Rock rose/Ladanum (Cistus incanus, ssp creticus)


A perennial aromatic shrub, with medicinal qualities too. The stem and leaves contain a balmy resin (labdanum) with a strong scent: this resin is secreted by hairs on the leaves, and is collected by a sort of rake pulled through the bushes. The resultant brown and malleable stuff is also used in liturgical contexts as an incense. Medicinally the resin has a strong antimicrobial quality (also combating leukaemia); and is used as against toothache, tetanus and insomnia. With its seeds, the plant can be boiled to make a tea, which assists against diarrhea. In Crete, it is regionally known as Wild Rose or Wild Sage. With its beautiful pink, and more rarely white, flowers it blooms from March to June.

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