Type of plant: A deciduous bush with thorny stems growing to 6 feet with fragrant pink flowers
Part used: Fresh flower heads
Method of extraction: Steam distillation
Data: Eighty percent of Rosa damascena essential oil comes from the Kazanlak Valley in Bulgaria, where rose growing was introduced in the seventeenth century. This knowledge may have come from the Persians, who are known to have been distilling rose in Shiraz (present-day Iran) since 1612. Writings of the Persian intellectual Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna) described rose distillation as early as the eleventh century, possibly to produce rose water, along with a small amount of oil. It takes literally millions of rose petals to produce just a few fluid ounces of this highly prized essential oil. The roses are hand-picked very early in the morning, and the roses are distilled immediately. Harvesting is between May and June, when the air in the valley is redolent with the aroma of rose and the distilleries are working night and day to process the roses while they still retain their essential oil.
Principal places of production: Bulgaria, Turkey, Iran
When buying look for: A colorless to pale-yellow-tinged liquid with a soft, deep, slightly lemony rose aroma with a faint spice note. It crystallizes at low temperatures, becoming liquid with warmth.
Therapeutic properties: Antidepressant, anti-infectious, antiseptic, astringent, calmative, cicatrizing, circulatory, cytophylactic, emmenagogue, emollient, sedative, spasmolytic, tonic
Therapeutic uses: Female reproductive problems, infertility, menstrual irregularity, endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, menstrual cramp, abdominal cramp, circulatory conditions, acne, skin dehydration, scarring, premature aging, depression, anxiety, emotional anxiety, nervous tension, stress-related conditions
Blends well with: Benzoin, bergamot, black pepper, cananga, carrot seed, chamomile roman, cistus, clary sage, fennel (sweet), frankincense, geranium, jasmine, lavender, lemon, linden blossom, magnolia flower, mandarin, melissa, neroli, orange (sweet), sandalwood
Precautionary advice: No contraindications known. GRAS status.