Green myrtle essential oil is distilled from the leaves of the evergreen shrub known as Myrtus communis (a.k.a., True Myrtle). Myrtle has an entire botanical family named after it (Myrtaceae) which contains several aromatics of accord such as the Melaleuca and Eucalyptus genera. Myrtle, with its small green leaves and white flowers which bear purplish-black fruits, is native to the Mediterranean from Spain to Morocco to Turkey and the Middle East. Which is exactly where the plant is grown and distilled for its essential oil; notably France, Corsica, Spain, Italy, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Albania.
You may notice this Allies post is about “Green” Myrtle; you will also find a “Red” Myrtle out on the market. They are both from Myrtus communis; the difference is in the chemistry. Like any other living thing, how something expresses itself in the world has a LOT to do with climate and geography. Of interest, most “Green” Myrtle comes from locations “north-ish” of the Mediterranean Sea and “Red” Myrtle comes from locations more “south-ish” of the Mediterranean Sea. I vividly recall a Myrtle I had a few years ago that was from Albania and quite dark in color—its overall aroma was quite woody. “Red” Myrtle generally is higher in esters whereas “Northern” may be higher in alpha-pinene and 1,8 cineole. My unsolicited advice is to appreciate each chemo-type for their respective personalities and virtues. Regardless, both types excel at supporting our respiratory health, are sweet, relaxing and beneficial for our skin among other virtues.
Myrtle is an ancient plant with several references found in the Bible and classical mythology. The plant was sacred to Aphrodite and Venus; representing beauty, youth and love. Not passionate, sexual love but genuine, elevated and authentic love which goes beyond rapture and emotions. Every time I smell Green Myrtle—regardless of which geography it came from—there is a quiet vitality about it. Its aroma evokes grace, rejuvenation & peace. Holmes writes how Myrtle embodies “authentic expression,” and I concur. Being with Green Myrtle is like when you’re “in the zone” because of pure love of what you are doing versus taking a stimulant of some sort. The plant and its aromatic oil give vigor and celebrate courage but not valor like Laurus nobilis does. Reflecting on this, Myrtle used to be given to poets and woven into garlands for athletes and represented victory from a bloodless battle (Blakely, 2018). Myrtle embodies the yin energy in the equation of the whole, whereas Laurel embodies the yang.
Green Myrtle brings an immediate gift of oxygen and rejuvenation in a refined way. It communicates that there is no rush. None at all. Myrtle takes its time to work through the mind and body. Its qualities sing of sustainment and vitality versus “getting rid of things.” Its mildly stimulating quality brings overall decongesting—it clarifies the soul so we may better access the grace within us.
Green myrtle essential oil has an overall decongesting quality with an affinity for the respiratory tract as well as the skin and venous system. It is uplifting yet calming on the nerves and may encourage states of clarity and inner peace. Following are notable therapeutic actions and indications where Green Myrtle essential oil may be worked with:
|System||Actions & Indications|
|Circulatory||Venous decongestant, stagnation, poor circulation, hemorrhoids, varicose veins|
|Respiratory||Anti-infectious, antimicrobial, congestion with mucus, catarrh in general, sinusitis, general afflictions of the upper and lower respiratory tract (e.g., colds, flu, bronchitis)|
|Nervous system and emotions||Uplifting, calming, quieting, regulating, tonifying|
|Skin||Revitalizing tonic, psoriasis, irritated skin, devitalized skin (e.g., smokers’ skin, lack of circulation)|
|Urinary||Due to its anti-infections and antimicrobial nature myrtle tea was drunk for infections—a sitz bath with the essential oil or hydrosol may benefit cystitis, urethritis & prostatitis|
Chemistry Highlights Green Myrtle essential oil is rich in the ether 1,8 cineole, monoterpenes (specifically a-pinene) and supported by several esters, where myrtenyl acetate is often the most abundant. Trace amounts of phenylpropenoids (e.g., methyl eugenol) are found in the oils reminding us it is related to Clove. However—and noted above—Myrtus communis’ composition greatly varies depending upon the location/climate/elevation it calls home. To that end, the recognized chemotypes of Myrtus communis are defined by 1,8 cineole in relation to myrtenyl acetate in relation to alpha-pinene.
Is Green Myrtle Essential Oil Safe? Green myrtle is considered safe for dermal, olfactory and respiratory use. However, it is wise to observe the general guidelines around an essential oil rich in 1,8 cineole (again, this is where the chemo-type business comes in): Avoid applying near the nostrils of infants due to risk of spasm of the glottis, due to the cooling effect on the respiratory system. Do not apply to or near the face of infants or children. Use caution and low dilutions when applying essential oils rich in 1,8 cineole to children under the age of 5 (five) years old (Tisserand R, 2014). However, I have found this oil quite calming and gentle and have used it, mindfully diluted, in respiratory salves for young children.
Blending with Green Myrtle Essential Oil
Green Myrtle’s initial sensation is brisk and cool mixed with refreshing verdantly green air. Expansive space is created but not aggressively. Myrtle is like the lapping of a gentle sea’s tide versus a wild and brash ocean’s crash. A mantle of sweet, serene vitality is placed upon your shoulders. Pine notes are dominating at first, giving way to lilac and heart-wood. Primavera: where pine meets sweet Laurel with a backbone of an old, musty Victorian library with layers of velvet. The cooling dissipates, leaving warm, floral-herbaceous hints of peach, clove and licorice. Yet the whole olfactory experience, though invigorating, is quieting and exemplary of refinement, grace and elegance.
