Rose is one of the more commonly known and most recognizable scents, yet it often doesn't come to mind for many people when they think of aromatherapy. Roses are a pretty universally known flower know to most as flowers of love, friendship, or sympathy. Each color has a different meaning, and there is a whole language behind them. But how can the scent of roses be beneficial?
There are actually several wonderful benefits to using rose in aromatherapy including reducing depression, stimulating digestion, promoting relaxation, boosting sex drive, and it is fantastic for your skin and hair. It is important to note that rose essential oil should not be used during pregnancy, but is safe for use during labor as a means to improve mood and create an uplifting environment in the delivery room.
Rose essential oil is often very expensive, and not always pure. Because of the high cost of production, and the amount of rose petals required to produce even a small amount, it is most common to find rose oil that is already mixed with a carrier oil. When selecting essential oils, always remember to avoid anything that says "fragrance" anywhere on the bottle, as this means it contains artificial fragrances. Some terminology you may come across with rose is rose otto, or rose absolute. Rose otto (or attar) is generally very expensive, and uses a steam distillation method. Rose absolute is derived from a solvent distillation method. Many aromatherapists feel that rose absolute is inferior, but it has been shown to have many of the same benefits, and is often a little easier for people on a budget. Luckily, although it is often already diluted in a carrier oil, it still produces a strong aroma meaning that a little bit goes a long way. You shouldn't need more than a drop or two for any given use.
Reduce depression and lift mood
One great benefit of rose oil is that it has the ability to improve mood. It has a lovely warm, comforting aroma that has the ability to calm nerves and promote relaxation and positivity. It has been shown to help reduce anxiety and stress, and promote feelings of self-esteem, confidence, love, hope, and joy. Rose can be used as a powerful aid to treatment for depression, and is especially helpful for women who are struggling with postpartum depression. To boost the effectiveness of rose for depression and mood, try blending with other oils such as lavender that have similar effects.
Wound healing and pain relief
Like many other essential oils, rose has natural healing properties. It has antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, and antispasmodic qualities. This means that it helps to kill viruses and bacteria, prevent infection, and reduce inflammation. For these reasons, it can be helpful when applied to cuts, scrapes, or any other area that is at risk for infection. Try creating your own wound healing blend by combining with other oils that have similar benefits such as lavender, tea tree, peppermint, clove, etc. For muscle strains or pulls, try massaging some rose oil directly on the sore area.
The anti-inflammatory response triggered by rose oil can help to not only ease muscle pain, it also reduces fever. In cases of high fever, rose can be used to decrease the inflammation or heat, thereby reducing the fever. Remember, if your fever gets to be in the range of 103+, seek medical attention, as brain damage can begin to occur around 104.
Digestive upset relief
Rose oil can be very helpful for anyone who has digestive trouble. It is especially helpful for inflammations in the digestive tract which may be caused by things such as bacteria, infection, parasites, or ingestion of poisonous substances. It can also help to soothe the digestive tract for those with chronic indigestion, ulcers, heartburn, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, gas, or bloating. Rose is great for the liver and can help with the production of bile, which is essential for proper digestive function. Rose oil is safe to ingest for most adults, but use with caution in children, and don't go overboard. A couple of drops on food or in drink, or in a gel capsule should be plenty. You can also drink tea made with rose petals to soothe the digestive tract. Rose can also act as a laxative, meaning that it can be helpful in relieving constipation.
Hormones and menstruation
As stated above, rose should not be used during pregnancy, but is safe for use during labor as it helps to trigger the release of hormones that can bring on menstruation or labor. Rose is especially helpful for women of all ages, as it can help to relieve nausea, bloating, and cramping associated with menstruation as well as pain associated with menopause. Due to its ability to trigger menstruation, rose is a good oil to use for women who have an irregular menses, and has been anecdotally shown to help delay menopause in some women due to its positive effects on the uterus and hormone production. It can also help with excessive bleeding or discharge from the uterus.
Improve sexual health and libido
It's no coincidence that roses are considered the flower of love. Roses are known to be an aphrodisiac which means that they help increase sex drive and arousal. It can help relieve symptoms of lowered libido, erectile dysfunction, and other sexual dysfunctions. Try applying a couple of drops to pulse points such as temples, wrists, or throat, or diffuse rose oil in the room. To boost its effects, try combining it with other aphrodisiac oils such as sandalwood, jasmine, and ylang ylang.
Skin and hair
If you are familiar with a variety of skin products, you may have noticed that rose is a common ingredient. This is because it is fantastic for the health of your skin and hair. Rose is an astringent which means that it has toning properties so it helps to tone and tighten skin. This can help to prevent premature hair loss, wrinkles, and even help tighten your gums to prevent loss of teeth. Rose also helps to treat marks on the skin. It is great for helping to fade scars, dark spots, stretch marks, and marks made after acne or boils. Try applying the essential oil topically (it is usually already diluted in a base oil), or add it to your favorite skin care products.
Rose can actually help to purify and remove toxins from your blood, which can help to prevent conditions that affect the skin, heart, and liver. It also has clotting properties which can help to prevent or stop hemorrhage. This is especially useful after a major surgery, injury, or childbirth. If you are hemorrhaging or loosing blood quickly, you can try rose oil as a means to slow it down, but do not use it as a replacement for medical care. Seek emergency medical care immediately.
Do you use rose oil? What is your favorite use or benefit? Leave your suggestions in the comments!
Meet the Author
Amanda Tarver, (LMT, CEIM, PES, RMT) is a massage therapist and birth worker in the Chicago area. She is dedicated to using a combination of bodywork and education to help people live a better quality of life.