The rockrose (Cistus Ladanifer) is a flowering plant from the family of the Cistaceae. This sticky shrub grows up to 2,5 meters and can be found all over the western Mediterranean region. It is very common in Portugal, especially in the south (Alentejo and Algarve) where patches of rockrose communities cover large areas of the countryside.
Harvesting the Rockrose
Like with many other plants, Cistus Ladanifer/Rock Rose should be harvested in the morning. This helps to ensure that the biochemical constituents of the leaves and small branches keep their properties. The ideal time is anywhere between when the dew from the previous night has evaporated and when it is getting to hot to work.
Our cistus herbs are made of leafs of the Cistus Ladanifer plant, which are hand harvested, dried, cut and filtered. In some countries the eastern cousin of Ladanifer – namely Cistus Incanus – is already well-known and used as an herbal tea. We are slowly re-discovering the potential of our own Cistus, which seems very promising indeed.
Cistus essential oil is one of the most interesting and valuable products that can be obtained from the Cistus Ladanifer plant. There are several methods to obtain this oil but all the producers in Portugal that we know get their Cistus essential oil by using steam distillation; to be more precise, this process uses the fresh plants and twigs of Cistus Ladanifer.
Hydrosols are a by-product of steam distillation. They are also called floral waters or hidrolats and basically consist of distilled water and small amounts of essential oil. Cistus Ladanifer Hydrosol is not any different; it is obtained by distilling the leafs and twigs of Cistus Ladanifer by steam distillaton.