Bridge Body and Soul with Rose Otto
Rose essential oil is distilled from the petals of the small, prickly, cultivated shrub: Rosa x damascena. Named after the ancient city of Damascus, the shrub is mostly grown and distilled in Bulgaria, Morocco, Turkey, and India.
Although rose is most accessible and affordable as the solvent-extracted “absolute,” therapy comes from Rose “Otto,” the essential oil. The true oil is an off-white to colorless substance that is gel-like at room temperature. To work with the oil, you need only apply the warmth of your hands to bring it to a liquid state.
According to Grieve, 4,000 kg of flowers yield 1 kg of essential oil. Distillation is performed in 2 to 3 stages as the essence is quite hydrophilic. The first distillation is done to obtain the “direct essence” from the petals; the resulting hydrosol is then distilled (cohobated) under careful watch to further separate the elusive essence. Enter why the hydrosol is so amazing: myriad water-loving chemical constituents permeate the distilled waters with a vast bouquet of therapy.
I beg to differ with Juliet when she declared to Romeo that “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” For, indeed “a rose, is a rose, is a rose, is a rose.”1 Rose’s magic is unmatched in its exaltation and usage across time, myth and cultures: from ancient Babylon, Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, and India, to Christian Europe and modernity.
Statement about Rose essential oil
Rose bridges the body and soul, the micro and macrocosms. Its complex chemistry and ethereal beauty undoubtedly account for its propensity to temper inflamed, disharmonized and weary minds and bodies. Its cooling, quiet nature nurtures compassion, self-acceptance, sexuality, trust and confidence.
According to Mailhebiau, rose is “above all a balm to the soul, and in this sense, it affords each one of us what we hope to derive from it.”
Rosa x damascena Otto is one of the most diverse and gentle oils with affinity to the skin (anti-inflammatory, regenerative, astringent and antimicrobial), musculoskeletal system (pain and spasms), reproductive system (PMS, balancing) and the mind (calming, anti-depressant, exhaustion, aphrodisiac).
Chemistry Highlights: Rose Otto is one of the most complex essential oils with 300 identifiable components. It is rich in alcohols (citronellol, geraniol, nerol) supported by long chain saturated aliphatic hydrocarbons (nonadecane).
Is Rose Essential Oil Safe?
Generally regarded as safe.
Blending with Rose Otto
Rose Otto subtly envelops the senses with a floral-sweet-spicy aroma. Its warm, billowy softness transports you to a Fragonard painting where you float with the Rococo clouds. The rich dry-down lingers through soft-pink-marshmallow-honey notes. Its cloud surrounds your heart and radiates outward with a quiet openness.
Rose Otto blends well with: Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), Vanilla oleoresin (Vanilla planifolia), Sandalwood (Santalum ssp.), Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), Mandarin (Citrus reticulata), Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Clove bud (Eugenia caryophyllata), Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii), Sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana), Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi), Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata), Neroli (Citrus aurantium var amara), Coriander seed (Coriandrum sativum), Patchouli (Pogostemom cablin), Jasmine (Jasminum ssp.).
Creating Wellness Products with Rose essential oil
Facial Care: Dewy Rose Toner
Toners help remove traces of soap, make-up and dirt. Depending on the ingredients, they may also tone tissues, close pores, draw moisture (humectant) and restore the skins acid mantle. This blend, featuring Rose, is humectant, astringent, anti-inflammatory and rejuvenating.
What you need:
- 4 ounce glass spray bottle
- 20 drops Neroli (Citrus aurantium var amara)
- 12 drops Rose Otto (Rosa x damascena)
- 6 drops Cistus (Cistus ladaniferus)
- 6 tbsp. Rose Otto (Rosa x damascena) hydrosol
- 2 tbsp. Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) hydrosol
How to make: Combine all ingredients into the spray bottle. Secure the spray top to the bottle and label appropriately.
How to use: Use immediately after washing your face, while pores are open. Shake before using to disperse the oils. Soak a cotton pad with the toner solution and gently wipe your face. Follow with desired moisturizer.
Drink Me: Rose, Cardamom and Saffron Tisane
Hydrate from the inside and bring on feelings of love and wellness with this beautiful tisane. Rose supports reproductive health, moistens tissues, and soothes the mind. Similarly, saffron supports male and female reproductive health, the circulatory system and is used for anxiety and calming the mind. Cardamom is warming, digestive and supports the circulatory and respiratory systems.
It gets even better: many chemical constituents of rose are water soluble; using the hydrosol is an excellent way to incorporate rose into your life without breaking the bank.
What you need: Kettle or pot, strainer, serving cups, 2 cups water, 2-3 cardamom pods, crushed; a pinch to ¼ tsp saffron threads; 2 tbsp Rosa x damascena hydrosol.
How to make: Bring water to a boil in a kettle or pot with a lid. Place crushed cardamom pods and saffron threads in boiling water and turn down to a simmer. Simmer for 5-7 minutes. Strain the liquid and pour into cups. Add 1 tablespoon of rose hydrosol per cup of tisane. Add a sweetener, such as honey, if desired. Serve hot, cool or at room temperature. (Serves 2.)
Body Care: Nourishing Body Butter
Add the following essential oil blend to a beautiful body butter base to soothe and soften dry winter skin. Add this blend to one, 2 ounce jar of body butter base.
- 20 drops Frankincense (Boswellia sacra)
- 10 drops Carrot seed (Daucus carota)
- 8 drops Rose Otto (Rosa x damascena)
- 8 drops Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi)
- 4 drops Galbanum (Ferula galbanumifera)
Click here for details on how to make your own body butter. Want to learn even more about butters, balms and salves? Click here for information on a deep-dive course designed to help you create your divine concoctions.
1 “Sacred Emily”: by Gertrude Stein
Written by: Amy Anthony
(Aromatic Studies Instructor)
Amy Anthony B.A, is a certified Aromatherapist with a private practice in Manhattan, NY. Her focus is on customized aromatherapy and education: she consults with clients and teaches workshops at the NYIOA and around the NY metro area. Amy also enjoys formulating and devising delivery methods that encourage the safe, practical use of aromatherapy—like fizzing bath balls, shower bars and sleep mists.
Amy has been a gardener since the age of 5 and has continually found ways to connect with plants since moving to NYC in 1999. Her knowledge of plants brings a holistic, plant-based approach to her teaching and practice of aromatherapy. Amy is also a certified master composter, has volunteered at Saint George’s Common Table since 2012 and will train to be a doula with The Doula Program to Accompany and Comfort in the fall of 2016. More can be found about her aromatherapy practice at http://nycaroma.com.