus has been used for centuries as an ingredient in perfumes and incense, as well as to treat colds, coughs, menstrual problems, rheumatism, as well as for embalming and aphrodisiac purposes.

Ancient Greeks used a unique method for collecting the resin from these plants. Goats were allowed to graze among the Cistus incanus shrubs, and the resin would adhere to the hair of their coats, which was then shorn and boiled. The resin, which is not soluble in water, would eventually rise to the surface and would be skimmed off for later use. This complex and time-consuming process made labdanum a rare and highly prized commodity among ancient peoples. 
Today, modern techniques have made this process much more efficient. But still today in the Greek Isles, it is collected by threshing the plants by a kind of flail from which the sticky mass is scraped off with a knife and rolled into small black balls.

Health Benefits & Modern Medicinal uses

This plant is an aromatic, expectorant, stimulant herb that controls bleeding and has antibiotic effects. It is used internally in the treatment of catarrh and diarrhoea.
Rock Rose tea is three times as healthy as green tea and elderberry juice. It protects the heart four times better than red wine and it is an antioxidant twenty times stronger than freshly pressed lemon juice. Just a cup of tea a day is proven to stimulate the immune system significantly. 

The human body requires this type of antioxidant to combat toxic substances. Scientists have found that the rock rose contains an adequate combination of these antioxidants, detoxifies the body and eliminates toxic heavy metals deriving from the smoke of cigarettes, dental fillings and environmental pollution. In addition, rock rose flower is a key ingredient in a homeopathic treatment, especially for stress.

Presently, resin’s main use is in perfume industry, as a fixative substance. It is often used in making cosmetic creams, because of its anti-wrinkle properties and shampoos, as it strengthens the hair follicle. It is also considered a sedative, astringent, heating, antispasmodic and expectorant. 

The most outstanding effect of Rock Rose is its wound healing abilities. It used in any blend for healing skin issues, new or old scars, wounds, inflammation and infections. It is wonderful in blends for mature skin. It is a great anti-inflammatory and has a penetrating, deep aroma that opens up the senses.

The secret of these incredible versatile effects of the rockrose herb is the particularly high level of vitamin P, as well as certain tannic acid compounds or what we call polyphenols. Rockrose contains the highest level of these active agents of any substance known to man. These substances have a stronger antioxidant effect than the well-known vitamins E and C.


Labdanum from mediterranean Cistus species: GC-MS fingerprints and relative quantification of antispirochaetal manoyloxides

Planta Med 2012; 78 - PA10
DOI: 10.1055/s-0032-1320325

Labdanum from mediterranean Cistus species: GC-MS fingerprints and relative quantification of antispirochaetal manoyloxides

K Kuchta 1, K Grötzinger 1, C Birkemeyer 2, HW Rauwald 1
  • 1Pharmacognosy, Leipzig Uni., Johannisal. 23, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
  • 2Anal. Chemistry, Leipzig Uni., Linnéstr. 3, 04103 Leipzig, Germany

The oleoresin labdanum from Cistus creticus was used in ancient Greece as incense, anti-infective, and wound treatment [1]. On Crete, the main production center since antiquity, it is brushed off the leaves with long textile strings. After the Ottoman conquest of Crete 1645, Western Europe imported Spanish labdanum prepared by hot water extraction of aerial parts of Cistus ladanifer. Shortly there- after, labdanum fell out of pharmaceutical use [2]. Presently, C. creticus leaf extracts from Turkey are applied by German self-help groups for borreliosis therapy [3]. Our results indicate that this anti- spirochaetal activity is mainly due to manoyloxides in the essential oil [3,4]. Here, 8 labdanum sam- ples were analyzed by GC-MS for these active constituents, revealing exceptionally high contents of 13-epi-manoyloxide, 2-keto-manoyloxide, ent-3β-hydroxy-13-epi-manoyloxide, manoyloxide, sclareol, and acetoxy-manoyloxide in the Cretan ones. In other eastern Mediterranean samples, the concentration of these compounds was several orders of magnitude lower, whereas Spanish labda- num is dominated by simple alkanes with only trace amounts of manoyloxide and 13-epi-man- oyloxide. Thus, discontinuation of medicinal use of labdanum in Western Europe is understandable as “labdanum” from C. ladanifer is clearly not equivalent to the traditionally harvested C. creticus drug. Rumors that C. creticus contains psychotropic THC were refuted.
References: 1. Aufmesser, M (2002) Dioscurides. Olms Verlag. Hildesheim. 2. Husemann, T (1889) Archiv der Pharmazie 227: 1075-1092/1105-1132. 3. Hutschenreuther, A. et al. (2010) Pharmazie 65: 290-295. 4. Grötzinger, K. et al. (2010) Planta Med 76: 245.


