Myrtus communis L. (Myrtaceae)

  • Shahid AkbarEmail author


An evergreen shrub, native to Europe, Mediterranean region, North Africa, West Asia and India. In Rome, the plant was supposed not only to inspire love, but to maintain it. Before pepper was known, myrtle was used as a spice to season food, and wine was flavored with them. Myrtle enjoyed a prominent place in the writings of Hippocrates, Dioscorides, Pliny, Galen and the Arabian physicians. Galen said that its leaves, stems, fruits and the juice are equally astringent. According to Pliny, berries were used in dysentery, and as an application to indolent ulcers and inflamed eyes; and in wine are antidote to poison of mushrooms. Avicenna in his legendary book Canon of Medicine mentioned it as one of the drugs for the treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding. Fresh or dried fruits are diuretic and beneficial in hemoptysis and cystitis; seeds are tonic for intestines and urinary bladder, and relieve foul smell from gums and mouth (halitosis). In the Ethiopian folk medicine, it is suggested to aid sleep, and also used as sedative-hypnotic in Iranian traditional medicine. In the Mediterranean region, especially in Sardinia, it is used as a flavoring agent for alcoholic beverages. Both leaves and the berries contain high levels of total phenolic content, responsible for their antioxidant property. Berries are also a rich source of minerals, such as Ca, K, Mg, Na and P. Administration of ethanol-water extract of aerial parts did not affect blood glucose of normal mice, but administered 30 min before STZ, abolished initial hyperglycemic phase without affecting the second phase, and if the dose was repeated at 24 and 30 h, it did not allow hyperglycemia to develop until after 48 h. Essential oil of Ethiopian origin did not produce hypnosis but potentiated pentobarbital sleeping time in mice, and ethanol leaf extract exerted anxiolytic, myorelaxant and hypnotic effects. In a double-blind RCT, myrtle fruit syrup for 7-days during menstrual period for three consecutive periods in women suffering from menometrorrhagia, significantly reduced the bleeding. In a double-blinded RCT, freeze-dried aqueous extract of myrtle fruits was as effective as omeprazole in relieving symptoms of GERD.


Aass Arrayán Asbiri Maatoru Mersin Murad Murteira Myrte Myrtle Xiang tao mu 


  1. 1.
    Aleksic V, Mimica-Dukic N, Simin N, Nedeljkovic NS, Knezevic P. Synergistic effect of Myrtus communis L. essential oils and conventional antibiotics against multidrug resistant Acinetobacter baumannii wound isolates. Phytomedicine. 2014;21:1666–74.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Alem G, Mekonnen Y, Tiruneh M, Mulu A. In vitro antibacterial activity of crude preparation of myrtle (Myrtus communis) on common human pathogens. Ethiop Med J. 2008;46:63–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Al-Hindawi MK, Al-Deen IH, Nabi MH, Ismail MA. Anti-inflammatory activity of some Iraqi plants using intact rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 1989;26:163–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Al-Saimary IE, Bakr SS, Jaffar T, et al. Effects of some plant extracts and antibiotics on Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from various burn cases. Saudi Med J. 2002;23:802–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Amensour M, Sendra E, Abrini J, et al. Total phenolic content and antioxidant activity of myrtle (Myrtus communis) extracts. Nat Prod Commun. 2009;4:819–24.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Amira S, Dade M, Schinella G, Ríos JL. Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and apoptotic activities of four plant species used in folk medicine in the Mediterranean basin. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2012;25:65–72.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Appendino G, Bianchi F, Minassi A, et al. Oligomeric acylphloroglucinols from myrtle (Myrtus communis). J Nat Prod. 2002;65:334–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Babaee N, Mansourian A, Momen-Heravi F, et al. The efficacy of a paste containing Myrtus communis (Myrtle) in the management of recurrent aphthous stomatitis: a randomized controlled trial. Clin Oral Investig. 2010;14:65–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Barboni T, Cannac M, Massi L, et al. Variability of polyphenol compounds in Myrtus communis L. (Myrtaceae) berries from Corsica. Molecules. 2010;15:7849–60.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ben Hsouna A, Hamdi N, Miladi R, Abdelkafi S. Myrtus communis essential oil: chemical composition and antimicrobial activities against food spoilage pathogens. Chem Biodivers. 