Myrtle is one of the oldest and most historically important medicinal herbs. The leaves and berries are commonly used in Middle Eastern culinary dishes to season lamb.
In the West, Myrtus communis is used and in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Rhodomyrtus tomentosa is used. Both plants are in the family Myrtaceae and have similar and distinct properties. For example, R. tomentosa is not used as an essential oil and has stronger blood-building properties than M. communis.
The leaves and berries are generally considered safe when used as recommended in medicines and as a culinary spice. The essential oil of Myrtus communis is slightly toxic if used internally. It is therefore more commonly used externally.
Find out more about Myrtle and its healing and culinary applications.