Myrtus communis L.
Botanical Name: Myrtus communis L.
Species: M. communis
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
M. communis is native to southern Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. It is also distributed in South America, north western Himalaya, Australia, and in 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 M. communis are boiled and its water is used for taking bath for curing scabies and eczema. Ground paste of berries is applied at the back of the ear for the treatment of otitis externa in District Thatta (Sindh).
M. communis berries contain fibre, sugars, and phenolic compounds, such as 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 M. communis is used for the treatment of hypoglycemia, cough, constipation, anorexia, wounds, and oral diseases. It also exhibited antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antimolluscicidal, insecticidal, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antimutagenic, and antiulcer 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., and 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., and 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., and Boussaid, M. (2013). Plant Pathology and 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, Pakistan.
- 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.