Cistus incanus 101

Curious about Cistus incanus (Rock Rose) tea and extract? We’ll answer common questions about the Cistus plant.


Cistus Plant Frequently Asked Questions

We get a lot of questions about our tea from the Cistus plant, also known as Cistus incanus and Rock Rose. Here, we’ll answer many of them. If you have additional questions, reach out!

Do you sell Cistus incanus?

Yes! You can order Cistus incanus tea from our online store.

Will drinking Cistus incanus tea help me repel mosquitoes and ticks?

Regular Cistus incanus tea drinkers may suffer fewer mosquito bites and tick bites. (And many Cistus tea drinkers prefer a natural insect repellant to DEET.)

Does Cistus incanus offer immune support?

Cistus incanus offers significant and scientifically proven immune support and scientifically proven relief of cold and flu symptoms.

What are some of the other health benefits of the Cistus plant?

Traditional use of Cistus reaches back millennia. The Book of Genesis references the resin of the Cistus plant. Traditional uses include treating colds, coughs, rheumatism, and menstrual problems. In traditional herbal medicine, its leaves have been used to treat inflammation and skin diseases. It was used in ancient Greece as a wound healer and as a beauty product.

The therapeutic uses of Cistus are many. In Europe, the Cistus plant is widely used to fight germs, viruses, and fungi. It’s used externally to cleanse the skin and ameliorate eczema, acne, and psoriasis. You can create your own antidandruff shampoo by washing your hair with a large batch of the herbal tea. The tea can be used as a mouthwash. Its biofilm-busting activities reduce oral bacteria and leave your mouth feeling clean. Learn more here.

Does it matter where Cistus is sourced?

Yes. It’s important to source wild-flowering plants that grow in their native Mediterranean soil and climate. Terroir — land, sun, and rain — matters.

Plants growing in arid Mediterranean ecosystems endure multiple stressors and harsh conditions, such as drought, high sun exposure, and high temperatures. Mediterranean plants produce high levels of polyphenols to protect themselves against these stressors. Cistus incanus has the highest polyphenol content of any plant in Europe.

Cistus has also developed a symbiotic relationship with a root fungi. The fungi helps the root system absorb water and minerals from poor soils so the host plant can thrive.

Where in the Mediterranean is your Cistus incanus sourced?

Our Cistus is sourced from Crete, the largest of the Greek islands. Crete is the ancestral home of Cistus. Our Cistus is wild grown and responsibly collected from the mountainous regions of the island. The sun, soil, and weather of Crete produce a premium-quality Cistus. It’s naturally harvested from the buds, flowers, leaves, and stems. There are no chemicals used in its production — no pesticides, heavy metals, fertilizers, or herbicides.

Grown in its natural Mediterranean habitat and collected at the height of potency, our Cistus has the full spectrum of bioactives one can expect from high-quality Cistus.

How did you choose your Cistus plant supplier?

For each of the products we sell, company owner Michael Van der Linden and members of our team do substantial research and then visit the source and meet with both the collectors and processors personally.

The collectors and processors of our Cistus incanus know their plants and appreciate the difference between wild-grown herbs and greenhouse-cultivated crops. We back up our faith in our source and our processors with testing.

Does it matter if the Cistus plant is cultivated vs. wild grown?

Some production of Cistus, particularly greenhouse-grown Cistus and field-cultivated Cistus, lack certain flavonoids and phenolic acids. Wild grown Cistus is preferable, and we sell only wild grown, nature-crafted Cistus.

Does it matter when the Cistus plant is harvested?

Time of harvest matters. Our Cistus is spring harvested, which enables us to collect the plants when they are in bud. Spring is the best time to collect the leaves and aerial parts of the plant for maximum potency. Our experience is that winter-harvested Cistus, even from the exact same fields, tests lower in bioactives than spring-harvested Cistus.

How can I find a reputable source for the Cistus plant?

High-quality Cistus is in high demand and short supply. It can be difficult to identify a reputable, reliable source of Cistus tea. When looking at the quality of Cistus on the world market, key factors come into play. For example, what is marketed in Spain as Cistus incanus is actually Cistus populifolius. In Morocco, the souks often offer Cistus ladanifer. Sometimes the companies selling Cistus aren’t experts and don’t know the difference.

Our Cistus tea is cut and prepared to ensure the highest quality, most available polyphenol content. It offers better availability of phytonutrients and higher potency than the whole-leaf cuts many other suppliers sell. We also pay a premium for the raw material. Doing so allows us to secure a high-quality product and maintain our philosophy of supporting a non-violent economy.

Can I grow my own Cistus plant?

Sure. If you’re looking to grow plants for your own tea, know that not all varieties of Cistus incanus have the same bioactive profile, and not all growing conditions result in a potent tea. For example, Cistus incanus (rock rose) perennial evergreen used as ornamental drought tolerance plant can grow in Mediterranean, subtropic climates, temperate climates, and in hardiness zone 8-11. To get the most potent Cistus incanus, choose a supplier of Mediterranean Cistus — and choose that supplier wisely.

How do you brew Cistus incanus tea?

Using a 1 liter (or 1 quart) French press. Put 13 grams of Cistus incanus (roughly 1/3 cup) in the bottom of a large French press. Boil 1 liter of water (use filtered water with no mineral content), take the water off boil, and wait about 90 seconds.

Pour the water in the French press. The plant material will float. Put the top on the french press. Press the plunger just a bit so the material is all under water.

Let the tea steep for 25 minutes. When all of the plant material has sunk to the bottom of the press, press the plunger all the way down and have your first 8 to 10 ounce serving. Enjoy the rest throughout the day. (You can read more about brewing Cistus tea here.)

Shouldn’t I brew the tea three times? That’s what I was told.