2014;11:571–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Berka-Zougali B, Ferhat MA, Hassani A, et al. Comparative study of essential oils extracted from Algerian Myrtus communis L. leaves using microwaves and hydrodistillation. Int J Mol Sci. 2012;13:4673–95.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Birhanie MW, Walle B, Rebba K. Hypnotic effect of the essential oil from the leaves of Myrtus communis on mice. Nat Sci Sleep. 2016;8:267–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Bonjar GH. Antibacterial screening of plants used in Iranian folkloric medicine. Fitoterapia. 2004;75:231–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Bouzabata A, Boussaha F, Casanova J, Tomi F. Composition and chemical variability of leaf oil of Myrtus communis from northeastern Algeria. Nat Prod Commun. 2010;5:1659–62.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Bouzabata A, Cabral C, Gonçalves MJ, et al. Myrtus communis L. as source of a bioactive and safe essential oil. Food Chem Toxicol. 2015;75:166–72.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Bouzabata A, Castola V, Bighelli A, et al. Chemical variability of Algerian Myrtus communis L. Chem Biodivers. 2013;10:129–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Cakir A. Essential oil and fatty acid composition of Hippophae rhamnoides L. (Sea Buckthorn) and Myrtus communis L. from Turkey. Biochem Syst Ecol. 2004;3:809–16.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Cannas S, Molicotti P, Ruggeri M, et al. Antimycotic activity of Myrtus communis L. towards Candida spp. from isolates. J Infect Dev Ctries. 2013;7:295–8.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Cherrat L, Espina L, Bakkali M, et al. Chemical composition and antioxidant properties of Laurus nobilis L. and Myrtus communis L. essential oils from Morocco and evaluation of their antimicrobial activity acting alone or in combined processes for food preservation. J Sci Food Agric. 2014;94:1197–204.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    El-Fellah MS, Akhter MH, Khan MT. Antihyperglycemic effect of an extract of Myrtus communis in streptozotocin-induced diabetes in mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 1984;11:275–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Fani MM, Kohanteb J, Araghizadeh A. Inhibitory activity of Myrtus communis oil on some clinically isolated oral pathogens. Med Princ Pract. 2014;23:363–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Feisst C, Franke L, Appendino G, Werz O. Identification of molecular targets of the oligomeric nonprenylated acylphloroglucinols from Myrtus communis and their implication as anti-inflammatory compounds. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2005;315:389–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ghadami Yazdi E, Minaei MB, Hashem Dabaghian F, et al. Efficacy of Myrtus communis L. and Descurainia sophia L. versus salicylic acid for wart treatment. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2014;16:e16386.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Hacıseferoğulları H, Ozcan MM, Arslan D, Unver A. Biochemical compositional and technological characterizations of black and white myrtle (Myrtus communis L.) fruits. J Food Sci Technol. 2012;49:82–8.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Hajiaghaee R, Faizi M, Shahmohammadi Z, et al. Hydroalcoholic extract of Myrtus communis can alter anxiety and sleep parameters: a behavioural and EEG sleep pattern study in mice and rats. Pharm Biol. 2016;54:2141–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Hedayati A, Khosropanah H, Bazargani A, Abed M, Emami A. Assessing the antimicrobial effect of the essential oil of Myrtus communis on the clinical isolates of Porphyromonas gingivalis: an in vitro study. Jundishapur J Nat Pharm Prod. 2013;8:165–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hosseinzadeh H, Khoshdel M, Ghorbani M. Antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory effects and acute toxicity of aqueous and ethanolic extracts of Myrtus communis L. aerial parts in mice. J Acupunct Meridian Stud. 2011;4:242–7.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Ines S, Ines B, Wissem B, et al. In vitro antioxidant and antigenotoxic potentials of 3,5-O-di-galloylquinic acid extracted from Myrtus communis leaves and modulation of cell gene expression by H2O2. J Appl Toxicol. 2012;32:333–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Jabri MA, Rtibi K, Ben-Said A, et al. Antidiarrhoeal, antimicrobial and antioxidant effects of myrtle berries (Myrtus communis L.) seeds extract. