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Cistus Essential Oil

Cistus ladaniferus

Cistus Essential Oil


Cistus Essential Oil is also known as Labdanum Oil or Rock Rose Oil.

Cistus Essential Oil is an intriguingly complex, rich balsamic oil that is well suited for use as a fixative in natural perfumery and fragrancing applications. It blends well with a number of other oils especially those in the wood, spice and floral families.

Emotionally, I find Cistus Oil to be highly grounding and balancing. Spiritually, I can see it being helpful during moments of prayer and meditation.

Bottle Depicting the Typical Color of Cistus Essential Oil

Robbi Zeck indicates that Cistus Oil can be helpful in times of crisis, trauma and emotional pain. [Robbi Zeck, ND, The Blossoming Heart: Aromatherapy for Healing and Transformation (Victoria, Australia: Aroma Tours, 2008), 72.]

Cistus Absolute, also frequently referred to as Labdanum Absolute, is also commercially available. It's much thicker in consistency. The solvent extraction process used to create the absolute is able to capture more of the heavier aromatic molecules than can be captured during steam distillation. To me, the aroma of the absolute is sweeter, deeper and much more balsamic in aroma. I love working with the absolute for perfumery applications, and I also find myself using it for emotional reflection. Personally, I find that it gives me a sense of gentle strength while nudging me to remember and learn from bittersweet memories. Everyone is different in how essential oils impact them emotionally. Your experience with Cistus Absolute may differ.

See the Benefits and Uses section for additional uses and applications.

Cistus Essential Oil Benefits and Uses

  • Antiseptic
  • Anti-microbial
  • Astringent
  • Emmenagogue
  • Expectorant
  • Sedative
  • Vulnerary

Source: Salvatore Battaglia, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Second Edition (Australia: The Perfect Potion, 2003), 252.

Used as a fixative in natural perfumery and can act as a substitute for ambergris.

Source: Jeanne Rose, 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols (Berkeley, CA: Frog, Ltd, 1999), 98.

Botanical Name

Cistus ladaniferus

Plant Family


Common Method of Extraction

Steam Distilled (Also Available as an Absolute).

Plant Part Typically Used

Flowers and Leaves


Golden Yellow


The essential oil is thin. The absolute is much thicker.

Perfumery Note


Strength of Initial Aroma


Aromatic Description

Cistus Essential Oil smells fresh, balsamic, woody, herbaceous and slightly spicy/floral.

Major Constituents of Cistus Essential Oil

  • a-Pinene
  • Camphene
  • Hexen-1-ol
  • Trimethylcyclohexanone
  • Bornyl Acetate

See Essential Oil Safety for a more complete list of typical constituents.

Source: B.M. Lawrence, Essential Oils 1981-1987 (Wheaton: Allured Publishing, 1989), 93-95. B.M. Lawrence, Essential Oils 1988-1991 (Wheaton: Allured Publishing, 1993), 91-92. B.M. Lawrence, Progress in Essential Oils, Number 4. (Perfumer & Flavorist 24, 1999), 41-50. Sources cited in Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 250.

Cistus Essential Oil Safety Information

Tisserand and Young recommend avoiding oxidized Cistus Oil. They advise that skin sensitization is possible if the oil has been allowed to oxidize. [Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 250.]

General Safety Information

Do not take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin without advanced essential oil knowledge or consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. For general dilution information, read AromaWeb's Guide to Diluting Essential Oils. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children and be sure to first read the recommended dilution ratios for children. Consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children, the elderly, if you have medical issues or are taking medications. Before using this or any essential oil, carefully read AromaWeb's Essential Oil Safety Information page. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.

Shelf Life

View Shelf Life Information

Important Information About the Profiles

The essential oil information provided on AromaWeb is intended for basic educational purposes only. The references to safety information, test results, constituents and percentages is generalized information. Essential oils can vary greatly in composition. The data is not necessary complete and is not guaranteed to be accurate. The essential oil photos are intended to represent the typical and approximate color of each essential oil. However, essential oil composition and color can vary based on harvesting, distillation, age of the essential oil and other factors. Profiles for several CO2 Extracts and absolutes are included within the directory, and are denoted as such.

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