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.
How to Choose and Use Rose Essential Oil
You can find rose oil online or at a local health store. Why is rose essential oil so expensive? Pure rose essential oil is very pricey because it takes around 10,000 pounds of rose petals to distill just one pound of essential oil!
You’ll often see “rose absolute” sold in health food stores. This is a mix of rose absolute (solvent extracted) and a carrier oil like jojoba oil. This is a much more affordable option. However, it is not as potent and therapeutic. It’s also a concentrated form of the rose fragrance which is obtained through the use of chemical solvents rather than steam distillation or the more desirable method of CO2 extraction.
High quality rose oil is certainly pricey, but it is the best, most pure option and a little goes a long way so a small bottle can last an extremely long time.
How do you use rose essential oil? There are several main ways including:
- Aromatically: You can diffuse the oil in your home using a diffuser or inhale the oil directly. To make a natural room freshener, put a few drops of oil along with water into a spritz bottle.
- Topically: It has many skin benefits when used topically and it can be used undiluted. However, it’s always a good idea to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba in a 1:1 ratio before applying it topically. After diluting the oil, perform a small patch test first before using the oil on larger areas. Once you know you that you don’t have a negative reaction then you can add a few drops of essential oil to a face serum, warm bath, lotion or body wash. If you’re using rose absolute, there is no need for dilution because it is already diluted.
More specific ways to use rose oil for various health benefits:
- Depression and anxiety: Combine rose oil with lavender oil and diffuse it, or apply 1 to 2 drops topically to your wrists and the back of your neck.
- Acne: If you suffer from acne, try dabbing one drop of pure rose essential oil on blemishes three times a day. Make sure you use a sterile cotton swab; if the antimicrobial power is too much for you, dilute it slightly with some coconut oil.
- Libido: Diffuse it, or apply 2 to 3 drops topically to your neck and chest. Combine rose oil with a carrier oil like jojoba, coconut or olive for a libido-boosting therapeutic massage.
- PMS: Diffuse it, or apply it diluted with a carrier oil topically to your abdomen.
- Skin health: Apply it topically or add to face wash, body wash or lotion.
- Fragrant natural perfume: Simply dab 1 to 2 drops behind your ears or on your wrists.
If you’re looking to use rose oil in homemade products, it’s help to know that is blends well with bergamot, chamomile, clary sage, fennel, geranium, helichrysum, lavender, lemon, neroli, patchouli, sandalwood, and ylang ylang. To learn more about how to use essential oils, check out this free, in-depth, essential oils guide.
Precautions for Rose Essential Oil
Can you ingest rose essential oil? No, this oil is not recommended for internal use.
Never use any essential oils too close to mucus membranes like your eyes. If you have sensitive skin, always dilute rose essential oil with a carrier oil and perform a patch test before topical use.
Always keep essential oils out of the reach of children and pets.
- Rose essential oil typically comes from the damask rose (Rosa damascena) plant and it takes around 10,000 rose petals to make one pound of oil, which is why it’s one of the more expensive essential oils.
- Rose essential oil benefits include:
- Mood improver, specifically for anxiety and depression
- Libido booster
- Can fight acne and boost skin health with potential anti-aging benefits
- Offers relief for painful periods in women
- Use as a natural perfume that is free of health hazardous synthetic scents
- How to use rose essential oil: You can diffuse it in the air to benefit from its wonderful floral scent or you can use it topically on your body.
- The best rose essential oil 100 percent pure, certified organic and therapeutic grade. It is pricey, but a little goes a long way so a small bottle can last an extremely long time.