The Rose has been an enduring symbol of love and beauty throughout history. The flower itself is beautifully complex, with deep hues, luxuriant petals, and an Absolutely wonderful aroma. This same beauty is found in the aromatic oils made from Rose flowers. Not only is the smell sweet, rich and distinctive, but it so happens that Rose oil has the most diverse healing applications of any essential oil used in aromatherapy today. The oil is considered a supreme healer of both the body and soul, and it is very easy to use with basic natural healing techniques.
Rose essential oil is becoming more popular, which is interesting at this time where its unique healing applications may be most needed the world over. True Rose oils are the number one choice for opening of the heart chakra, an opening that many individuals are seeking to inspire; this heart-opening action is evidence of the true symbol of love. Rose essential oil is a premier ingredient in the finest skin care products as well, revealing its potential to enhance beauty. Further, it’s an effective antiviral and antidepressant…All this in one tiny concentrated bottle. What makes Rose oil so special, and how can anyone (not just the natural health enthusiasts) make use of its abundant healing actions?
Rose essential oil is a remarkable liquid. It’s really an incredible concentration of Rose flowers: it takes an amazing amount of Roses to make just a few drops. On average, under the most favorable conditions, the yield of Rose oil is one kilogram for every 2,500 kilos of Roses. it can take more than four times this amount of Roses to make the same amount of oil if the weather has been less than favorable. Think of it — It can be hard to imagine even what 2,500 kilos (over 5,000 pounds) of Roses looks like! And the oil itself is naturally a mixture of over a three hundred individual molecules, many of which have yet to be identified through scientific methods. It is this fantastic combination of extreme concentration combined with Mother Nature’s alchemy which imparts Rose oil’s incredible healing value.
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’ the 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.
The most common therapeutic application may be for healing the skin, as Rose extracts are found in many of the world’s finest cosmetics. Rose Otto can reduce inflammation, heal capillaries, hydrate and soften, and act as it an effective astringent and antiseptic. Including a 1% concentration in any skincare formula can vastly improve its beauty enhancing ability. Rose water (‘leftover’ from the distillation process) is an excellent beauty care preparation unto itself. The water, called ‘Rose hydrosol’ is often used with a cotton ball as a cleansing tonic for the face.
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.
The essential oils of Rose are considered among the most transformative and aromatherapy, and effect which seems a natural evolution of Nature’s symbol of love and beauty. Mankind has developed the technological know-how to put the power of thousands upon thousands of Roses in one tiny bottle, and transport it around the world almost instantly. It is Nature however, who developed this fantastic medicine millennia ago. If you’d like a little more beauty and love in your life, you might consider giving Rose essential oils try.
Misty Rae Cech is a degreed naturopath, and a co-owner of The Ananda Apothecary. She strives to educate her clients and the public on the benefits of supporting one’s health naturally. More is available about Rose essential oil at Ananda Aromatherapy.
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