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Myrtus communis

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The common myrtle - Myrtus communis, also called true myrtle, is widespread in the Mediterranean region and is commonly cultivated. The other species, Saharan myrtle M. nivellei, is restricted to the Tassili n'Ajjer mountains in southern Algeria and the Tibesti Mountains in Chad, where it occurs in small areas of sparse relict woodland near the centre of the Sahara Desert; it is listed as an endangered species. However, some botanists are not convinced that M. nivellei is sufficiently distinct to be treated as a separate species.
Myrtus (myrtle) is a genus of one or two species of flowering plants in the family Myrtaceae, native to southern Europe and north Africa. The plant is an evergreen shrub or small tree, growing to 5 m tall. The leaf is entire, 3–5 cm long, with a fragrant essential oil. The star-like flower has five petals and sepals, and numerous stamens. Petals usually are white. The fruit is a round berry containing several seeds, most commonly blue-black in colour. The flower is pollinated by insects, and the seeds are dispersed by birds that eat the berries.
Myrtle is cultivated as an ornamental garden shrub, particularly for its numerous flowers in late summer. It may be clipped to form a hedge.
It is used in the islands of Sardinia and Corsica to produce an aromatic liqueur called "Mirto" by macerating it in alcohol. Mirto is known as one of the most typical drinks of Sardinia and comes in two varieties: "Mirto Rosso" (red) produced by macerating the berries, and "Mirto Bianco" (white) produced from the less common yellow berries and sometimes the leaves.
Myrtle occupies a prominent place in the writings of Hippocrates, Pliny, Dioscorides, Galen, and the Arabian writers.

In several countries, particularly in Europe and China, there has been a tradition for prescribing this substance for sinus infections. A systematic review of herbal medicines used for the treatment of rhinosinusitis concluded that the evidence that any herbal medicines are beneficial in the treatment of rhinosinusitis is limited, and that for Myrtus there is insufficient data to verify the significance of clinical results.

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