Ladanum, obtained from Cistus creticus subsp. creticus in the eastern Mediterranean region, has a long history of use in folk medicine. In ancient times it was also used for embalming and aphrodisiac purposes.
Various classical writers mention its use as an emetic, for weak stomachs and livers, disorders of the spleen and diarrhoea. It has also been used for hair loss, scurvy, catarrh, asthma, stomach ulcers and cancer, as a protection against the plague and as a fumigant.
In Spain C. clusii is still used as an anti-inflammatory and antirheumatic drug and to improve blood circulation.
In Greece an extract from cistus is used for skin inflammation. In Turkey several species, especially C. laurifolius, are still widely used in folk medicine to treat a range of conditions.
Infusions of the leaves of various species have been recommended for colds and rheumatism.
NB. (Ladanum has no connection with laudanum!)