Have you heard anyone mention the health benefits of Cistus tea? Me either, until I came across it a couple of years ago. In fact, cistus incanus was named the European Plant of the Year in 1999, making headlines for its many health benefits. Cistus tea made news once again, in 2010, for its ability to reduce the possibility of being bitten by mosquitoes and ticks for those who regularly drink the tea.
Cistus Incanus is not a new discovery. In fact, it’s a plant that has a long tradition in folk remedies and, in ancient times, used for numerous medicinal and therapeutic purposes. The first book of the Bible, Genesis, references the resin of Cistus plants. In ancient Greece, it was used for wound healing and as a facial freshener. In Moroccan traditional medicine, Cistus tea is used to maintain oral cavity hygiene — mouth and throat. Other ancient uses include treating colds, coughs, menstrual issues, and rheumatism. In natural herbal medicine, the leaves of Cistus are used to treat skin issues and inflammatory diseases. Best of all, cistus incanus also has antibacterial, antifungal, and bio-film breaking benefits.
Cistus Incanus: Natural Antibiotic, Antiviral, and Biofilm Buster
Cistus Incanus is a flowering plant that grows mainly in the Mediterranean regions of Southern Europe and North Africa. Often called Mediterranian Rockrose, its flowers present beautiful colors ranging from white to bright pink. Just by looking at this vibrant plant, one would not suspect that it has potent medicinal properties. According to Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, “In our research, only the Sardinian wild-harvested Cistus Incanus, never sprayed with anything chemical, has the properties we need to fulfill our criteria for whole-body healing.”
In our research, only the Sardinian wild-harvested Cistus Incanus, never sprayed with anything chemical, has the properties we need to fulfill our criteria for whole-body healing. Dietrich Klinghardt, MD
In herbal medicine, the leaves of Cistus often used in the treatment of skin and inflammatory issues (Hudson, 2009). Recent scientific research confirms the credibility of this herbal treatment from studies that show Cistus leaf extract has strong antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and biofilm-breaking characteristics (Rebensburg et al., 2015). The many health benefits of Cistus leaves have made it extremely popular in some natural protocols for Lyme disease and Lyme co-infections.
Antibacterial and Antifungal Benefits of Cistus Incanus
The Cistus genus contains several different plants that utilize many strong antibacterial and antifungal properties against pathogens that can cause serious human health concerns. Cistus incanus, in particular, shows antibacterial effects against Streptococcus mutans, which is a positive bacterium, usually found in the mouth, that contributes to tooth decay (Wittpahl, 2015). Both cistus villosus and cistus monspeliensis, native to Morocco, act as an antibacterial against Staphylococcus aureus. Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium responsible for staph infections. Antibiotic-resistant staph infections continue to rise, and any plant that contains natural antibiotic qualities is highly beneficial.
C. villosus and C. monspeliensis also employ activity against the fungal microorganisms Candida albicans, Candida krusei, Candida glabrata, and Aspergillus fumigatus. Candida overgrowth can cause digestive tract health issues, and Aspergillus infections are dangerous to the immune system as well as the respiratory system (Sharma, 1993). Since Cistus can address both of these types of fungi is vital for those who struggle with fungal infections, including toxic mold exposure. The antifungal properties of Cistus make it an essential part of natural healing protocols for those experiencing a mold-induced illness.
Antiviral Properties of Cistus Incanus
Cistus Incanus contains potent antiviral properties and prevents viral infection by attacking viral envelope proteins. Viral envelope proteins are proteins lodged in the capsule of a virus — the shell-like layer that encapsulates the viral DNA or RNA. Viral DNA and RNA consist of the genetic material a virus incorporates to replicate once it is in a host cell. Viral envelope proteins help viruses fasten to and enter host cells and then proceed to replicate their DNA and RNA. Since viruses cannot reproduce independently, they require access to a host cell so they can reproduce and create more viruses (Lodish, 2000). After a virus acquires access to a host cell and starts the process of replication, this interferes with normal host cell processes, which, in part, causes the symptoms of viral illnesses.
The strategy of a virus is often devious; however, Cistus incanus inhibits the action of the viral envelope proteins in different types of viruses, which then prevents this entire process from happening.
Cistus exhibits a capacity to prevent both the Ebola virus and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) from fastening to host cells. Long-term (24 weeks) animal studies show that there are no resistant HIV viruses found against Cistus. Also, it is thought that the multiple antiviral components in Cistus are what provides its efficacy against Ebola — which has eluded pharmaceutical treatment procedures. This has important implications in the treatments of these severe health concerns since HIV proves resistance to many of the current pharmaceutical antiviral therapies. Currently, there are no approved antiviral therapies for effectively addressing the Ebola virus (Rebensburg et al., 2015). Indeed, these are severe issues, but it’s encouraging to know that a plant such as Cistus Incanus could close this particular gap in medical treatment.
Cistus also demonstrates antiviral activity against Influenza A virus. Because this virus can mutate quite rapidly and evade pharmaceutical treatments, Influenza A is considered a dangerous infection. Cistus is known as being successful in treating Influenza A. It targets the virus itself and also helps reduce the symptoms by dampening the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines — immune system molecules released due to viral provocation that causes bodily inflammation (Hudson, 2009).
Lastly, Cistus could be an effective treatment option for those viruses that attack the upper respiratory tract. In at least one human study, Cistus reduced symptoms and inflammatory biomarkers related to upper respiratory tract infections. (Kalus, 2009).
