Here’s a little tip for all you natural health enthusiasts out there wanting to make a difference: now may be the time to try a rose essential oil. Roses have always been great symbols of love and beauty, and the potency which nature created is readily available in pure rose oils. Rose essential oil is considered one of the most profoundly healing natural aromatics by leading aromatherapists. It has an incredible number of diverse and effective healing applications, it is easy to use, and its aroma is loved by nearly everyone.
The oil of the deep red “Rosa damascena” is considered the premier heart opening aromatic; can you think of something we need more of in this world? And even if you’re still just a little vain (just kidding!), rose is one of the most active essential oils in beauty care — it helps us love more and be more beautiful at the same time. Plus it’s anti-viral, antiseptic, and a stress-reliever too. What’s so special about rose oil? What is it, where do you get it and how do you use it? Let’s have a practical look at this profoundly useful therapeutic essential oil.
All pure rose oils are special for these extraordinary reasons: It takes an incredible amount of flowers to make even the tiniest amount of oil — on average, the yield of essential oil is 1-to-8000. For every 8000 pounds of flowers, 1 pound of oil is produced, thus being one of the most concentrated natural aromatics. Chemically, rose is one of the most complex essential oils, being made up of over 300 distinct natural constituents. This unique make up is the source of its great variety of therapeutic applications.
Two types of rose oils are commonly available: rose absolute, the less expensive of the two, is a liquid solvent extract. The absolute smells most like the flower, being produced under cool temperatures, leaving most of the natural constituents intact. The yield of absolute is relatively high, thus it is the somewhat less expensive variety. Rose otto is this steam distilled oil, and the true “essential oil” of rose. While the absolute retains the deep red color of the flower, the otto is clear or slightly pale yellow and has its own unique aroma. The scent of otto is brilliant and uplifting, with brilliant high notes and a subtle sweetness. The most famous of rose growing countries is Bulgaria, producing the most sought after varieties of each oil type. Rose otto is also produced in large quantities in Turkey, while the absolute is also commonly extracted from flowers grown in Morocco.
When looking at the oils’ therapeutic applications, it is important to take into account the entire mind body/complex — rather than divorcing the two which is so often done in modern medicine. Rose essential oil is very active on a physiological level, however it is when its action on the emotions and spirit are taken into account that rose really shines. otto is a strong antiviral, being used by many folks for its efficacy in treating herpes and shingles. Despite its potency, it is gentle enough for undiluted application to the skin for this use. Rose oils are also profoundly effective tonics for the female reproductive system; they are said to enhance fertility and bring about health for the uterus and ovaries. For these needs, a dilute formula of 3% rose oil can be massaged into the lower abdomen on a frequent basis.
Rose otto is found in many of the world’s finest skin care formulations. It is considered the hands-down finest therapeutic oil for dry and mature skin, with a great many healing properties. It is softening, hydrating, and gently stimulating to skin cell metabolism. It is mildly astringent and antiseptic without being drying, and can heal broken capillaries, reduce redness and smooth skin texture. Rose water, the left-over water from the steam distillation process, is an excellent all-around facial tonic, and can be splashed or swabbed-on after washing anytime.
While not the most common, certainly the most important therapeutic application of rose is as a healer of the Soul. The aromas of both the absolute and the otto are well-known antidepressants, an action that is not clearly defined by modern medicine. The olfactory sense is the one of the five senses directly hardwired to the brain, and here has a deeply rooted in effect on our overall well-being. Rose absolute can be worn as a natural perfume for this purpose, often diluted to 10% in jojoba oil and dabbed on the wrists and neck. The same can be done with the Otto, though it may be even more useful and small concentrations as an aromatherapy massage oil. In the esoteric medicine systems, inhalation and topical application of rose is thought to regulate the flow of Chi through the liver. This is of profound importance, as it is a blocked flow of this Chi that can lead to anger, irritation, and anxiety. And perhaps the greatest of all effects is the unfolding of the heart chakra, allowing us to be more open, loving, and receptive to one another, and to be comforted in tense times.
Employing the healing properties of rose oils is fun and easy to do. Both the otto and absolute are safe, and can be used undiluted whenever desired. They are both considered highly potent, and diluting them in a carrier oil will not reduce their efficacy however. A 5 to 10% dilution is most often used for personal perfume, a 1 to 3% dilution as a massage oil, and a 1 to 2% dilution and beauty care preparations. Either oil is excellent for use in even the simplest of aromatherapy diffusers, by themselves or blended with other aromatics of your choice. There are other aromatherapy methods of course, and you should use your intuition to guide you for the most appropriate technique.
Rose essential oil, and particularly rose otto has the potential to be very transformative. It may be that this revered symbol of beauty and love is now offering us its incredible health-giving effects in its most concentrated and portable form. One of the interesting aspects of our digital age is that while the planet is in peril, positive information and healing materials are available faster than ever. A bottle of rose originating in Bulgaria can be delivered almost anywhere on Earth virtually overnight. If rose oil sound right for you, it’s encouraged that you give it a try — every little bit one can do to open their hearts and bring out their light will make the world a better place for everyone.