Myrtus communis L.
Botanical Name: Myrtus communis L.
Sindhi Name: Morhiyo
Local Name: Berg modr, habulas
English Name: Myrtle
Part Used: Leaves, flowers, and fruit.
Myrtus communis Linn. is an aromatic evergreen perennial shrub or small tree, 1.8-2.4 m in height with small foliage and deep fissured bark.2 Leaves are ovate-lanceolate, pellucid, punctuate, and oppositely arranged. Flowers are white, fragrant, solitary, and axillary. Berries are black in color.4, 7
Myrtus communis Linn. is native to southern Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. It is also distributed in South America, north western Himalaya, Australia, and widespread in the Mediterranean region. It is widely cultivated in gardens especially in north-western Indian region, Pakistan, U. S. A., and Libya.2, 4, 7
Ethnomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases:
Leaves of Myrtus communis Linn. are boiled and its water is used for taking bath to cure scabies and eczema. Ground paste of berries is applied at the back of the ear for the treatment of otitis externa in District Thatta.
Myrtus communis Linn. berries contain fibre, sugars, and phenolic compounds like flavonoids and anthocyanins. Seeds contain fatty oil (fixed oil), consisting of glycerides of oleic, linoleic, myristic, palmitic, linolenic and lauric acid.2 Leaves and roots contain tannins, flavonoids, coumarins, myrtucommulone A, B, semi-myrtucommulone, galloyl-glucosides, ellagitannins, galloyl-quinic acids, caffeic, gallic, and ellagic acids.2 It also contains myrtenol, limonene, myrtenyl acetate, linalool, α- and ß-pinene, camphene, kaempferol, quercetin, geraniol, and dipentene.4, 5, 6, 7
Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/ Scientific Studies:
Leaf and fruit decoction of Myrtus communis L. is used for the treatment of hypoglycemia, cough, constipation, anorexia, wounds, and oral diseases. It also exhibits antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-molluscicidal, insecticidal, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-mutagenic, and anti-ulcer activities.1, 2, 3 Leaves are antiseptic and astringent, and used for the treatment of eczema and epilepsy. Decoction is used as a mouthwash. Fruits are carminative, and used for the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, internal ulceration, and rheumatism. Powdered leaves are used in pulmonary disorders.4, 5, 6, 7
- Tuberoso, C. I. G., Rosa, A., Bifulco, E., Melis, M. P., Atzeri, A., Pirisi, F. M., & Dessì, M. A. (2010). Chemical composition and antioxidant activities of Myrtus communis berries extracts. Journal of Food Chemistry, 123(4), 1242–1251.
- Sumbul, S., Aftab Ahmad, M., Asif, M., & Akhtar, M. (2011). Myrtus communis – A review. Indian Journal of Natural Products and Resources, 2(4), 395–402.
- Ghnaya, A. Ben, Chograni, H., Messoud, C., & Boussaid, M. (2013). Plant Pathology & Microbiology Comparative Chemical Composition and Antibacterial Activities of Myrtus communis L . Essential Oils Isolated from Tunisian and Algerian Population. Jounal of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, 4(7).
- Rehman, M. (2006), A Pictorial Guide To The Medicinal Plants of Pakistan, p. 287, Kohat University of Science and Technology Publishers, Peshawar.
- Joshi, S. G. (2000), Medicinal plants, p. 292, Mohan Primlani Oxford & IBH Publishers Co. Pvt. Ltd., 66 Janpath, New Delhi 110001, India.
- Khare, C. P. (2012), Indian Medicinal Plants, p. 430-431, Springer Science Publishers, New Delhi-110058, India.
- Pullaiah, T. (2006), Encyclopedia of World Medicinal Plants, V. 3, p. 1392-1393, Regency Publishers, New Delhi, India.