The smell of a rose is one of those experiences that can ignite fond memories of young love and backyard gardens. But did you know that roses are more than a pretty smell? These beautiful flowers also hold incredible health boosting benefits! Rose essential oil has been used to treat health conditions and used in natural beauty treatments for thousands of years.
What is rose oil good for? Research and personal experiences tell us that rose oil can improve acne, balance hormones, relieve anxiety, improve depression, reduce rosacea and naturally increase libido. Traditionally, rose oil has been used for grief, nervous tension, coughs, wound healing and general skin health, allergies, headaches and as a general anti-inflammatory.
What Is Rose Essential Oil?
Where does rose essential oil come from? It most often comes from the damask rose (Rosa damascena) plant, but it can also come from the cabbage rose (Rosa centifolia) plant.
The oil is steam distilled from the flower petals. The oil distilled from damask roses is sometimes sold as Bulgarian rose oil or Bulgarian rose otto. Bulgaria and Turkey are the top producers of rose oil from the Rosa damascena plant.
Have you ever stopped to smell the roses? Well, the smell of rose oil will definitely remind you of that experience but even more enhanced. Rose essential oil has a very rich floral scent that is both sweet and slightly spicy at the same time.
Researchers have uncovered that rose essential oil contains several therapeutic compounds:
- Citronellol – effective mosquito repellant (also found in citronella).
- Citral – strong antimicrobial that is necessary for vitamin A synthesis (also found in lemon myrtle and lemongrass).
- Carvone – effective digestive aid (also found in caraway and dill).
- Citronellyl Acetate – responsible for the pleasant flavor and aroma of roses, which is why it’s in many skin and beauty products.
- Eugenol – also the powerhouse behind clove, the richest antioxidant in the world.
- Farnesol – natural pesticide (also found in orange blossom, jasmine and ylang-ylang).
- Methyl Eugenol – local antiseptic and anesthetic (also found in cinnamon and lemon balm).
- Nerol – sweet-smelling aromatic antibiotic compound (also found in lemongrass and hops).
- Phenyl Acetaldehyde – another sweet-smelling and aromatic compound (also found in chocolate).
- Phenyl Geraniol – natural form of geraniol, which is commonly in perfumes and fruit flavorings.
6 Rose Oil Benefits
1. Helps Depression and Anxiety
One of the top benefits of rose oil is definitely its mood-boosting abilities. As our ancestors battled situations where their mental status was dampened, or otherwise impaired, they would have been naturally drawn to the pleasant sights and smells of the flowers that surrounded them. For example, it is hard to take a whiff of a powerful rose and not smile.
The journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice recently published a study that set out to prove these types of natural reactions when rose aromatherapy is used on human subjects experiencing depression and/or anxiety. With a subject group of 28 postpartum women, the researchers separated them into two groups: one who would be treated with 15-minute aromatherapy sessions using an essential oil blend consisting of rose otto and lavender twice a week for four weeks, and a control group.
Their results were quite remarkable. The aromatherapy group experienced “significant improvements” greater than the control group on both the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7). So not only did the women experienced significant decrease in postnatal depression scores, they also reported marked improvement in general anxiety disorder.
2. Fights Acne
There are many qualities of rose essential oil that make it a great natural remedy for the skin. The antimicrobial and aromatherapy benefits alone are great reasons to put a few drops in your DIY lotions and creams.
In 2010, researchers published a study uncovering that rose essential oil exhibited one of the strongest bactericidal activities compared to 10 other oils. Along with thyme, lavender and cinnamon essentials oils, rose oil was able to completely destroy Propionibacterium acnes (the bacteria responsible for acne) after only five minutes of a 0.25 percent dilution!
It’s no surprise that rose oil typically makes the list of top anti-aging essential oils. Why can rose essential oil boost skin health and possibly slow down the aging process? There are several reasons.
First, it has potent anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, it contains antioxidants that fight off free radicals which encourage skin damage and skin aging. Free radicals can cause damage to skin tissue, which results in wrinkles, lines and dehydration.
4. Boosts Libido
Because it acts as an anti-anxiety agent, rose essential oil can greatly help men with sexual dysfunction related to performance anxiety and stress. It may also help to balance sex hormones, which can contribute to increased sex drive.
A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial published in 2015 looks at the effects of rose oil on 60 male patients with major depressive disorder experiencing sexual dysfunction as a result of taking conventional antidepressants known as serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
The results are quite impressive! The administration of R. damascena oil improved sexual dysfunction in the male patients. In addition, the symptoms of depression reduced as sexual dysfunction got better. (7)
5. Improves Dysmenorrhea (Painful Period)
A clinical study published in 2016 took a look at the effects of rose essential oil on women with primary dysmenorrhea. The medical definition of primary dysmenorrhea is cramping pain in the lower abdomen occurring just before or during menstruation, in the absence of other diseases being present such as endometriosis. (8)
The researchers divided 100 patients into two groups, a group that receives a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug and the other group also took the anti-inflammatory along with receiving aromatherapy that consisted of a two percent rose essential oil.
After 10 minutes, there were no significant differences between the two groups. After 30 minutes, the group that received rose aromatherapy reported less pain than the other group.
Overall, the researchers conclude, “The present study suggests that aromatherapy with rose essential oil, which is a nonpharmacologic treatment method, as an adjuvant to conventional treatment methods may be beneficial for pain relief in individuals with primary dysmenorrhea.” (9)
6. Incredible Natural Perfume
The fragrance industry commonly used rose oil to create perfumes and to scent a variety of cosmetic products. With its sweet floral yet slightly spicy scent, rose essential oil can be used all by itself as a natural perfume. It only takes a drop or two and you can avoid all the fragrances on the market today that are loaded with dangerous synthetic scents.
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