Bogner Man Limited Edition

By: Sandra Raičević Petrović

Bogner Man Limited Edition is expected on the market from April 2013 as a harmonious fragrance for men, reflecting the style and sports spirit of Bogner brand. The composition of the fragrance and flacon design accompany the philosophy of the brand while accentuating sporty details highlighted in a simple yet modern style.

The new, sporty fragrance accentuates optimism and pure energy with luminous citruses offering dynamic strength in the top notes. A blend of mandarin and bergamot is combined with floral notes of Litsea cubeba (May Chang) bush. A pinch of cardamom provides masculinity to the composition. The masculine character of the heart is presented with cedar wood and surrounded with subtle floral accords of jasmine, orange blossom and Egyptian rose. The base encompasses a warm and cuddly blend of tonka beans, sandalwood, amber and musk.
bergamot, mandarin, Litsea cubeba
cedar, jasmine, orange blossom, Egyptian rose
amber, sandalwood, musk, tonka


uicy Couture Viva La Juicy Noir.

By: Sandra Raičević Petrović

Another fragrance—a limited edition by Juicy Couture—joins the trendy wave of Noir editions. It will arrive in selected stores in July 2013, and globally from August 2013—as announced by moodiereport. Officials of the house of Elizabeth Arden accentuate that Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Noir explores the seductive face of the original Viva La Juicy editions.

"Viva La Juicy Noir is the embodiment of the fun-loving Viva muse, who is always the life of the party. Unapologetic, she takes risks and gets rewarded. We are excited to expand the Viva La Juicy portfolio for a limited time with the launch of Viva La Juicy Noir," explains Robin Mason (Elizabeth Arden Senior Vice President Global Marketing).

Top notes of the composition await us with a juicy union of berries and mandarin, announcing the floral blend of honeysuckle, gardenia and jasmine in the heart of the fragrance.

The base closes with amber, caramel, vanilla and sandalwood.


Three wise

Gold is symbolic of Jesus' kingship.

Frankincense is an aromatic gum resin from the scraggly boswellia tree (below left, the flowers and branches of the boswellia sacra from which most myrrh is derived) which grows in Somalia and in the southern Arabian peninsula. It is obtained by making a deep cut in the trunk of the tree, which exudes a milky juice that on exposure to air hardens into semi-opaque whitish lumps. This substance was ground into powder and burned as an incense in Temple ritual, giving off an odor like balsam. It thus denotes Jesus' future priesthood. From ancient times through the Middle Ages, frankincense was a principal Arabian trading commodity. In the ancient world it was used for religious and medicinal purposes; today, it is an ingredient in incense and perfumes.

Myrrh (above right) is a reddish-brown resinous material, the dried sap of a number of trees, but primarily from Commiphora myrrha, which is native to Yemen, Somalia and the eastern parts of Ethiopia, and Commiphora gileadensis, which is native to Jordan. The sap of a number of other species is also known as myrrh, including labdanum, an aromatic gum exuded from the leaves of the Cistus Incanus Creticus or rock rose. Myrrh was used as an embalming ointment and as an incense at funerals and cremations. Its oil was used in beauty treatments and was sometimes added to wine and drunk to relieve pain. As a constituent of perfumes and incense, was highly valued in ancient times, and was often worth more than its weight in gold. In Ancient Rome myrrh was priced at five times as much as frankincense.


Interview by Dimitris Nyktaris in News | Tommi Sooni.

A passion for labdnamun, collecting rare ingredients for perfumery.
by Tommi Sooni

Saturday 7th April 2012

Thank you Dimitris Nyktaris for answering the below questions and for agreeing to share your passion with Tommi Sooni news. Many readers would be unaware that small producers of rare perfume ingredients help to enrich the fine fragrance industry.

You have a love affair with chypre but more importantly with labdanum, namely growing and harvesting Cistus creticus. How did your interest in Cistus creticus begin?

The plant Cistus creticus (with the pink flower) is everywhere in the area of Sises, Crete where I live. It’s the only place in the world where labdanum is collected the ancient and natural way.

I decided to research this plant on the internet and suddenly I found myself collecting information about Cistus creticus and labdanum. I present this researched material on my website.  In my area of Crete labdanum has a strong tradition with the people in the villages and is used here in many different ways, such as traditional therapeutics.

Are there other ways to use parts of the plant, such as in soaps, medicines or tea?

Labdanum is a resin exuded by the plant Cistus creticus. In Crete traditionally its use was for illnesses of the skin and wounds. It has a sweetly balsamic perfume and can be used in perfumes, soaps and skincare. Apart from the perfume it also protects the skin. The plant Cistus creticus is a natural source of most Polyphenols. On the island of Crete the leaves are also used as a herbal tea.