Green Myrtle essential oil blends well with: Frankincense (Boswellia carterii), Elemi (Canarium luzonicum), Thyme ct. linalool (Thymus vulgaris ct. linalool), Rosemary ct. cineole (Rosmarinus officinalis ct. cineole), Eucalyptus species (i.e., Eucalyptus citriodora, E. globulus, E. radiata), Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium), Niaouli (Melaleuca quinquenervia), Saro (Cinnamosma fragrans), Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora), Laurel (Laurus nobilis), Cistus (Cistus ladaniferus) and Spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia).
Creating Wellness Products with Green Myrtle
Revitalizing Beauty Care
It is November as I write this, which is the time of year I favor applying fixed oils to my face in tandem with essential oils. My skin is happier in the late summer months with a light cream product but come the fall and winter months my skin doesn’t mind a little help to work with the lack of moisture and the cold. The fixed oils nourish and penetrate and the essential oils support my immunity and vitality (and stress levels!) through-and-through. Following is a dynamic duo I’ve been using the past few weeks; maybe you’ll find some inspiration to make something similar for yourself.
- 5 drops Myrtle (Myrtus communis)
- 4 drops Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
- 2 drops Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium)
- 2 drops Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioide)
- 1 drop Cistus (Cistus ladaniferus)
To make: First, I blended the aforementioned essential oils in a 1 ounce glass bottle with a dropper top and let them sit a few days to even out. Then, I added the following fixed oils to the essential oil blend: Rice bran (18ml), Carrot seed (5ml), Pomegranate seed (5ml), Borage seed CO2 (2ml) and Evening primrose CO2 (2ml).
Honestly, a simple blend of Jojoba (27ml) and Rose hip seed (3ml) would be quite simple yet effective but I’m guilty of loving many nut and seed oils!
Usage-wise, I’ve been applying this oil 1x/day after washing my face and have been quite satisfied with the results.
To further enhance my facial routine I’ve been applying a stimulating eyebrow enhancer after applying the “Revitalizing Face Oil” most mornings. After sparingly applying it with a brush applicator I gently massage the “Eyebrow Enhancer” into my brows then dab away any excess oil that goes out of the brow area.
- 2 drops Rosemary verbenone (Rosmarinus officinalis ct verbenone)
- 2 drops Green Myrtle (Myrtus communis)
- 1 drops Carrot seed (Daucus carota)
- 1 drop Sage (Salvia officinalis)
- Base oils of Castor (5ml) and Jojoba (5 ml)
To make: First, I added the fixed oils to a 10ml mascara tube blank then added the essential oils directly to the bottle.
Respiratory Support: Family Salve
The following salve was made for a client to support her family’s immunity during the cold months with great efficacy. The overall combination offers gentle respiratory support and immune enhancement. Smell the following essential oils to appreciate the aroma and tweak the blend by swapping out some of the essential oils with a few of the ones suggested below depending on your intention.
- 9 drops Corkbark Fir (Abies lasiocarpa variety arizonica)
- 8 drops Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
- 8 drops Rosalina (Melaleuca ericifolia)
- 7 drops Green Myrtle (Myrtus communis)
- 5 Cape Chamomile (Eriocephalus punctulatus)
- 0.3 ounces of beeswax
- 1.7 ounces of Calendula herbal infused oil (e.g., Calendula in Sunflower)
Other oils to consider are: Saro (Cinnamosma fragrans), Spike Lavender (Lavandula latifolia) and Black Spruce (Picea mariana).
To make: Combine the essential oils in the 2 ounce container and affix the cap. Melt down the beeswax using a double boiler, stirring in the Calendula infused oil to incorporate. (Click here to learn more about salve making.) Remove from the heat and add the wax mixture directly to the jar with the essential oils. Stir well to incorporate the essential oils. Affix the cap and apply a label with a name that centers on the intention behind the salve and list the ingredients and note the date.
Myrtle bestows a gift of “gentle yet powerful.” It is a demure plant of great efficacy without being overly forceful. It is exemplary of how it does not always take forceful plants like cinnamon, oregano and Eucalyptus globulus to get the job done. Thank you for spending time with Green Myrtle and me.
Blakely, J. (2018, June 28). Myrtle: The Provenance and Meaning of a Plant. Retrieved from Unbound Smithsonian Libraries: https://blog.library.si.edu/blog/2018/06/28/myrtle-the-provenance-and-meaning-of-a-plant/#.XdW3muhKiUm
Holmes, P. (2019). Aromatica A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics (Vol. II). London: Singing Dragon.
Schnaubelt, K. (1998). Advanced Aromatherapy. Rochester: Healing Arts Press.
Tisserand R, Y. R. (2014). Essential Oil Safety Second Edition. Edinburgh: Elsevier.
Verica Aleksic, P. K. (2014). Antimicrobial and antioxidative activity of extracts and essential oils. Microbiological Research, 240-254.