Shakespeare wrote: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” The fragrant and floral scent of rose transcends words. But, roses, or the resulting rose water (also sometimes called a rose hydrosol) or rose essential oil, derived from the stunningly beautiful flowers, offer more than a momentary blissful inhalation. Rose offers many health benefits too.
Most known for the soothing properties rose water and rose essential oil bring to skin care, rose offers support for dry, mature, inflamed or sensitive skin, but is beneficial for any type of skin. And, it is typically gentle enough for children’s skin as well. Of course, if you’re using pure essential oil you’ll need to dilute it in a carrier oil (at least 1 part essential oil to 10 parts carrier oil, but possibly more diluted if your skin is extremely sensitive or you’re using it with a child). Rose water is great to spritz on your skin throughout the day as a cooling, healing treatment. It can also replace a toner in a skincare regime.
Rose water and essential oil have been traditionally used for many years in the treatment of women’s hormonal imbalances, including for PMS, menopausal symptoms, regulating periods and even to improve reproductive health. Researchers put the PMS claims to the test and published their study results in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. They found that even just twice daily aromatherapy treatments lasting only 5 minutes for 5 days was sufficient to yield improvements in PMS symptoms. The researchers initiated the aromatherapy treatments starting mid-month during the women’s cycles to achieve the impressive results.
Research in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine found that rose as an adjunct to a dementia drug yielded improved cognition among those suffering from dementia. It may be too soon for people to start using rose products in the treatment of Alzheimer’s but incorporating rosewater and rose essential oil diffused for anyone suffering from memory problems certainly won’t hurt and may even help.
The same study also found that rose has anti-depressant effects that may be valuable in the treatment of depression.
Rose, along with violet and coriander, is a natural supplement used in Iranian traditional medicine. Researchers assessed the effectiveness of the traditional remedy in the treatment of migraines and found it was helpful for sufferers of the debilitating condition. That doesn’t mean you should start eating rose petals, which tend to be heavily sprayed with pesticides, to obtain the study results. A drop or two of rose essential oil is often used by aromatherapists on the soles of the feet or palms of the hands for the treatment of migraines. Diluted in a carrier oil the oil can also be used on the temples and the base of the skull for migraines.
Aromatherapists and practitioners of traditional medicine have been recommending rose for its alleged aphrodisiac properties. In the last few years, rose has been studied for its effects on sexual dysfunction in women in those suffering from depression. Published in the journal Pharmacopsychiatry, the researchers found that rose was highly effective at improving sexual desire, orgasms and satisfaction in women. The authors of the study cited a previous study that yielded similar effects in men.
Research explored in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine found that rose has anti-microbial properties, making it potentially valuable in the treatment of infections.
Because pure essential oil of rose is quite concentrated and costly, you’ll need to dilute it in a carrier oil like apricot kernel or sweet almond oil prior to use. You can use rose water directly on your skin. Always conduct a patch test with either rose essential oil or rose water and wait for 72 hours prior to using these products more extensively on your skin.
As Valerie Ann Worwood, aromatherapist and author of numerous books, wrote in Aromatherapy for the Soul, “To inhale rose is to inhale the love and kisses of angels.” Regardless your beliefs, I’m confident that rose and rose-related products offer healing to your body, mind and spirit.