Myrtle is a child of the Eastern Mediterranean, an evergreen. Dark leaf myrtle is very beautiful. It has dense, shiny, oblong leaves with short petioles. If a piece of myrtle is rubbed, then you will smell a pleasant smell. At the time of flowering, myrtle is covered with small pinkish or white flowers, which in combination with dark green polished leaves look fabulous. The fruits of the myrtle ripen in December. Round or oval dark blue myrtle berries have a pleasant wine taste. And the seeds taste like cinnamon and are used as seasoning. Inside the myrtle, there are usually 10 to 15 seeds. In all parts of the myrtle, there are many essential oils, which is why myrtle has long been used in perfumery, folk medicine and for incense to the gods.
© Forest & Kim Starr
Myrtle was considered the property of the gods, they were planted with sacred sites of temples and palaces of kings. And to this day, myrtle groves adorn the lower part of the Antioch valley. The ancient Jews, having come to the promised land, surrounded the myrtle with religious veneration. They decorated with myrtle branches during the holidays of the Tabernacle of the Testament. Marriages of ancient Jews were held together by marriages: the bride was fumigated with myrtle smoke, and the groom handed her a flowering twig of myrtle. The myrtle and the ancient Greeks were revered; the myrtle was also a sacred tree among the ancient settlers of the Apennine Peninsula. Statues of Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love, were carved from myrtle wood. The wonderful smell and beauty of the myrtle corresponded to the idea of this captivating goddess. Sometimes hopelessly in love loomed their offense Aphrodite on the myrtle, they pierced the leaves of the myrtle tree. During the Renaissance, myrtle was also very popular and was a symbol of love and a happy marriage. A myrtle branch, a wreath of leaves and flowers was considered a symbol of peace, silence and pleasure.
© Giancarlo Dessì
Myrtle weather came to Russia in the 18-19 centuries. Myrtle was a symbol of mutual love. The healing properties of myrtle were especially often used in the Middle Ages. Avicenna described in great detail the healing properties of the myrtle tree. Myrtle leaves contain resins, tannins and protein substances. For diseases of the brain, liver, gastrointestinal diseases, bronchitis, pulmonary tuberculosis, tonsillitis, a decoction of myrtle leaves is useful. The broth is both a diuretic and an antiseptic and has a tonic effect. With pustular diseases, wounds and burns, lotions are made from myrtle. With fractures, so that bones grow together faster, lotions from the infusion of myrtle help. If you wash your hair with a decoction of the berries of the myrtle tree, the hair roots are strengthened, dandruff disappears, the hair becomes shiny and elastic. The bactericidal properties of myrtle allow it to be used in the treatment of female diseases. Fruits, young shoots and leaves of myrtle are used in cooking, spices from them will give a wonderful aroma to fish dishes and beef dishes. Leaves of myrtle can replace the bay leaf. Myrtle is grown in the Crimea, in Azerbaijan, Cyprus, the North Caucasus and in Asia Minor.
© H. Zell
Myrtle is propagated by seeds and cuttings. Myrtle can be grown at home. In the Baltics, the tradition to grow myrtle in a room has been preserved, so that later on, from its branches to make a wreath for the bride. The incomparable aroma of this beautiful tree pleases our sense of smell for centuries, and no matter where the myrtle grows - in sunny Cyprus or in a flower pot.