The Mediterranean Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) is a coniferous evergreen tree probably originating from Syria or Persia. It grows over a wide natural range in diverse environments and can live to an extra ordinary age.
The intense exploitation and the wars that have dominated the Mediterranean region have lead to the degradation of these natural forests, and today, only few natural populations exist in the region. In Crete, most of the still existing natural stands of the Mediterranean Cypress are found in the mountainous regions.
According to Greek mythology, Cyparissos was a young boy beloved to Apollo, the god of music, poetry, arts and healing. When the boy reached adulthood, Apollo gave him a tame deer as companion, according to Ovid. However, the boy accidentally killed the deer, which was asleep in the undergrowth. The sad boy asked Apollo to let his tears fall forever, and the god turned the boy into a tree, the cypress tree, Cyparissi in Greek, a tree whose resin forms tear-shaped drops, a tree that lives forever.
Cypress is a very ancient species, of an exceptional longevity. It is the symbol of immortality, serenity , stability and faith. Evaporated in an aroma lamp, used as a perfume or sniffed to from the bottle or a tissue, its fragrance helps us to cope with crises in life, especially of emotional and sentimental character.
The fragrance encourages us to rise above self-pity and despair. The astringent quality it has on our physical body shows itself spiritually as well: it keeps us together when we are falling apart. It is a good companion in times of nervousness and stress and spreads a calm and serene atmosphere in our lives and environments.
Cypress oil is very astringent and stimulates blood circulation, which makes it useful in the treatment of hemorrhoids and varicose veins. The former can be treated by daily washings (5 drops in 100ml of water), the latter with a dilution of 3-5ml/100g carrier oil, applied very gently with light strokes upwards, never press or massage directly on varicose areas. To enhance the effect, a cloth wrung in 100ml cold water, 10 drops of cypress oil added, can be wrapped around the legs and covered with a dry towel.
Rest the legs high and leave for half an hour or more twice a week. It is important to treat varicose veins when they first appear, to prevent the development to more serious conditions. In the same way cypress can be used to treat edemas. For stretched muscles and rheumatism use warm compresses instead..
Another oil to be helpful with bronchitis and coughs, especially of a spasmodic nature, it can be evaporated in aroma-lamps in bedrooms. We can also put a few drops on the pillow at night, or on a handkerchief to sniff regularly in this case.
Because of its medicinal as well as psychological properties it is an excellent companion during difficult menopause, reducing excessive sweating and hot flushes as well as balancing the state of mind. In these cases it can be used in an aroma lamp, in a body oil as above, or as a perfume.
The antiseptic and astringent qualities of cypress makes it a valuable ingredient in skin care products as well. It is especially recommended for oily and over hydrated skin and can be added to our daily cream as mentioned above, or to a skin tonic. We can make a simple astringent tonic by dissolving 3ml cypress oil in 25ml of clean alcohol and add 75 ml of distilled water to clean the face daily with a ball of cotton. The oil is also useful to treat acne and pimples and a classic ingredient in aftershaves and men’s toiletries. A good deodorant since it checks excessive sweating and has a very pleasant fragrance for man and women alike.