If you know me, you probably already know that I adore roses. Everything about roses appeals to me, from the soft and sweet scent to the flavour. Roses remind me of tea leaves, the month of June, and the perfume I wore during university, Ralph Lauren Romance.
I had pink roses in my wedding bouquet and have planted roses at both houses that we’ve lived in (my favourite is the lovely David Austin “Peace” rose, named following the end of the Second World War) I’ve experimented with rosewater in everything from rose/cardamom shortbread to adding rose water to my homemade “spa water”.
Do you remember the Starbucks “blossoming rose tea latte”? I think I may have been the ONLY person who ordered it regularly!
Beyond the beautiful taste and scent of roses, there are also many emotional and physical benefits to the the flowers and the fruit of the rose plant:
- Rosehips, the orange-coloured fruit that appears on the plant in the autumn, are rich in bioflavonoids and vitamin C and were even collected in Britain during WWII to make rose hip syrup to boost health during rationing!
- Rose water, the lightly scented liquid left after rose petals are distilled for essential oil, is a beautiful tonic for skin health and can be used to flavour food and drinks. Dillon’s rose gin is one of my FAVOURITE cocktail ingredients.
- Rose essential oil is the highly concentrated oil from rose petals. It is a lovely, sweet-scented oil that is known for its benefits and its price. It takes 22 lbs of petals to make 5ml of oil so it is quite an expensive ingredient. It is reputed to have so many benefits for skin, from antimicrobial properties (great for preventing breakouts) to boosting elasticity and reducing redness.
On an emotional level, rose can work wonders at opening the heart. I have felt this when adding in a splash of rose water to my water or using rose essential oil for facial massage (even better when used with a rose quartz roller!). I’m able to share my emotions more freely and feel more open-hearted and loving.
I recently listened to an episode of “What the Juice” by Organic Olivia all about roses and it’s definitely worth a listen (side note: I’m addicted to this podcast now!)
I was curious about the science behind roses and the benefits for emotional and physical wellness. While there isn’t a huge amount of scholarly research specifically on rose, roses have been used for centuries for its antiseptic, calming, and anti-aging properties.
In terms of research, this article does a nice job of reviewing the studies that exist and providing background on roses in medicine. A few other studies of note include ones that suggest roses can help by:
- enhancing the sense of smell: One of the common side effects of COVID infection is a loss of smell or anosmia. Smell training, which traditionally uses rose, eucalyptus, clove and lemon essential oils, is one method being used to strengthen the sense of smell that was affected by COVID-19 infections.(Koyama et al. 2021)
- relieving muscle pain and tension: One interesting study found that topical application of rose oil significantly improved lower back pain in pregnancy! (Shirazi 2017)
- improving sleep & reducing anxiety: small human studies have shown positive effects on quality of sleep and reduced stress markers. (Lizarraga-Valderrama 2021)
My favourite rose products:
Saje rose mist – this smells exactly like fresh roses and is perfect to spray on before applying a face oil or moisturizer.
Dr Hauschka rose day cream – Allegedly, JLo loves this rich cream, which smells almost exactly like a garden rose. This cream has been around for many years and is often mentioned by makeup artists as being there go-to cream for dry skin.
Aerin Rose de Grasse pour filles perfume – this is such a fresh and gentle rose fragrance. I’ve had so many compliments when I wear this! And the bottle is adorable with its little ribbon.
Blume Rose London Fog latte – this is a pretty pink powder made from decaffeinated tea, Rosehips, rose petals, and tart cherry powder. It’s perfect mixed with steamed milk before bed!
Lip Service Rose Vanilla Bean solid perfume – another pretty perfume that smells divine and is topped with a sweet little rose quartz crystal and rosebuds. It’s made locally in Grimsby and is all natural.
Akram, Muhammad et al. “Chemical constituents, experimental and clinical pharmacology of Rosa damascena: a literature review.” The Journal of pharmacy and pharmacology vol. 72,2 (2020): 161-174. doi:10.1111/jphp.13185
Koyama, Sachiko et al. “Possible Use of Phytochemicals for Recovery from COVID-19-Induced Anosmia and Ageusia.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 22,16 8912. 18 Aug. 2021, doi:10.3390/ijms22168912
Lizarraga-Valderrama, Lorena R. “Effects of Essential Oils on Central Nervous System: Focus on Mental Health.” Phytotherapy Research, vol. 35, no. 2, 2021, pp. 657–79, https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.6854.
Shirazi, Mahbobeh, et al. “The Effect of Topical Rosa Damascena (Rose) Oil on Pregnancy-Related Low Back Pain: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial.” Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, vol. 22, no. 1, 2017, pp. 120–26,