The rose is synonymous with love and romance, but did you know that each colour represents something different? Red for love, yellow for friendship, white for purity and innocence, and pink for joy. Therefore, it’s possible to convey a message without any words, which is why the rose symbolises confidentiality. The rose is often associated with Prophet Muhammad and the Virgin Mary and is appropriately referred to as the “flower of Heaven”. The Greeks and Romans associated roses with Venus and Aphrodite, and thus it was a symbol of love and passion. Queen Cleopatra is even said to have tried to impress Marcus Antonius by laying rose petals in his path. Often considered the most beautiful flower in the garden, the rose is appropriately nicknamed the “Queen of the garden”, esteemed by artists and poets alike. In fact it was the Greek poet Sappho who first called the rose “the Queen of Flowers” in her verses (600 BC). Rose is also the birth flower for June.
Rose Origin & Characteristics
Rose is the common name given to the species of the Rosaceae family, a thorny flowering shrub or vine. The earliest records show that roses were known to humans over 5000 years ago, but fossils indicate that they have existed for at least 40 million years. Over the years roses were ostentatiously grown for their beauty, both in the garden and as a cut flower, and the new hybrids created lost their scent in the quest for the most beautiful flower. There was a resurgence in demand for scented flowers and new hybrids were created but with a multitude of different aromas including fruity, tea, vanilla and musk. Rosa damascena, commonly known as Damask Rose, is one of the most important species of rose and is an “old rose”, retaining the original intoxicating and iconic rose scent, and more importantly the therapeutic properties. Sweet, floral and romantic, the aroma is exactly as Mother Nature intended it to be, and is the basis for the essential oils and rose waters used in scents and food flavourings. It is a natural hybrid of the varieties rosa gallica and rosa moschata, and is believed to have originated from the Middle East, although nowadays it is cultivated and can no longer be found growing wild. Rosa damascena is a deciduous shrub, growing up to 2 meters tall with an informal shape, and produces groups of pink to light red flowers. Oil and rose water has been extracted from the damask rose since the 7th century in Persia. The rose oil was produced through a single distillation process, producing minuscule amounts of oil, but since the 17th century a double distillation process began, producing high quality oil, although still in small amounts. Harvesting of the rose petals is very labour intensive and produces a very low yield of oil, a ratio of 1:3000. The harvest needs to begin very early in the morning and stop by approximately 10:00AM as the petals in the afternoon can have 50% less oil concentrate. Due to the delicacy of the petals, the distillation process must also begin the same day. The extremely low oil content and lack of a natural and synthetic substitute, has made rose oil one of the most precious and expensive essential oils in the world markets, therefore it is known as “liquid gold” or “queen of all oils”.
Rose Oil & Benefits
Rose oil is packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. The major essential oil components are β-phenylethanol, citronellol, heneicosane and geraniol. The therapeutic properties were known in ancient times and included the treatment of chest and abdominal pain, menstrual bleeding, digestive problems, plus for strengthening the heart and reducing inflammation. It was mentioned by the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD), the Greek physician and botanist Dioscorides (40-90 AD), the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479 BC), and much used within traditional Ayurvedic healing methods in India. New hybrid varieties may not retain the same therapeutic properties as the “old rose”. Today rose oil is known to naturally treat a number of ailments, including depression, anxiety, menstrual cramps, menopause symptoms, headaches and more, in addition to relieving aches and pains, stimulating the circulation, enhancing libido, mood, memory and sleep and has huge benefits to hair and skin.
Rose Oil for the Skin
The vast array of essential nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants, combined with the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties within rose oil make it an invaluable aid to skincare. It relieves skin irritations, helps with conditions such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis, rehydrates dry skin, clears acne, and reduces signs of ageing. It is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive. The oil, which must be diluted with a carrier oil, for instance coconut, jojoba or almond oil, will help to maintain the skin’s natural pH balance, as well as control excess oil. It also enhances blood circulation and increases the skin’s permeability, ensuring that more healthy nutrients may be absorbed and, along with the vitamin A and antioxidants, strengthens and stimulates skin cells, promoting collagen production and skin regeneration in the case of damaged skin. Rose oil is a great cleanser and astringent and will remove excess oil and dirt, effectively clearing blocked pores and toning the skin. Whatsmore, a study in 2010 confirmed that rose oil is one of the most potent antibacterial essential oils, and an application of 0.25% diluted oil destroyed the acne causing bacteria “propionibacterium acnes” within 5 minutes. Oily skin is also effectively moisturised by the gentle moisturizing properties, therefore sending a signal to the skin that further sebum is not required. Redness, inflammation and other skin damage relating to acne, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis or erythema will be gently soothed. Dry skin will be rehydrated and mature skin will become visibly smoother, with fine lines and wrinkles diminishing. Overall the increased blood circulation will add a healthy glow to the skin.
Rose Oil for Treating Wounds, Scars and Stretch Marks
Due to the antibacterial and healing properties, rose oil can help to heal small cuts and abrasions, and as such is also extremely beneficial as an aftershave treatment. With its skin regenerating capabilities it is able to reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Additionally it can help to remove dark circles under the eyes, brightening the whole appearance.
Rose Oil for Rheumatism, Arthritis and Gout
The strong anti-inflammatory properties make this oil an excellent aid for conditions such as rheumatism, arthritis and gout. As a natural analgesic, together with its ability to boost blood circulation, it may be applied topically, or better still by massage, to relieve symptoms such as swelling and pain.
