The Damask rose has been used for centuries in perfume, religious ceremonies, to flavour and fragrance food, and even in some forms of medicine. Learn how rose water benefits your body and mind, and how you can incorporate it into your daily routine.February 05, 2021 1:32 pm February 04, 2019 4:57 pm
A symbol of beauty, happiness and love
The Damask rose (sometimes known as the rose of castile) is perhaps the most recognisable of all variants of rose flowers. It has the classic rose shape, with its petals are tightly coiled at the centre and blooming outwards into a beautiful flower.
It’s strange, then, to realise that the Damask rose is actually a hybrid of two other species: Rosa gallica and Rosa moschata. It doesn’t grow in the wild, but must be carefully cultivated – and indeed, people have been cultivating this particular rose for centuries. The story goes that the name ‘Damask rose’ comes from Robert de Brie, a French crusader, brought the rose back to Europe following the siege of Damascus. This seems like a fittingly epic journey for such an iconic flower, and indeed modern genetics have confirmed that the rose did originate in the Middle East.
Clearly, we’ve been in love with roses for a very long time. In fact, our love affair with them goes back much further than the crusades, and we’ve been associating them with beauty, happiness and love for just as long. In fact, it is said that the ancient Romans, who used rose petals to scent their wines, collected them with the goddess of love, Venus, herself.
The scent of rose petals
Aside from the beauty of the flower, we love roses for their unique, delicate fragrance.
The origins of using rose in fragrant waters or scents goes right back to ‘the cradle of humanity’. This term refers to the crescent-shaped region of land which nurses the furthest eastern reaches of the Mediterranean.
Many believe that rose water, or “hydrosol” of the rose, was first produced in modern day Iran. However, others argue that the fragrant oil and extracts come from ancient Greece. Officially speaking, the Persian physician Avicenna is credited with the invention of effectively extracting rose water from petals of the flower in the early part of the eleventh century.
Nevertheless, some scholars think that the distillation of roses for oil predates this. If so, rose water first found its way into the apothecaries of seventh century Greece before spreading into the provinces of the empire.
While rose water is made with rose petals, many people also made use of other parts of the plant, too. The fruit of the rose bush, called the rosehip, can be make into a thick, sweet syrup by boiling with water. Many believe that rosehips carry their own health benefits.
Rose water in Europe
During the crusades, Europe began to import distilled rose water. This provided a profitable source of trade for the Persians, who had been making and using it for some time. Ironically, the profits from the rose water trade helped the Persians to remain autonomous from the European invaders!
In Europe, diners at medieval banquets often used distilled rose water to wash and scent their hands. However, in other parts of the world, rose water was recognised as useful in medicine. In Egypt, Greece, China, and India, physicians saw the healing benefits of rose water and praised the plant for its remarkable properties.
Moving forward to the modern day, contemporary research seems to suggest that these physicians might have been on to something. Here are our top seven rose water health benefits.
"Rose water contains a high level of phenolic compounds, which studies have shown to have anti-inflammatory properties."(1)
1. Rose water soothes skin and eye soreness.
Rose water has a neutral pH 7 and so it is safe to use on any area of the body. It is perfect to hydrate, tone and soothe the skin.
Rose water contains a high amount of phenolic compounds, which studies have shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.(1) As a result, rose water may also help soothe irritation caused by various skin conditions, such as acne, eczema or rosacea.
It may also help to reduce eye irritation. Thanks to its powerful antiseptic properties, you can use rose water to help prevent and treat infections. For this reason, it is often included in natural medical treatments.
One study found that when researchers added rose water to eyedrops used to treat conjunctivitis, it helped to treat the infection. They thought that this was due to rose water’s antiseptic and analgesic properties.(4)
2. Rose water helps with indigestion.
Traditional medicine has used the hydrosol of the rose to treat occasional indigestion and constipation, as well as other gastric issues.
3. Rose water may sort out your sore throat.
When we’re suffering from a tickly cough, we often receive an antibiotic prescription from the doctor. Next time this happens, consider also using pure rose water.
Researchers have recently studied the antibacterial properties of rose water and rose oil at the Süleyman Demirel University in Turkey.(1) Although further medical research is needed to provide evidence to back this claim, there are strong anecdotal accounts of it working.
The Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences in 2011 also published a study which showed rose water to fight harmful microorganisms while also helping to ease coughing and throat irritation.(1)
4. Rose water may remedy menstrual pain.
Women have traditionally used rose water to treat menstrual pain.(3) Again, although further research is required, a study published in the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health found that drinking rose tea may help relieve dysmenorrhea and improve wellbeing in adolescent girls.
5. Rose water may help protect your body cells.
Rose water is full to the brim with nutrients. Both the oil and petal of the rose contain numerous powerful nutrients which act to protect cells from oxidative damage.
For instance, Mohammad Hossein Boskabady, et al in their study found that these antioxidants had potential lipid peroxidation inhibitory effects.(1) If you’re wondering what this means, basically, lipid peroxidation is a chain reactions which, once initiated, results in the breakdown of certain lipids in your body. The study suggests that rose water can help to prevent the chain reaction from starting by eliminating free radicals, which kick off the whole process.
This is good news for your cells, as lipid peroxidation can cause cell damage.
6. Rose water reduces scars from cuts and burns.
Wounds and scars often cause us great discomfort in how they make us feel and look. Because rose water has antiseptic and antibacterial properties, applying it may speed up the healing process. The antibacterial properties can also help cuts stay clean and fight off infection.
7. Rose water health benefits on your mood
Finally, rose water may hike up your happiness and help you destress. In aromatherapy, rose water and rose oil have long been used to relax patients, relieve headaches and calm nerves.
Its effect on normal blood pressure and regular relaxed breathing was observed and recorded in a study published by the US National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. It showed exposure to rose oil promoted these two states, both of which are closely associated with low stress levels. Each study participant who received rose oil described its effects as relaxing and calm-inducing.(2)
And, simply by looking at the results of this 2011 study, we can see that rose water may have an antidepressant and anti-anxiety effect on your mood.
How to use Erbology Rose Water
Inner beauty and roses go hand in hand. So, why not give your body and mind a relaxing rest with our rose water?
We steam distill rose water from petals of the most fertile, organic Damask roses. Our pure rose water has a neutral pH 7 and naturally contains 0.1% essential oil.
Not only can you soothe and hydrate your skin with our rose water, you can also drink it. Erbology Rose Water Shot comes in a convenient 40ml (1.4 fl oz) bottle. This means each shot naturally contains about a drop of rose oil, which makes it a perfect daily dose. Drink it in one go or add to water, tea, smoothie, salads or desserts. Alternatively, try our 250ml bottle of organic rose water (8.5 fl oz). It’s a perfect family size or weekly supply.
Rose water recipes
With its beautiful aroma, Erbology Rose Water will charm your senses, hydrate your skin and calm your body. For a perfect drink, simply dilute a few tablespoons or one Rose Water Shot in a glass of still or sparkling water. Our rose water is also a perfect ingredient for desserts and cocktails.
Want to impress your friends and family? Try our invigorating Passion fruit and rose water elixir recipe. It combines the sweetness of passion fruit and orange with the refreshing flavour of grapefruit and relaxing aroma of rose water. It’s ideal to serve over ice on a warm summer’s day.
Or, if you’re in the mood for making a dessert, try this wholesome Rose and raspberry vegan cheesecake recipe. To create the crust, we used nutritious hazelnuts and currants. As for the filling, we blended cashew nuts with virgin coconut oil, agave, raspberries and rose water. Simply delicious – and guilt-free!
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