The cistus plant is a small shrub from the Cistaceae or rock-rose family. There are approximately twenty different species, growing all over the Mediterranean.
Labdanum originates from the western Mediterranean, but can also be found in America.
They are small shrubs that become covered in many flowers when they blossom. The leaves are evergreen and become coated in a sticky resin called labdanum. This resin protects the plants from the hot, sunny climate and dehydration; the resin appears as the temperature soars.
Many materials are produced from the cistus plant, including labdanum resinoid, cistus oil and some other concretes and absolutes.
The resinoid is obtained through a method called solvent extraction. It has a complex, earthy aroma. In perfumery labdanum resinoid is used as a fixative, sweetner, and blender.
At room temperature, this resinoid is very dark and thick, and we have to store it in a special, warm room to keep it more viscous. We buy in a diluted version that can be used more easily with other oils.
It is well known in aromatherapy and folk medicine as fungicidal and antibacterial.