Botanist's Glossary

Cypress - Cupressus sempervirens

  • Description
    • The evergreen cypress (Cupressaceae family), which came from Asia Minor and Crete in ancient times, has spread mainly around the Mediterranean basin. It grows very straight and tall, and is associated with the landscape of Southern France. A cypress tree will often greet visitors at the entrance to a farmhouse in Provence. Cypress trees also watch over the souls at rest in cemeteries. A flame-shaped tree, the cypress is a symbol of both eternal life and eternal hope.
  • Traditions
    • In Greek medicine, cypress was used as an effective astringent, to stop hemorrhage and to treat coughs. Cypress has a very fragrant wood and was used in Roman perfumes. In modern phytotherapy, cypress is employed as a venous decongestant to treat varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and also to relieve menopausal symptoms.
  • Properties
    • Cypress essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the branches and leaves, and contains alpha-pinene. It has a strong resinous odor and a sweet flavor. It strengthens blood vessels and improves skin microcirculation. The essential oil also has antiseptic and regenerating properties.

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