These notes were originally prepared for two short CPD (Continuing Professional Development) "essential oils refresher" sessions which I led for Professional Aromatherapy Network in South Yorkshire. I would be glad to lead such sessions for other groups, e.g. local/regional IFPA or IFA branches.

For list of other essential oil profiles see USES.
To buy myrtle oil visit the ONLINE SHOP.


Myrtus Communis

The English Bog Myrtle (Myrica Gale) is different but related.

Origin Mediterranean. Main oil producers Corsica, France, Italy, Spain, Tunisia, Morocco, former Yugoslavia. Also Russia, Austria (1). Comes from the same family (Myrtaceae) as eucalyptus and tea-tree.

Extraction Steam distillation of leaves, twigs and flowers. “Oil yield using unselected material is 0.25-0.55%, but twice this when only fresh young leaves, flowering shoots and twiglets are used, which also yield the highest quality of oil......the oils most appreciated for their quality are those originating from Corsica” (2). Colour pale yellow or orange.

History Sacred plant of the goddess Aphrodite (3). Victors were often crowned with myrtle leaves at the Olympic Games (4). Dioscorides prescribed an extract in wine for lung and bladder infections (5). Used in 16th century “angel's water” (1). The leaves and flowers used to be used in skincare. In Italy and Greece myrtle was used to make a cough syrup for children with colds (2).

Contra-indications None. Tisserand and Balacs list this as an oil to use fresh, i.e. within 6 months of purchase or 1 uear if refrigerated (6).

Chemistry Varies with origin. 1,8-cineole, pinene, endo-borneol, camphor, camphene, pinene. Myrtenyl acetate and myrtenol are present in small amounts in some samples. Charles Wells writes re chemical composition “I would guess that so-called Red myrtle falls into of oils from Morocco, Yugoslavia and Lebanon, whilst Green is from Tunisia or Corsica” (2).

Blending Suggestions Middle note. Benzoin, bergamot, black pepper, cedarwood atlas, clary sage, coriander, elemi, eucalyptus, frankincense, ho wood, hyssop, jasmine, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, melissa, myrrh, neroli, rose, rosewood, ylang ylang.

Major Properties Antiseptic, astringent, deodorant, expectorant, sedative.

Uses Stress, nervous tension, impotence, frigidity. Some sources give no psychological uses, but Susanne Fischer-Rizzi lists it for despair, fear of illness or death, and self-distraction, and says it is “helpful for people whose body seems draped in a gray brown veil from smoking, drug abuse, or emotions like anger, greed, envy, or supports those who need to get through dark times and prepare themselves for brighter things ahead” (3).

Asthma?, bronchitis, catarrh, chronic chest disorders, colds, sinus infections, tuberculosis. Patricia Davis says “Because of its relative mildness, this is a very suitable oil to use for children's coughs and chest complaints....I have also found it a good oil for elderly people both as a treatment and a preventative measure against chest infections” (5).


Bladder or ureter infections, cystitis?, diarrhoea?, leucorrhea.

Acne, infected skin, oily skin, overhydrated skin. 


  1. Julia Lawless, The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, Element, Shaftesbury, 1992, p.187.

  1. Essentially Oils newsletter April 2001.

  1. Susanne Fischer-Rizzi, Complete Aromatherapy Handbook, Sterling, New York, 1990, pp 138-141.

  1. Wanda Sellar, The Directory of Essential Oils, C.W. Daniel, Saffron Walden, 1992, pp108-109.

  1. Patricia Davis, Aromatherapy - An A-Z, C. W. Daniel, Saffron Walden, 2000 (revised ed.).

  1. Robert Tisserand & Tony Balacs, Essential Oil Safety, Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh, 1995.

Other sources for information, present and past; books, articles or other material by Martin Watt (safety); Jan Balkam, Patricia Davis/London School of Aromatherapy.

Paul Boizot. Information revised 26.05.04. Page updated 28.10.14.

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My address from 30.04.12 is 14 Holly Bank Grove, York YO24 4EA, U.K.

contact me on: 01904 621510
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