Rose Oil for Pain Relief
Researchers believe that rose oil may stimulate the brain to release endorphins which are also known as “feel-good” hormones, and can help with pain. In a test study, a group of postoperative children were given either rose or almond oil to inhale. Those inhaling rose all reported a significant decrease in pain. Rose oil can be added to a soothing massage or warm bath water as a particularly effective remedy for muscle cramps and headaches. Furthermore, another study conducted in 2013 on women suffering from menstrual pain, concluded that the women who massaged the abdomen with a carrier oil and rose oil (as opposed to just the carrier oil) reported less pain following the massage. A further study indicated that women can greatly benefit from inhalation during childbirth.
Rose Oil for the Hair
Just like the skin, the hair can benefit from the nutrients within rose oil, keeping it strong and healthy. A scalp massage will help to alleviate any scalp dryness or oiliness, as well as nourishing the hair from the follicle, and helping to unblock follicles which could otherwise result in hair fall or loss. Use once a week as a hair mask (with a carrier oil) or simply add a few drops to your regular hair products to reap the benefits. As an extremely light oil, and since only a few drops are required, it will not weigh the hair down when added to other products and used daily.
How to Use Rose Essential Oil
Learn how to reap the benefits from this amazing oil, by either diffusing or applying topically. Note that any essential oil should never be applied directly to the skin due to the high concentration and must be diluted with a carrier oil.
For skincare: Dilute with a carrier oil (such as jojoba, coconut or almond) and apply to the affected area. You can also add a couple of drops to your regular skin care product. Or add a few drops to a bowl of hot water and have a steam facial.
For wounds, scars and stretch marks: Dilute with a carrier oil (such as jojoba, coconut or almond) and massage into the affected area.
For rheumatism, arthritis and gout: Add a few drops of the oil to a hot bath, and allow the analgesic properties to soothe away aches and pains. Add a few drops to a carrier oil (such as jojoba, coconut, almond or olive) and massage gently into the affected area. Add a few drops to a vaporiser for relaxation and analgesic relief.
To provide pain relief: Add a few drops of the oil to a hot bath, and allow the analgesic properties to soothe away aches and pains. Add a few drops to a carrier oil (such as jojoba, coconut, almond or olive) and massage gently into the affected area. Add a few drops to a vaporiser or diffuser to relieve headache or migraine, or make a compress with the oil and carrier oil and apply to the forehead.
For hair: Massage into the scalp with a carrier oil for a once a week treatment, leave for 15 minutes and shampoo out, or wrap hair in a towel and leave overnight before shampooing out. Add a few drops to your regular shampoo, conditioner and hair products.
Rose Oil & Aromatherapy
Rose oil is extremely calming, soothing, balancing and calming. It eliminates stress, nerves and mental fatigue. It promotes self-confidence and boosts the mood. A natural antidepressant.
Rose Oil for Depression
Rose oil is a powerful mood booster, boosting self-esteem, balancing the emotions, relieving stress and anxiety and evoking a sense of calm and relaxation. Studies have shown that rose oil decreases the level of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood. Furthermore it stimulates the release of a chemical called dopamine which is believed to be pivotal in reducing the symptoms of depression. Many studies have taken place and all have ascertained that rose oil makes the recipient feel more calm and relaxed, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, cortisol levels, breathing rates and blood oxygen levels. Since the oil is rapidly absorbed into the skin, and the benefits subsequently released, it is recommended for the treatment of severe depression that the rose oil is applied through massage rather than inhalation. Rose oil can also be used to counteract any postnatal depression.
How to use: Add a few drops of the oil to a hot bath, and allow the aroma to ease away depression. Add a few drops to a carrier oil (such as jojoba, coconut, almond or olive) and gently massage into the skin. Add a few drops to a vaporiser for relaxation. Alternatively, dilute with a carrier oil and put some on your wrists.
Rose Oil for Sleep
Adding a few drops to your pillow or sheets can enhance a relaxing night’s sleep by removing stress and anxiety and invoking calmness. A small study, which involved patients in a coronary care unit, indicated that those who received rose oil aromatherapy plus the routine care had a better quality of sleep than those who received the routine care only.
How to use: Add a few drops of the oil to a hot bath shortly before bed, and allow the aroma to ease away tension. Or add a few drops to a bowl of hot water and gently inhale. Add a drop to your pillow or sheets.
Rose Oil to Enhance Libido
The invigorating scent of rose is an aphrodisiac in itself. Add that to the anxiety reducing properties, that it increases blood circulation, and its ability to balance sex hormones, and you’ve found a potent aid to reduce sexual dysfunctions including frigidity and erectile dysfunctions. Two studies indicated that inhaling the aroma increased sexual satisfaction and desire. A further study confirmed that it significantly improved sexual function in women undergoing the menopause.
How to use: Add a few drops to your vaporiser or diffuser. Add a few drops to a carrier oil (such as jojoba, coconut, almond or olive) and gently massage into the skin.
Rose Oil for the Menopause
Research has indicated that rose oil may be effective in helping to balance the hormones during the menopause, alleviating symptoms such as mood swings, anxiety, night sweats, hot flushes, low libido and pain.
How to use: Add a few drops of the oil to a hot bath, and allow the analgesic properties to soothe away aches and pains. Add a few drops to a carrier oil (such as jojoba, coconut, almond or olive) and gently massage into the skin. Add a few drops to a vaporiser for relaxation and analgesic relief.