Love roses? Hoping to get some for valentines day? In 2010, an estimated 198 million roses were produced for the Valentine’s Day holiday, according to the Society of American Florists. (1)
In the world of essential oils flowers are also used to create beautiful aromatic oils. Flowers represent new growth, are beautiful and colorful, and essential oils made from flowers are often used for emotional support and skin care. Flower oils are energetically useful for soothing the heart and mind. Flower oils and blends support friendship, love, and forgiveness
Rose (Rosa x damascena) essential oil is lovely and a favorite of many. Unfortunately given the fact it takes a HUGE amount of roses to produce the oil it is one of the most expensive to create. It takes a an estimated 30-50 roses PER DROP of rose oil produced! That's a lot of roses.
For aromatic use rose comes as an essential oil, an absolute, and a hydrosol. So what's the difference? The essential oil is distilled and is typically the most costly. Absolute is solvent extracted rather than distilled, and the hydrosol is the water portion of the distillation process.
Beside smelling lovely what are the therapeutic benefits of rose? The properties of the hydrosol, absolute, and essential oil differ slightly due to their chemistry but each is excellent for skin care and emotional support.
Rose essential oil is typically rich in the monoterpenols such as citronelleol and geraniol (2, 3) as well as nonadecane while the absolute has a high percentage of 2-phenylethanol and smaller amounts of citronelleol and geraniol. Geraniol has anti-microbial (4), anti-inflammatory (5), and antioxidant (6) activity and is cooling. Citronelleol is also anti-inflamatory and is shown to be anti-anxiety (7), a CNS depressant (8), hypotensive (9), anticonvulsant (10), and anti-fungal (11). Phenylethanol is found in extracts of rose, carnation, orange blossom, ylang-ylang and other flowers and is used in the flavor and fragrance industry and has anti-microbial properties. (12).
I could not find GC/MS data on Rose hydrosol but rose geranium hydrosol data shows that citronelleol and geraniol make up the bulk of the aromatic compounds present (the monoterpenols often appear in hydrosols due to their polar OH group) albeit in much lesser amounts than the concentrated essential oil. (13)
Distilled rose essential oil is costly -- to the tune of $218 per 5 ml. However a drop goes a long way. Rose essential oil is said to work amazing well for supporting those with anxiety and depression. It is especially know for its value in skin care and can be used for sleep issues, night sweats, and to help relive tension and agitation.
Rose absolute is also deeply skin nourishing and runs around $75 per 5 ml. It is said to help promote balance, soothe minor aches, and may assist in hormonal balancing. Energetically it can be used to soothe the heart and ease feelings of shock or grief.
Rose hydrosol is a delight. And many "rose waters" on the market may contain a bit of real rose hydrosol and a bunch of fillers. The real thing is worth getting. It is a has skin healing properties and is a wonderful toner for the skin. It is said to help balance hormones, promote well being, and is mildly antiseptic.
So how can one enjoy rose without breaking the bank? Often companies offer diluted versions of their expensive oils -- such as 10% rose in jojoba oil. You can also try co-distills. Rose is often co-distilled with geranium to produce a more cost effective oil with therapeutic properites of both plants (Rose-geranium co-distill is $32 per 5 ml). And rose hydrosol is a wonderful way to enjoy the benefits of rose for the skin and body that is very cost effective. The hydrosol runs in the ballpark of $20-25 per 100 ml for 100% pure (about 3.33 ounces) and can be sprayed daily on the face or body for benefits.
So if you're hoping for roses on valentines day remember perhaps you'll be surprised with a variation on the bouquet. If you have questions about rose or any other oils or products contact Tricia or schedule an appointment. Visit the online store to shop aromatherapy products and essential oils or set up a time to sample products.
1. Pro-flowers website, How many roses are sold on valentines day? accessed 2/8/18 from: https://www.proflowers.com/blog/how-many-roses-are-sold-valentines-day
2. Young and Tisserand (2014), Essential oil Safety 2nd edition
3. Aromatics international website GCMS data accessed 2/10/18: https://www.aromatics.com/products/all?search=rose
4. Sato K, Krist S, Buchbauer G (2007) Antimicrobial effect of vapours of geraniol, (R)-(-)-linalool, terpineol, gamma-terpinene and 1,8-cineole on airborne microbes using an airwasher. Flavour & Fragrance Journal 22:435-43
5. Ji P, Si M, Podnos Y, Imagawa DK (2002) Monoterpene geraniol prevents acute allograft rejection. Transplantation Proceedings 34:1418-1419
6.Tiwari M, Kakkar P (2009) Plant derived antioxidants - geraniol and camphene protect rat alveolar macrophages against t-BHP induced oxidative stress. Toxicology in Vitro 23:295-301
7. Umezu T, Ito H, Nagano K, Yamakoshi M, et al (2002) Anticonflict effects of rose oil and identification of its active constituents. Life Science 2(1):91-102
8. Aoshima H, Hamamoto K (1999) Potentiation of GABAA receptors expressed in Xenopus oocytes by perfume and phytoncid. Bioscience Biotechnology and Biochemistry 63(4):743-748.
9. Menezes IA, Barreto CM, Antoniolli AR, et al (2010) Hypotensive activity of terpenes found in essential oils. Zeitschrift fur Naturforschung C 65(9-10):562-566
10. de Sousa DP, Goncalves JC, Quintans-Junior L, et al (2006) Study of anticonvulsant effect of citronellol, a monoterpene alcohol, in rodents. Neuroscience Letters 401(3):231-235.
11. Viollon C, Chaumont JP (1994) Antifungal properties of essential oils and their main components upon Cryptococcus neoformans. Mycopathologia 128(3):151-153
12. Wikipedia accessed 2/10/18 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenethyl_alcohol
13. Harman, A. (2015) Harvest to Hydrosol, p.221 botANNicals, WA