A rose to the living is more than sumptuous wreaths to the dead.
~ Nixon Waterman
Lately I have been completely overtaken by a desire to use Rose essential oil on my skin on a daily basis. I had already been adding rose water to my refreshing skin spray (borax and filtered water) for many months, but I finally gave in to taking the next step up to regular use of the essential oil. You may be thinking, “Isn’t using Rose oil so frequently an expensive and decadent habit?”. Not if you are using only a tiny amount of Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade oil for its many benefits. My husband is a lover of both live and cut flowers, and he would consider the gift of a dozen long-stem roses to be his royal delight. We both agree on the extravagant beauty of the aroma, but I usually focus on the therapeutic properties of the distilled oil (and buying flowers for Johnny). Join me today to learn more about what this Queen of oils has to offer for us all.
ROSES IN LOVE, FAITH, AND WAR
There is anecdotal evidence that Cleopatra wore rose oil when she met Marc Antony for the first time, to attract him and to open his heart to her. Certainly rose petals have been strewn in the path of many women on their way to the altar and to the marriage bed.
The rose has been a powerful religious symbol for thousands of years. Associated with the Greek and Roman goddesses of love, rose imagery passed into Greek versions of the Old Testament. From there it was adopted into the language and liturgy of the early church and became closely associated with the veneration of Jesus Christ’s mother, Mary. It is also part of Indian, Persian and Islamic traditions and is associated with symbols of love, secrecy and death.
Greek and Roman Religions
The rose was sacred to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, and to her Roman equivalent, Venus. It represented beauty, springtime and love. Because it also suggested the swift passage of life and the mystery of constant creation, the rose became associated with death and secrecy. The Rosalia was a Roman feast of the dead. The Roman custom of hanging a red rose overhead in confidential meetings is remembered in the plaster ceiling roses that still decorate council halls and formal dining rooms all over Europe, and anywhere touched by European architectural style.
The rose of the supreme goddess Venus transferred to Mary in Christian tradition. According to Ambrose, a third-century saint, the roses in the Garden of Eden grew thorns only after man’s fall from grace, as a reminder of human sin and guilt. When the Virgin Mary was exalted as the Queen of Heaven and as a second Eve, the paragon of innocence and love, she was linked with the emblem of a thornless rose and the title “rosa mystica.”
Rose imagery proliferated from the 12th century with the spread of veneration of Mary. Stained-glass rose windows adorned the Gothic cathedrals built at this time. In the 13th century, Saint Dominic established the rosary as a series of prayers to the Virgin, symbolized by garlands of roses in heaven and beads on earth. Thus, the rosary and Mary’s rose came to symbolize union between God and mankind.
Medieval art often depicts Mary in an enclosed rose garden, variously representing a bridal chamber, the Immaculate Conception or the Garden of Eden. With the rose garden, the secular imagery of courtly love intertwines with religious art, reinforcing its effect. Both sacred and secular interpretations draw on themes from alchemy, elaborating the symbolism of different kinds of roses, such as: white for innocence and purity, red for passion and death. The emblem of the Rosicrucians, a later medieval secret society of alchemists, was a cross surmounted by a rose, indicating that mystic divinity (the rose) is attained through mortal suffering (the cross).
Other Middle Eastern Religions
For Hindus and Buddhists, the shape of the rose evokes the cup of life or the center of Mandala, a geometric configuration of the meditational path to Nirvana.
In Islam, the rose is the symbol of the soul, flowering among thorns. Sufi Muslims of the Rose Crescent sect traditionally anointed themselves with rose oil before prayer, believing that the scent could help them transcend earthly preoccupations. As in Christianity, white roses stand for purity or virginity, red roses for love or martyrdom. Islamic legend also associates yellow roses with infidelity and jealousy. The rose also symbolizes secrecy in Persian alchemy. In the words of 12th-century poet Farid ud-din Attar: “Mystery glows in the rose bed and the secret is hidden in the rose.”
Iranians have a special relationship with the rose. It is not only a part of Persian motifs in art but also often referenced in poetry where it is depicted as beautiful perfection and the object of longing adoration and admiration of the nightingale, who represents the poet or the lover forever singing longingly about his devotion to her. This relationship had been ongoing for a thousand years! Persian warriors engraved roses onto their armor. And Omar Khayam, the 11th century Persian poet and philosopher who wrote the famous Rubaiyyat, was a passionate lover of the rose. He told one of his pupils that his tomb would be in a spot where the North wind may scatter roses over it. A rose tree was planted on his grave at Naishabur in Shiraz.
So…why all the attention?
ROSE OIL CHEMISTRY
Rose is chemically rare. It works very quickly (is absorbed very easily) and – at the same time – the aroma is longer lasting than most other essential oils because of its natural alcohol percentages.
