Rose (Flower) Essential Oil
Source: The flowers from several species of rose, but the most common are the Damask Rose, Rosa damascena and the Cabbage Rose (Rosa centifolia). Do not confuse rose essential oil with rose hip, rose hip seed or rosewood essential oils and extracts.
Type of Treatment: Naturopathic Medicine: Essential Oil.
How it Works: Rose essential oil is primarily used in aromatherapy applications. It is also blended with other essential oils and other plant extracts for use as a topical treatment.
Roses are among the most popular flowers and are cultivated around the world. Most of the commonly domesticated roses are originally from the Middle East and Asia. However, Europe, Africa and North America all have their own native species of roses. Historical records indicate that roses have been cultivated for over 2,000 years, primarily in southern Europe, Northern Africa and central Asia. The popularity of roses, and a long history of selective breeding, has led to a massive expansion in the number of species and hybrids. There are currently over 100 different species of rose and thousands of recognized hybrids.
Beyond the decorative use of rose flowers, several parts of the plant have been used in culinary and medicinal applications. Rose essential oil has a long history of use as an ingredient in perfumes. Rose water extracts, which are a byproduct of essential oil production, are also used for flavoring certain foods. Rose hips, which are the red fruits that follow the flowers, are very high in vitamin C and are used to make jellies and other preserves.
Roses are flowering bushes, and some species can grow up to 8 meters (25 feet) high. They come in a range of shapes, from free-standing shrubs to climbing vines. Roses are notable for their woody stems that are often covered in thorns (aka prickles).
Rose essential oil may also be known as: Rose otto, attar of rose and rose absolute.
Composition of Rose Essential Oil
Rose essential oil is generally a light yellow color, mildy oily and highly pungent. The primary component of rose essential oil is Citronellol. Citronellol makes up 30-35% (by volume) of rose essential oil. Two other compounds that are abundant in rose oil are Geraniol (15-25%) and Nonadecane (10-25%).
Many additional molecules are present in lower concentrations including phenylethyl alcohol, heptadecane, geranyl acetate, eugenol, alpha-pinene and nerol. Much of pleasant smell of rose flowers comes from a group of molecules called Damascenones, which often make up less than 2% of rose essential oil.
Rose Essential Oil in Acne Treatment
Rose essential oil and rose water are used in a variety of skin care products. There are claims that both products are beneficial for skin tone and for treating oily skin.
There is very little direct research or evidence about the benefits of rose essential oil for the treatment of acne vulgaris. However, several of the compounds that are abundant in rose oil, like citronellol and geraniol, have been shown to be fairly toxic towards the bacteria most responsible for acne, Propionibacterium acnes.
- Young. 2011.Essential Oils Pocket Reference.
- Lawless. 1995. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy & Herbalism.
- Bremness. 1994. The Complete Book of Herbs: A Practical Guide to Growing and Using Herbs.
- Babu, et al. 2002. Essential oil composition of Damask rose (Rosa damascena Mill.) distilled under different pressures and temperatures.
- Ulusoy, et al. 2009. Tocopherol, Carotene, Phenolic Contents and Antibacterial Properties of Rose Essential Oil, Hydrosol and Absolute.
- Bowles, et al. 2003. The A-Z of Essential Oils.
- Loghmani-Khouzani, et al. 2007. Essential Oil Composition of Rosa Damascena Mill Cultivated in Central Iran.
- Antonelli, et al. 1997. Characterization of 24 Old Garden Roses from Their Volatile Compositions.
- Zu, et al. 2010. Activities of Ten Essential Oils towards Propionibacterium acnes and PC-3, A-549 and MCF-7 Cancer Cells.
- Tsai, et al. 2009. In vitro antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects of herbs against Propionibacterium acnes.
- Adorjan, et al. 2010. Biological properties of essential oils: an updated review.
- Lertsatitthanakorn, et al. 2008. Antibacterial activity of citronella oil solid lipid particles in oleogel against Propionibacterium acnes and its chemical stability.
- Lertsatitthanakorn, et al. 2010. Effect of Citronella Oil on Time Kill Profile, Leakage and Morphological Changes of Propionibacterium acnes.