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2016;68:264–74.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Jabri MA, Rtibi K, Sakly M, Marzouki L, Sebai H. Role of gastrointestinal motility inhibition and antioxidant properties of myrtle berries (Myrtus communis L.) juice in diarrhea treatment. Biomed Pharmacother. 2016;84:1937–44.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Jabri MA, Tounsi H, Rtibi K, et al. Ameliorative and antioxidant effects of myrtle berry seed (Myrtus communis) extract during reflux-induced esophagitis in rats. Pharm Biol. 2016;25:1–11 (Epub ahead of print).Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Koeberle A, Pollastro F, Northoff H, Werz O. Myrtucommulone, a natural acylphloroglucinol, inhibits microsomal prostaglandin E(2) synthase-1. Br J Pharmacol. 2009;156:952–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Kordali S, Usanmaz A, Cakir A, Komaki A, Ercisli S. Antifungal and herbicidal effects of fruit essential oils of four Myrtus communis genotypes. Chem Biodivers. 2016;13:77–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Mahboubi M, Ghazian Bidgoli F. In vitro synergistic efficacy of combination of amphotericin B with Myrtus communis essential oil against clinical isolates of Candida albicans. Phytomedicine. 2010;17:771–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Mansouri S, Foroumadi A, Ghaneie T, Najar AG. Antibacterial activity of the crude extracts and fractionated constituents of Myrtus communis. Pharm Biol. 2001;39:399–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Masoudi M, Miraj S, Rafieian-Kopaei M. Comparison of the effects of Myrtus communis L, Berberis vulgaris and metronidazole vaginal gel alone for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis. J Clin Diagn Res. 2016;10:QC04–7.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Maxia A, Frau MA, Falconieri D, et al. Essential oil of Myrtus communis inhibits inflammation in rats by reducing serum IL-6 and TNF-alpha. Nat Prod Commun. 2011;6:1545–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Messaoud C, Boussaid M. Myrtus communis berry color morphs: a comparative analysis of essential oils, fatty acids, phenolic compounds, and antioxidant activities. Chem Biodivers. 2011;8:300–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Messaoud C, Laabidi A, Boussaid M. Myrtus communis L. infusions: the effect of infusion time on phytochemical composition, antioxidant, and antimicrobial activities. J Food Sci. 2012;77:C941–7.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Mimica-Dukić N, Bugarin D, Grbović S, et al. Essential oil of Myrtus communis L. as a potential antioxidant and antimutagenic agents. Molecules. 2010;15:2759–70.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Minaei MB, Ghadami Yazdi E, Ebrahim Zadeh Ardakani M, et al. First case report: treatment of the facial warts by using Myrtus communis L. topically on the other part of the body. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2014;16:e13565.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Mobli M, Qaraaty M, Amin G, et al. Scientific evaluation of medicinal plants used for the treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding by Avicenna. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2015;292:21–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Montoro P, Tuberoso CI, Piacente S, et al. Stability and antioxidant activity of polyphenols in extracts of Myrtus communis L. berries used for the preparation of myrtle liqueur. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2006;41:1614–9.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Nabavizadeh M, Abbaszadegan A, Gholami A, et al. Chemical constituent and antimicrobial effect of essential oil from Myrtus communis leaves on microorganisms involved in persistent endodontic infection compared to two common endodontic irrigants: an in vitro study. J Conserv Dent. 2014;17:449–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Nassar MI, Aboutabl el-SA, Ahmed RF, et al. Secondary metabolites and bioactivities of Myrtus communis. Pharmacognosy Res. 2010;2:325–9.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Onal S, Timur S, Okutucu B, Zihnioğlu F. Inhibition of alpha-glucosidase by aqueous extracts of some potent antidiabetic medicinal herbs. Prep Biochem Biotechnol. 