The three-stage brew is a good process. The good news is that there’s an easier way to brew the tea. Simply follow the instructions above.

The main active phytoconstituents of Cistus are flavonoid phenolic compounds, including gallic acid, rutin, and other flavonol glycosides based on quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin. The diverse profile of phenolic substances provides strong antioxidant and other health benefits. The goal: maximize the tea’s flavinoid phenolic profile.

How long should I boil my Cistus tea?

We’re asked this question a lot. Please don’t boil your tea! Boil the water for your tea, then wait about a minute and a half before you use that water to brew your tea.

Can I make or warm my tea in the microwave?

Personally, we don’t like to make tea in a microwave. However, we run our company based on science, not on personal opinion. A survey of the scientific literature suggests that using a microwave will at worst present only a minimal loss of bioactive ingredients. So if making or warming your tea a microwave is convenient for you, go ahead.

What does Cistus tea taste like?

Cistus incanus makes a pleasant-tasting loose tea with a mild, floral flavor.

Does the Cistus plant have caffeine?

No.

What bioactives does Cistus contain?

It’s a long list. Here goes: Gallic acid, Gallocatechin-(4α-8)-gallocatechin , Gallocatechin-(4α-6)-gallocatechin1, Gallocatechin, catechin-(4α-8)-gallocatechin,Gallocatechin-(4α-8)-catechin, Procyanidin B, Epigallocatechin Catechin, Epicatechin, Myricetin-O-rhamnoside-O-hexoside, Myricetin-3-O-galactoside, Myricetin-3-O-glucoside, Myricetin-O-xyloside, Rutin Myricitrin, Quercetin-3-O-galactoside, Quercetin-O-xyloside, Quercitrin, Myricetin-O-rhamnoside-O-hexoside, Quercetin-O-rhamnoside-O-hexoside, 6″-O-(4-hydroxycinnamoyl)-astragalin, 6″-O-(4-hydroxycinnamoyl)-astragalin, Methylgallate, Gentisinic acid-O-glucoside, Uralenneoside, Hexahydroxydiphenoyl-glucose, Hexahydroxydiphenoyl-glucose, Ellagis acid-7-O-xyloside, Ellagic acid, Rosmarinic acid

Does the ratio of leaves to stems to seed pods in the Cistus plant matter?

Yes! Generally, the array of bioactive constituents matters less than the available levels of these bioactives. Providing a superior product involves knowing which parts of the plant and what ratio of these parts contribute to the final bioactive profile.

How much tea should I drink if I have cold and flu symptoms?

Cistus may offer significant immune support and relief of cold and flu symptoms. Studies show that Cistus has powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and biofilm-breaking qualities. That’s why it’s one of 6 super-botanicals included in our proprietary Immune Support Kit.

If you brew 13 grams of tea in a liter of water, you’ll get about 4 cups of tea. Cistus incanus herb is rich in bioflavonoids and polyphenols. Drink 3-4 cups a day. Tea made from Cistus can help ameliorate cold and flu symptoms in about 2 days after drinking the first cup.

Do you also sell Cistus incanus extract?

Yes. Cistus extract is included as one of 6 super-botanicals in our Immune Support Kit. Each day, mix 1 scoop of the herbal mixture into warm water, juice, or a smoothie. You can also mix 1 scoop of herbal mixture with 1 teaspoon honey, add the mixture to warm water, and drink it as a tea.

How much should I drink if I want to use it to repel insects?

Drink 2-4 cups a day of Cistus tea for at least a week in order to realize its natural insect repellent effects.

How can I be sure I make the perfect brew?

We’ve written a lot about how to make the best brew, but perfection matters less than you may think. On the whole, perfection can be the enemy of the good, especially if your goal is to optimize your health.

Over the long haul, it won’t matter if a brew here or there is less than perfect. Continued usage is far more helpful than any single serving. Most of the herbal bioactives will build to a level in the body after which excess is excreted within a few daily servings.

The upshot: If the brewing process is too complicated, then people will stop brewing. Relax and drink a good cup of Cistus. Don’t stress about the perfect brew.

How much Cistus tea should I make at a time?

Once you’ve made the tea, it’s best to consume it within 24 to 36 hours. Try to make just enough for one day’s use if possible.

What is the best way to store Cistus tea?

You can store it in a covered container in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. The bag that the Cistus arrives in is already re-sealable, waterproof, and light blocking. Just find a cool shelf to put it on.

Can I brew Cistus and Phyllanthus niruri together?

Yes, many people like to blend Cistus and Phyllanthus niruri in a single pot. Doing so will result in an effective brew of both. We like a 50/50 (by weight) blend, but you might want to experiment with different ratios.

Some people are strong adherents of the three brew method for Cistus. In this case, would recommend separate brewing, but it would be perfectly fine to combine the final brews. The reason for separate brewing is that a triple brew of Phyllanthus would over-express the tannin content, which could make the tea overly bitter and unbalance the flavonoid ratio of the extraction.

What is the best way to store Cistus tea once it is brewed?

You can store it on the counter in a covered container.

If you choose to store it in the refrigerator, be sure to shake or stir it before you drink it.

Is Cistus sardinia the same as Cistus incanus?

The Family Cistaceae (Genus Cistus) has about 25 species and 27 hybrid varieties. To the best of our knowledge, there is no botanically recognized species or hybrid species named Cistus sardinia. The Cistus plant that grows in Sardinia is Cistus incanus.

Can I drink Cistus tea all day? For multiple days?

Yes, it is safe to drink Cistus all day.

For long-term use, it is mildly anti-hyperglycemic. If you’re on high blood sugar medication, please consult a healthcare professional before drinking the tea for more than 30 days.

What if I have more questions about the Cistus plant?

Contact us!

Cistus incanus (rock rose) in bloom