Three Whole Body Uses of Rosa Damascena


“What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”
The sweet, intoxicating scent of a true rose continues its popular lure after 35 million years of its existence, according to fossil evidence.(1) Roses are hailed for many reasons...beauty, its variant beneficial properties, flavor, and the glorious scent. It is globally known as the symbol of love! Though some may not embrace the scent of rose quite as heartily as others, there are three whole-body ways you can use this exquisite plant, but first a little history lesson!

History of Rose

Although the genus Rosa has approximately 150 species throughout the Northern Hemisphere Rosa Damascena, the Damask Rose, is one of the most popular types of roses used as an ingredient in beauty care. The Damask Rose is mainly cultivated in Iran for the purposes of perfumery and rose water, but has uses and applications beyond these. They have been studied for medicinal purposes and is consumed as food in some cultures. Because the Rose has very low oil content, an exorbitant amount of roses must be used to produce a certain amount of rose oil. It is said 60,000 roses are used to produce just an ounce of oil.(4) Coupled with the lack of natural substitutes, rose essential oil is among the most expensive essential oils in the world.(2)


Beneficial Properties of Roses 


While the energetic qualities of roses are cooling and drying, they boast of multiple properties with whole body uses. They are:
  • Astringent
  • Analgesic (Pain Relieving)
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Microbial
  • Nervine
  • Anti-Aging
The petals, leaves, and fruit (rose hips) are all used in whole body applications. You can find roses in these products in your local health food store or an online co-op:
  • Rosewater (Rose petals steeped as tea or infused in water)
  • Rose Hydrosol (distillation of rose petals)
  • Dried and/or powdered Rose Hips
  • Dried petals/Flowers
  • Rose Essential Oil

Roses as Food

Rose hips and petals are the most common way to consume roses. Rose hips are very high in vitamin C and bioflavonoids. The petals have a lower vitamin C content compared to its fruit, Rose Hips. Rose hips are located at the base of the rose, just behind the bud. Rose Hips can be added to salads, yogurt and the petals/buds steeped as teas. The hips can be jellied into a condiment to add pizzazz to your sandwiches. Other foods to make with rose hips can be pies, puddings, desserts, trail mixes and much more to the extent of your imagination! Rosewater is a popular drink in the middle east and can be drunk as a way to cool down in hot weather seasons. Rosewater can be added to ice creams, gelatos, and even yogurts. The combo of dairy and rosewater is said to be a match made in heaven!

Rose as a Medicinal Support

Roses are more than just a pretty face, they have numerous medicinal benefits found in history and cultures across the globe. Human in vivo studies of roses has shown them to have a positive effect on heart health with internal and external uses. Roses are known to “gladden” the heart.
“In one study people were given 40 grams of rose hip powder daily for six weeks. At the end of the six weeks, there was a significant improvement in blood pressure and plasma cholesterol in the people taking the rose hip powder as compared with the control group.” (3)
An analgesic effect has also been found in the compound of roses. Suggesting the flavonoids in the roses are responsible for pain-relieving results.(2) The oil, absolute and hydrosol have shown a wide range of antimicrobial effects.(2) Studies on the extracts of R. Damascena have also shown a hypnotic effect (sleep-inducing) on the nervous system.(2) Additionally, it is said to have beneficial effects on neuritic atrophy (Dementia). Other medical benefits include:
  • Anticonvulsant activity
  • Anti-HIV activity
  • Anti-Diabetic effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory benefits
  • Ophthalmic benefits
Overall the medicinal functions of the rose are partly contributed to their abundance of phenolics compound. Phenolics are synthesized by plants and play important roles in plant development and plant defense.(5)

Roses in Skin Care

It’s astringent and antioxidant activities makes roses very popular as a skin care ingredient. Roses can be a wonderful aid in healing wounds. Anti-aging effects are said to be the result of rich antioxidant activity that combats free radicals; the cause of oxidative stress. They can tone and calm inflamed skin. Even more impressive, a study of R. Damascena Hydrosol was found to be effective inhibiting skin inflammations caused by infections of MRSA and Candida Albicans. “Rosewater inhibited mycelial growth of C. Albicans at a concentration of ca. 2.2%, and reduced viability of MRSA within 1 h.”(6)

Making Rose Tea

You can make your own cup of Rose tea to enjoy the many whole body application of this delicate, romantic flower. You’ll need… 1 cup of fresh R. Damascena Rose petals/buds or ½ cup of dried petals/buds 2.5 cups of distilled or clean water Honey to taste.

Directions

Bring water to a boil in a non-reactive pot. Once it boils, turn off the pot and remove from heat. Add the petals/rosebuds and stir gently. Place a lid on the pot and let it steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and add honey. Here’s a tip - The lid is important to prevent water-soluble vitamins from escaping with the steam. While the lid may seem unnecessary, it is an important part of steeping! Finally, only purchase petals and buds from reputable sources. Do not use petals and buds from a flower shop, they will most certainly be sprayed with chemicals. One eco-friendly, online herbal company you can source petals from is; Mountain Rose Herbs. As you now see, roses are truly extravagant in every way! You can use them to benefit your skin, consume them as food and try them in a medicinal capacity. Which whole body use of Rosa Damascena appeals to you the most?


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Disclaimer: This article is written and presented in an informative manner and has not been reviewed or evaluated by the FDA and should be not be used to diagnose, cure or treat any diseases. Please talk to your doctor before making any dietary changes. 

Article Sources:

1 - University of Illinois; History of Roses - https://extension.illinois.edu/roses/history.cfm
2 - NCBI; The Pharmacological Effects of Rosa Damascena - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3586833/
3 - Rosalee De La Foret; Alchemy of Herbs; Hay House, Inc., New York City, NY; 2017 4 - Vegetarian-Nutrition; Rose Hips. Medicine for Heart and Body - https://vegetarian-nutrition.info/rose-hips/
5 - Molecular Plant Pathology - The Roles of Plant Phenolics in Defense and Communication - http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1364-3703.2010.00625.x/epdf?r3_referer=wol&tracking_action=preview_click&show_checkout=1&purchase_referrer=www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov&purchase_site_license=LICENSE_DENIED
6 - Green Med Info - Rose Water Has a Potential Effect to Inhibit Skin Inflammation Caused By Microbes - http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/rose-water-has-potential-effect-inhibit-skin-inflammation-caused-microbes

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