The Properties of Rose Essential Oil
“An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it makes a better soup.”
~ H.L. Mencken, A Book of Burlesques
Roses are so frequently associated with idealism. We wear rose colored glasses when we want to avoid the truth. A rosy disposition is unreasonably cheerful. The idioms don’t originate with roses, of course – rose tinted glasses actually helped roosters not to fight! – yet there they are, circling back to this lovely flowering perennial family.
For those who practice natural medicine, roses are every bit as delightful and hopeful as they are depicted. Swedish chefs have added rose hips to soup as a centuries-old delicacy. Rose flower water has permeated culinary and folk medicine practice as long as we have had the ability to distill it – over a thousand years!
More than Just a Pretty Flower
The scent of roses evoke memories and emotions associated with young love and evening strolls through the garden. How many of us remember the first time we ate a rose? I do. It was awkward and I was uncertain – flowers are ornamental! Of course, you wouldn’t walk through a random garden (and certainly not a nursery or flower shop!) to pick a rose for dinner, but the organic, edible petals were pleasantly delicious. Why had I never done this before?
Later, rose essential oil hit my radar and I was fully hooked. You see, more than their beautiful blossoms and sweet smell, roses are a live-giving source of nutrients and healing.
Properties of Rose Oil
Distilled from Rosa damascene petals, rose essential oil carries a myriad of chemical compounds that bring wellness and healing to the body. Just some of the properties include:
Citronellol – Known for its contribution to citronella, its most popular feature is as an effective mosquito repellant.
Citral – Part of vitamin A synthesis, citral is found in lemon myrtle and lemongrass as well, and is a strong antimicrobial agent.
Carvone –Also found in dill and caraway, carvone acts as a digestive aid.
Citronellyl Acetate –This is where roses get their pleasant aroma, and is a key component of beauty products and fragrances.
Eugenol –Found most richly in clove, which is likely the most powerful antioxidant substance in existence.
Farnesol – A safe and natural pesticide, farnesol is found in ylang ylang, jasmine, and orange blossoms as well as rose essential oil.
Methyl Eugenol – A component of lemon balm and cinnamon, it has local antiseptic and anesthetic effects.
Nerol – Hops and lemongrass also boast this antibiotic with a gentle, sweet aroma.
Phenyl Acetaldehyde – Yet another sweet scent, this compound is shared with chocolate!
Phenyl Geraniol – Geraniol is often found in flavorings and perfumes, but this is the natural form.
With so many well-studied compounds contained in these delicate petals, it is little wonder that rose is so beneficial! Rosa damascena reportedly contains the most of these chemicals compared with other rose varieties, as well as a stronger fragrance.
Recommendation: Place a diffuser by your bed, and enjoy 5 drops each of lavender and rose essential oils before bed. Rest, and allow the therapeutic benefits to work as you sleep.