Does this plant have an ancient history in Crete?

Cistus creticus has a very long history. It was recorded as being collected by the ancient cultures in various regions and was known in major ancient western and eastern cultures.  Labdanum is possibly the myrrh referred to in the Bible. Many of the ointments and oils reported in The Bible are attributed to labdanum or contained labdanum as a key ingredient, such as Balm of Gilead, Onycha oil (Exodus 30:34) and according to American botanist Moldenke, labdanum and myrrh were the myrrh refered to as one of the three gifts of the wise men to Christ in Bethlehem.

Historical reports describe two ways of collection:

a. After sending their goats to graze on pastures containing Cistus creticus the shepards would extract the labdanum collected on the hair of the goats chins by combing the hairs.

b. Flailing the plant itself with a ladanistirio, an ancient wooden and leather tool. This was the original harvesting technique used.

These methods are natural and are still used in my region. Both methods were described by Dioskurides and Herodotus.  The false beards of Pharaohs were taken from the hair of the goats!  The image of the ladanistirio was also a religious symbol, seen held up by the kings of Egypt in their hands.

Cyprus (Chypre in French): In Cyprus, the Cistus creticus plant grows naturally and in the summertime the sweet scent of laudanum drifts through the island.  The Romans made a perfume from laudanum and named it, Chypre. The Crusaders when they conquered Cyprus made a perfume from labdanum and they also gave it the name Chypre. The perfume ‘Chypre’ (Coty,1917) contained labdanum.

Crete: Because of the changing climatic conditions, the area around the abbey, including the small villages, in northern Crete is the epicentre for harvesting labdanum.

How is the resin from Cistus creticus collected today? Do you use modern harvesting methods?

The "modern" methods are industrial extraction and they do not have a long history.

They cut the plants of Cistus and they boil them in big cauldrons of water with chemicals.  The resulting product is not as pure and doesn’t have the same scent. By boiling the plants a lot of the volatile components are lost. The laborious method with the ladanistirio is the ancient method and gives pure labdanum (Holy Incense). Labdanum collected with this method is a genuine, natural product and its perfume is unique.

I am impressed by your passion for Cistus creticus. It is people like you who are often forgotten when we think of beautiful perfumes. Your harvesting of one of the raw ingredients required to make rare perfumes continues the relationship between nature and perfume that has continued for thousands of years.

My passion resulted from my family environment. My family has a long history with local products of the region and one of them is labdanum. We insist on allowing the plant Cistus creticus to grow everywhere in the region because it allows us to collect the resin the natural way.

The modern way of manufacturing labdanum is done with chemistry. It is achieved with the use of boiling.  Through this way of extracting all the volatile components are lost and the resin has no relationship with the natural resin extracted by hand!

Do you sell your products to mainly independent perfumers or to larger international companies?

Labdanum, exuded by the plant Cistus Creticus has a rare and unique perfume with no danger to the skin.

It constitutes as a very good stabilizer for perfumes. Whoever wants to discover and use labdanum in their perfumes can find details through my website. Natural products in perfumery are very infrequent materials. Personally I sell to independent perfumers.

Are there other farmers on Crete who also harvest this plant or are you unique?

The collection of labdanum resin from the plant Cistus Creticus is a very difficult and laborious job that is done during the day under the sun and in high temperatures. A lot of farmers go up in the mountains for this work. It is hard work and the farmers can’t gather large quantities in one day. The period of harvesting is only one and one half months, therefore we need a lot of workers.

Do you make your own perfumes?

I have worked only with labdanum from Cistus creticus, creating labdanum concrete and labdanum absolute.

The perfume of labdanum is very warm and rich, giving a very sweet odour that has a strong and sweet scent. It belongs in perfume base notes. It has a typically balsamic odour, rather flowery, herbaceous, amber-like and very tenacious. The absolute derived from the species growing in Crete is the finest, the most amber-like and the least coloured.

I have made perfumes for myself and in cooperation with other perfumers from around the world: with Anne Walsh from Brazil and Pierre Bénard from France. Also perfumers from the USA, Australia, India, Russia, Asia and Europe. I have made labdanum soaps and I would like to make other labdanum cosmetics because they are healthier than other products made with chemicals.

Where can people find out more about what you do and can they buy your products online?

My personal web page is: http://www.labdanum.gr

Nyktaris Dimitris

my Site    :http://www.labdanum.gr  or  http://www.ladanum.gr

my Shop  :Labdanum Shop

Face book profile: Dimitris Nyktaris

Footnote: thanks to Alex for his assistance with editing.

New Perfume Blogs