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(Rockrose family)


This family comprises some 200 species of shrubs and herbs in 8 genera. Most are found in northern temperate regions, and especially in the Mediterranean region, but some occur in South America. Most contain a volatile oil (Willis 1973).

A number of species and hybrids may occasionally be found in cultivation.

In common with other volatile oil containing plants, members of this family are potentially capable of eliciting allergic contact dermatitis. No cases of dermatitis have yet been reported in the literature.

Cistus ladaniferus L.

The volatile oil from the leaves contains a number of monoterpenes including pinene, camphene, myrcene, phellandrene, limonene, thujone, citral, and geraniol, but no one compound predominates (Koenigs & Guelz 1974). The plant also yields various labdane-type diterpenoids and is the source of gum ladanum.

Cyste absolute (or ciste absolute), a fragrance raw material, is an alcoholic extract from this plant. No skin irritant, contact sensitising, nor phototoxic effects could be demonstrated with this material when applied to the skin of various test animals including man (Opdyke 1974).


  • Koenigs R and Guelz PG (1974) Monoterpenes in the essential leaf oil of Cistus ladaniferus. [German]. Z. Pflanzenphysiol. 72: 237-248. (Chem. Abstr. 81:117045)
  • Opdyke DLJ (1974) Fragrance raw materials monographs. Cyste absolute. Food and Cosmetics Toxicology 12(3): 403.
  • Willis JC (1973) A Dictionary of the Flowering Plants and Ferns, 8th edn. (Revised by Airy Shaw HK). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press [WorldCat]

Richard J. Schmidt

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