It’s almost Valentines day, and stores are filled with red and pink, hearts and roses. Rose is a familiar fragrance, and has been used in far more than Valentine’s day gifts.
Rose water is used in cooking in both Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine (if my memory serves).
Red Roses symbolize true love. There is a different subtle meaning for each color of rose, giving this flower one of the most complex “languages” of all the flowers in the old Victorian Era tradition of flower symbolism.
Rose is also used in aromatherapy. The essential oil is extracted two ways: by solvents, which gives a stronger scent with a robust orange to red color. The oil can also be steam extracted in which case it is called “Rose Otto” instead of “Rose Absolute” like the solvent extracted version. Otto has a lighter, softer scent and pale yellow color.
In either form, rose essential oil is a powerhouse in the aromatherapy world, especially for its mental & emotional uses. The scent of rose can help ease shock, panic, anxiety, grief, post traumatic stress and more.
Rock Rose is one of the flowers used in “Bach’s Rescue Remedy” for those familiar with flower essences (more on those another day).
In addition to skin care, rose essential oil is associated with balancing female hormones, as well as being a general aphrodisiac – possibly another reason for the association with Valentine’s Day.
Of course, only genuine rose absolute or rose otto can come close to these attributes. Not everyone likes the scent of rose (admittedly, I’m one of them.) Most of the time, the rose we imagine is a mass-produced or synthetic ‘grandma’s perfume’ variety. True oil is more tolerable as a fragrance, but still rather strong. Palmarosa and rose geranium can be scent-substitutes, if not therapeutic ones.