The flower known as the queen of flowers is precious on many levels and, the botanical royalty she is, connects countries and cultures. A love letter – laced with childhood memories and scientific footnotes with reasons for you to stop and smell the roses.
When I was a child, our family used to spend one month each summer with my father’s relatives who lived by the sea before returning to our dacha near Moscow. Our south-bound journey kicked off with a long and tedious train ride – and ended in a sunlit, exotically fragrant paradise.
You woke up and left the train and all of a sudden there it was: bold and radiant Black Sea summer defined by that rich, spicy, heavy smell of the buttery yellow French Broom petals; the fresh green aroma of the oily green boxwood leaves; the balmy sweetness of the cypresses; the mineral notes of the breakers sizzling on the hot sand under the rays of the midday sun; the sweetness of the ripe, abundant fruit… But the true treasure hid in the depths of a park near the house – a small rosarium abloom with the most fabulous hybrid tea roses. Their soft and silky red and pink petals, so cool in the shadows of the ancient trees, filled the air with a fragrance as captivating as unforgettable.
Later, in autumn, my father’s aunt Angelina would send us small packages with essential oils handmade in her town – as we’re used to saying these days: artisan made in small batches. Always Lavender and Rose: tiny glass vials with simple plastic stoppers, not unlike today’s perfume samples.
This oil’s scent was very different from that of the living, vibrant flowers. The flowers were sweet and fresh, their petals tender and cool to the touch – the oil smelled rich, dense and heavy. The fresh roses floated through a salty air spiced with the scents of all the other plants; the oil evaporated in the dry, greyish air of a big city. But it still bore a promise of something beautiful – serenity, calm – and regal. And also divisive. My mother’s friends were in disagreement; some loved the rose oil, others hated it. I was cautiously in the camp of hating it, as too much of it would give me headaches, but both the smell of fresh flowers and the pure rose essential oil have forever gained a place in the perfume chapter of my childhood memories, along with the scents of nature, my mother’s festive perfume or my father’s pipe tobacco and oil paint.
Today I prefer flower gardens to cut flowers, which doesn’t keep me from enjoying the benefits of rose-derived products. From the famous Isphahan macaron to natural, rose-centred perfumes, from rose-enriched natural skincare to essential oils for the home, from spice blends with rose petals to rose water – my versatile “rosarium” is something I seriously can’t imagine my life without.
So, one girl loves them roses. But why should you care? Because roses are actually good for you!
Rose Essential Oil Benefits
Rose essential oil has powerful, scientifically proven anti-inflammatory1) and skin-barrier-reinforcing 2) 3) 4) benefits, anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial5) properties; it can also heal our body and soul through inhalation6). Of course only the real deal7) comes with this slew of benefits – only the natural essential oil and not any lab-made fragrance.
I hope the next time you spot a bottle of rose water, smell rose petals in a hand cream, or taste rose oil in a scrumptious dessert, you’ll remember the miraculous benefits of this beautiful queen of flowers and appreciate them a little bit more.
Sources and Further Reading
- Anti-inflammatory activity or Rose-Oxide;
- Rose essential oil inhalation prevents chronic-stress induced skin barrier disruption;
- Skincare for dry skin can benefit from skin-barrier-reinforcing properties of botanicals such as rose oil;
- Rose absolute oil may control skin texture in skin with conditions such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis;
- Rosa damascena absolute and essential oil contain high levels of phenolics and demonstrate strong antibacterial activity;
- Rose oil has physiological and psychological relaxation, analgesic and anti-anxiety effects;
- My personal rose-infused beauty and food favourites