2005;35:29–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Ozkol H, Tuluce Y, Dilsiz N, Koyuncu I. Therapeutic potential of some plant extracts used in Turkish traditional medicine on streptozocin-induced type 1 diabetes mellitus in rats. J Membr Biol. 2013;246:47–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Pirbalouti AG, Mirbagheri H, Hamedi B, Rahimi E. Antibacterial activity of the essential oils of myrtle leaves against Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2014;4:S505–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Qaraaty M, Kamali SH, Dabaghian FH, et al. Effect of myrtle fruit syrup on abnormal uterine bleeding: a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. Daru. 2014;22:45.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Romani A, Coinu R, Carta S, et al. Evaluation of antioxidant effect of different extracts of Myrtus communis L. Free Radic Res. 2004;38:97–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Rosa A, Melis MP, Deiana M, et al. Protective effect of the oligomeric acylphloroglucinols from Myrtus communis on cholesterol and human low density lipoprotein oxidation. Chem Phys Lipids. 2008;155:16–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Rossi A, Di Paola R, Mazzon E, et al. Myrtucommulone from Myrtus communis exhibits potent anti-inflammatory effectiveness in vivo. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2009;329:76–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Rotstein A, Lifshitz A, Kashman Y. Isolation and antibacterial activity of acylphloroglucinols from Myrtus communis. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1974;6:539–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Sangian H, Faramarzi H, Yazdinezhad A, et al. Antiplasmodial activity of ethanolic extracts of some selected medicinal plants from the northwest of Iran. Parasitol Res. 2013;112:3697–701.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Sepici A, Gürbüz I, Cevik C, Yesilada E. Hypoglycaemic effects of myrtle oil in normal and alloxan-diabetic rabbits. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004;93:311–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Serce S, Ercisli S, Sengul M, et al. Antioxidant activities and fatty acid composition of wild grown myrtle (Myrtus communis L.) fruits. Pharmacogn Mag. 2010;6:9–12.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Sisay M, Engidawork E, Shibeshi W. Evaluation of the antidiarrheal activity of the leaf extracts of Myrtus communis Linn. (Myrtaceae) in mice model. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017;17:103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Sumbul S, Ahmad MA, Asif M, et al. Evaluation of Myrtus communis Linn. berries (common myrtle) in experimental ulcer models in rats. Hum Exp Toxicol. 2010;29:935–44.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Tuberoso CI, Barra A, Angioni A, et al. Chemical composition of volatiles in Sardinian myrtle (Myrtus communis L.) alcoholic extracts and essential oils. J Agric Food Chem. 2006;54:1420–6.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Tuberoso CI, Boban M, Bifulco E, et al. Antioxidant capacity and vasodilatory properties of Mediterranean food: the case of Cannonau wine, myrtle berries liqueur and strawberry-tree honey. Food Chem. 2013;140:686–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Uehleke H, Brinkschulte-Freitas M. Oral toxicity of an essential oil from myrtle and adaptive liver stimulation. Toxicol. 1979;12:335–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Yadegarinia D, Gachkar L, Rezaei MB, et al. Biochemical activities of Iranian Mentha piperita L. and Myrtus communis L. essential oils. Phytochemistry. 2006;67:1249–55.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Yoshimura M, Amakura Y, Tokuhara M, Yoshida T. Polyphenolic compounds isolated from the leaves of Myrtus communis. Nat Med (Tokyo). 2008;62:366–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Zaidi SF, Muhammad JS, Shahryar S, et al. Anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective effects of selected Pakistani medicinal plants in Helicobacter pylori-infected gastric epithelial cells. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012;141:403–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Zanetti S, Cannas S, Molicotti P, et al. Evaluation of the antimicrobial properties of the essential oil of Myrtus communis L. against clinical strains of Mycobacterium spp. Interdiscip Perspect Infect Dis. 2010;2010. Pii: 931530.Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Zohalinezhad ME, Hosseini-Asl MK, Akrami R, et al. Myrtus communis L. freeze-dried aqueous extract versus omeprazol in gastrointestinal reflux disease: a double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2016;21:23–9.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.StocktonUSA

Personalised recommendations