Top Twelve Benefits of Cistus Incanus
✔ Antiviral properties
✔ Antibacterial properties
✔ Antifungal properties
✔ Anti-inflammatory properties
✔ Breaks down biofilm
✔ A rich source of polyphenols
✔ Powerful antioxidant
✔ Supports immune system health
✔ Encourages a healthy microbiome
✔ Boosts metabolism
✔ Supports brain health
✔ Anti-aging properties
Biofilm-Breaking Qualities of Cistus Incanus
Cistus is outstanding with its ability to break down biofilm, particularly in the mouth. Biofilm, which is a slimy layer of bacteria that can form on bodily surfaces, could be a significant player in the development and continuation of chronic disease because it permits bacteria to dodge antibiotics. Cistus is a robust biofilm-breaker that helps destroy biofilm and reinstate a healthy and average microbial balance in the body. Drinking or swishing cistus tea as a mouth rinse, decreases the attachment of pathogenic bacteria in the mouth, and eventually breaks down biofilm (Karygianni, 2015).
Cistus Incanus is undoubtedly promising as a significantly effective antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and biofilm-breaking agent in the treatment of many kinds of infections. Because of its broad-spectrum activity, Cistus could be an extremely beneficial addition to natural health protocols for those desiring to overcome chronic infections and illnesses such as chronic Lyme disease. If you are battling any of the health concerns above, it’s a good idea to talk to a knowledgeable healthcare provider about Cistus Incanus.
How to Make Fabulous Cistus Incanus Tea
A significant 2012 study looked at the effects of temperature brewing time and water mineral level on the phenolic content of the ending Cistus herbal infusion. Flavonoids, as well as other phenolic compounds, break down rapidly at temperatures approaching 212 F (boiling water). This particular study confirmed that the same holds true for making Cistus Incanus tea.
However, the most informative part of the study was the investigation into the effects of the mineral content of the brewing water. The researchers employed three types of water: 1) water filtered with no mineral content, 2) water containing mineral content measured at a total water hardness of 1.0, and 3) mineral water with a hardness of 3.2. The pH for all three samples was mostly neutral, so alkalinity wasn’t a variable.
The results indicate that a higher mineral content in the water was responsible for up to a 62% decrease in the expression of flavonol glycosides — important antioxidants. Compounds such as gallic acid were absent in the infusions made with mineral water because they were left behind in the tea cream.
Important Take-Away: Science backs using mineral-free (distilled) water as the best method for making your Cistus tea.
Time and Temperature Matter
The temperature and duration of steeping make a significant difference in the total phenolic content of Cistus Incanus tea. The optimal temperature was found to be 185 degrees F, and the optimal brewing time was found to be 35 minutes.
Fabulous Cistus Tea Brew Method
- 1/3 Cup Cistus Incanus tea leaves
- 1 ltr Distilled water
- Stevia leaf
Begin with 10 grams (1/3 of an ounce or 1/3 Cup for most teas) of tea to 1 liter (approximately 34 ounces) of distilled water. If you want to make just one cup of Cistus tea, use 3 teaspoons of leaves per cup. It’s VERY important to control your water temperature, so it’s not less than 75c (167 F) and not more than 90c (194 F) for 35 minutes. Using a thermometer is suggested. We do not suggest using a microwave. Once you’ve made the tea, it’s best to consume it within 24 to 36 hours. Try to make just enough tea for one day’s use. Store it in a covered container in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
Sweeten lightly with ground leaf stevia (start with a tiny pinch), which is said to be an additional benefit if you are taking cistus tea to get rid of fungi or break down Lyme type biofilms, and it also makes the tea taste great.
It’s essential to build up slowly so that you don’t experience a Herxheimer reaction. One person suggested one sip a day for a week, then add another sip for a week, etc. A sip is very potent- but when you go slow, it is very effective. Some people suggest beginning with one small cup.
Caution: For long-term use, Cistus tea is mildly anti-hyperglycemic. If you take high blood sugar medication, please consult a knowledgeable healthcare professional before drinking the tea for more than 30 days.
Hudson JB. (2009). The use of herbal extracts in the control of influenza. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research. 3(13): 1189-1195. Retrieved from http://www.academicjournals.org/article/article1380529426_Hudson.pdf.
Karygianni L, Al-Ahman A, Argyropoulou A, et al. (2015). Natural Antimicrobials and Oral Microorganisms: A Systematic Review on Herbal Interventions for the Eradication of Multispecies Oral Biofilms. Frontiers in Microbiology. 6: 1529. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4712263/.
Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. (2000). Molecular cell biology. 4th Ed. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21523/.
Rebensburg S, Helfer M, Schneider M, Koppensteiner M, Eberle J, Schindler M, Gurtler L, Brack-Werner R. (2016). Potent in vitro antiviral activity of Cistus incanus extract against HIV and Filoviruses targets viral envelope proteins. Scientific Reports. 6. Article number: 20394. Retrieved from http://www.nature.com/articles/srep20394.
Sharma RP. (1993). Immunotoxicity of mycotoxins. Journal of Dairy Science. 76:892-897. Retrieved from http://getmoldtested.com/uploads/Sharma_Immunotoxicty_Mycotoxins.pdf.
Wittpahl G, Basche S, Kolling-Speer I, Hannig C. (2015). The polyphenolic composition of Cistus incanus herbal tea and its antibacterial and anti-adherent activity against Streptococcus mutans. Planta Medica. 81(18). Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication...
H. Bouamama, J. Villard, A. Benharref, M. Jana Therapie. Antibacterial and antifungal activities of Cistus incanus and C. monspeliensis leaf extracts. 1999 Nov-Dec; 54(6): 731–733.
Mansoor KA, Matalka KZ, Qa’dan FS, Awad R, Schmidt M. Two new proanthocyanidin trimers isolated from Cistus incanus L. demonstrate potent anti-inflammatory activity and selectivity to cyclooxygenase isoenzymes inhibition. Nat Prod Res. 2016;30(17):1919-26.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician of choice.