Alcohol properties include:
Aromatic: Relaxing aromas, helps soothe anxious feelings
Topical: Repellent activity, cleansing properties, helps the skin look young and healthy
Internal: Supports the circulatory system, calms the nervous system
The three main constituents (all monoterpene alcohols) of Rose are:
20–40% Citronellol – supports cellular function and response, promotes healthy blood flow, topical application may help the skin and scalp look clean and healthy, can keep pesky insects at bay (Geranium has 30-45% Citronellol)
10–30% Geraniol – surface cleaning properties, supports cellular health, supports nervous system and digestive tract health (Geranium has between 5-25% Geraniol)
5–15% Nerol – fragrant aroma used in perfumery (for a treat, apply together with jasmine and neroli)
ROSE OIL PROPERTIES
Rose has been well known throughout history for its antidepressant, antihemorrhagic, anti-infectious, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, emmenagogue (stimulates blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus), sedative, and tonic properties. It has been used in traditional healing practices throughout history and is still an important therapeutic resource in the East. Although it is most frequently used for emotional balance and to support the skin, it has been used for digestive problems, headaches and nervous tension, liver congestion, poor circulation, fever (plague), eye infections, asthma and chronic bronchitis, opioid addiction, and more. It is found in doTERRA proprietary blends such as: Align Centering Blend (yoga), Console Comforting Blend, Immortelle Anti-Aging Blend, Stronger Protective Blend (children’s), and Whisper Women’s Perfume Blend.
TIP: Rose oil may crystallize in its pure essential oil form. If this happens, simply (1) hold the bottle in your hand for a minute to warm it up gently and/or (2) remove the plastic orifice to get the drops out more easily.
A few special areas that Rose supports include:
Rose is called the Oil of Love and is a very powerful support to low libido; grief and depression; childhood and baby blues; semen production, impotency, and prostate issues; and irregular ovulation and menstruation issues. Its beautiful aroma is almost intoxicating.
Rose oil diffuses feelings of anger and normalizes the type of brain activity that stimulates undesired muscle responses. Putting 5 drops of a 10% dilution of Rose oil on a cotton ball and inhaling the aroma for 20 minutes before falling asleep can result in fewer nightmares, going to sleep more quickly, less waking during the night, and decreased difficulty waking in the morning.
Rose oil reduces stress by supporting the body in recovering from elevated cortisol levels. This, in turn, allows the skin barrier to function optimally in protecting the body against external pathogens.
Rose helps to bring the emotional state from isolated to loved. It is stimulating and elevating to the mind, creating a sense of well-being. The feelings of love engendered by Rose oil are said to tap into the feminine side, but the love experienced is more divine, pure, and complete than human love: it is unconditional and very protective. The effect is such a powerful feeling of safety that the person becomes more compassionate, tenderhearted, empathetic, and able to receive love as well as give it.
A powerful use of Rose oil would be to modify one’s emotional reactions to individuals, events, or circumstances. Since the aroma of roses is deeply pleasing and settling to just about everyone, diffusing or applying Rose oil topically just before an encounter can improve the chances that both the wearer and the one encountered will have an optimal experience. It can also be used in advance of a situation while preparing mentally. When you play out a situation in your mind in advance and “see” a positive outcome, the aroma of rose will help to lock in your expectation of a positive outcome and will give you confidence to do your part in making it happen (or at least in accepting the outcome and moving forward with ease). If you are interested in learning more about emotional control techniques and any other application methods for Rose oil, Wellness Made Simple is here to help.
Internal use and cautions:
Healthy adults can take a drop without dilution under the tongue. To consume: dilute 1 drop oil in 1 teaspoon honey or ½ cup of beverage. Not for children under 6 and to be used with caution for children over 6 and for pregnant women (moderate dilution topically and internally).
SOURCING AND DISTILLING
Many types of roses are grown around the world. doTERRA sources only Damask roses grown near Kazanlak, Bulgaria in the Valley of the Roses. These are the most fragrant roses on the planet, and the pristine conditions of the Valley produce blooms that yield the most pure and potent oil available. The harvesting lasts no more than a month – from late May through early June – and must be done early in the morning before the sun causes the oil to evaporate from the petals. The two-stage distillation process must be finished on the same day as the harvesting, and this is now possible because doTERRA has built a state-of- the-art distillation facility in Dobrich, Bulgaria (about 5 hours driving time). It takes 10-12,000 blooms or about 280,000 petals to produce one 5ml bottle of pure Rose essential oil.
This post offers only a brief glimpse at why Rose essential oil has been so revered throughout history and all that it has to offer therapeutically. doTERRA offers Rose essential oil in both a 10ml Touch roll-on bottle (prediluted with fractionated coconut oil) and in a 5ml bottle of pure oil. The roll-on form is affordable and very easy to apply. The pure oil is the most expensive oil that doTERRA offers (now you know why) but is very reasonably priced for its quality and availability outside of Bulgaria. The pure oil is so concentrated and intensely aromatic that a drop is all you need for topical or internal use. I consider my investment in both forms of Rose oil to be an excellent value: wellness insurance by the drop.
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