Rose Essential Oil

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Rose Essential Oil
Rose Essential Oil – Uses And Benefits – image to repin / share
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Rose Essential Oil – General Information

Rose essential oil is one of the most highly valued components in the fragrance industry. It takes around a ton of rose petals to make a pound of essential oil – and as you would imagine, the process is labour-intensive and expensive. [1]

Rose oil is typically obtained by steam distillation of the crushed rose petals. This technique had its origin in mystical ancient Persia, but much of the world’s rose oil is now produced in the Rose Valley in Bulgaria. Roses are one of the most commonly sold cut flowers. Additionally, extract from rose petals is sometimes used in cuisine. [2]

Rose oil that is made using steam distillation is known as rose otto while solvent extracted rose oil is known as rose absolute. [3]

Rose essential oil is also used in aromatherapy. It is said that essential oil of rose aids relaxation and helps soothe away anxiety.
It is as if the scent encourages the surrender to joyful and passionate emotions. Rose is certainly an alluring fragrance that is loved by men and women the world over – and it’s interesting to note that in aromatherapy it is also used for grief, emotional shock and depression. [1]

Is Rose an Aphrodisiac?

Since ancient times, roses have been associated with love, romance and sexuality. It is said that Cleopatra had her bedroom covered in rose petals an inch deep when she met Anthony, and that she put them in her bath. Rose petals have been scattered on bridal beds and included in love potions. [1]

The rose was deemed as sacred to a number of goddesses of old times, including Isis and Aphrodite. Most of the species of rose are native to Asia, although they are now grown worldwide. [2]

Of all the many things that have been considered to be aphrodisiacs, roses are perhaps the most famous and most enduring. Perhaps even more than chocolate, red roses are considered the romantic gift par excellence in many countries around the world. The red colour has a symbolic association with the heart and is also said to be a colour which excites desire. Also, the scent of rose has been considered to be aphrodisiac since ancient times – and the essential oil of crushed rose petals is a quintessential component for the perfume industry.

Great claims are made for the rose as an aphrodisiac. It’s even said that roses trigger chemical reactions in a woman’s brain which lower inhibitions – and that men giving roses to women may actually be improving their chances in a deeper way than by just “being nice”.

Rose is listed in the AHPA’s “Herbs of Commerce”. [4]

Rose Essential Oil – Scientific Studies And Research

Fukada, Kano, Miyoshi, Komaki, and Watanabe (2012) recently reported the preventive and limiting effect of rose essential oil inhalation against chronic stress-induced disruption of the skin barrier in rats and humans. The inhalation of rose essential oil significantly suppressed any increase in plasma corticosterone and reduced any increase in the number of c-Fos-positive cells in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus. It had also elevated the transepidermal water loss (an index of skin-barrier disruption) and increased the salivary concentration of cortisol in humans. [5]

Rose essential oil as anxiolytic: Being a soothing and muscle relaxant agent, rose essential oil as a therapy, in conjunction with conventional therapy, has been shown to be an effective reliever of renal colic pain, as illustrated by the Visual Analog Scale values of renal colic patients included in the study of Ayan et al. (2012) 10 or 30 minutes after the initiation of conventional therapy plus aromatherapy, which were significantly lower. The conventional therapy in this study constitutes 75 mg of diclofenac sodium administered intramuscularly. [6] Rose essential oil is also a well-accepted anxiolytic oil used in aromatherapy as an agent to relieve stress, depression, and anxiety. [7]

Rose essential oil as antibacterial: Among the ten essential oils tested by Zu et al. (2010) for their antibacterial activities (and toxicology against human cancer lines), rose essential oil – along with thyme and cinnamon essential oils – demonstrated the most outstanding antibacterial effect against Propionibacterium acnes at an inhibition diameter of 16.5 +/- 0.7 mm and a minimal inhibitory concentration of 0.031% (v/v). Based on time-kill dynamic procedure data, thyme, cinnamon, and rose essential oils presented the strongest bactericidal activities at a concentration of 0.25% (v/v) among the ten essential oils studied, entirely killing P. acnes
after 5 minutes. [8] Basim E. and Basim H. (2003) have also clearly evidenced the antibacterial action of rose essential oil (Rosa damascene) against the three strains of Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. vesicatoria. [9]

Rose essential oil as anti-seizure: Rose essential oil appears to retard as well the development of seizure stages and to counteract the kindling acquisition, as evidenced by Ramezani, Moghimi, Rakhshandeh, Ejtehadi, and Kheirabadi (2008). In this study, amygdala kindling seizures were induced in male Wistar rats implanted with one tripolar and two monopolar electrodes in the right basolateral amygdala and dura surface, respectively. Results had shown that those rats injected with 750 and 1000 mg kg-1 of rose essential oil 30 minutes before the daily kindling stimulation required a larger number of stimulations before the first appearance of seizure stages could occur. Furthermore, rose essential oil treatment had lowered the increase in mean after-discharge duration and shortened the mean after-discharge amplitude. [10]

Rose Essential Oil – Molecular Components and Chemistry

Citronellol and geraniol appear to be the major compounds (>55%) of rose essential oil. Rose essential oil contains high levels of phenolics and exerts potent antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli (ATCC 25922), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ATCC 27853), Bacillus subtilis (ATCC 6633), Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 6538), Chromobacterium violaceum (ATCC 12472), and Erwinia carotovora (ATCC 39048) strains. [11] According to the gas chromatography–mass spectrometry results of Loghmani-Khouzani, Fini, and Safari (2007), the chief constituents of Rosa damascene Mill essential oil are as follows:
β-citronellol (14.5–47.5%), nonadecane (10.5–40.5%), geraniol (5.5–18%), and henicosane (7–14%). [12]

Citronellol is a monoterpene alcohol known for its antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory properties. Its analgesic effects, as illustrated in different pain models, are attributed to its inhibition of the peripheral mediators and its central inhibitory mechanisms and strong antioxidant effect in vitro. In the study of Brito et al. (2012), citronellol significantly reduced the amount of writhing, inhibited the (neurogenic pain) and the late (inflammatory pain) phases of formalin-induced licking, and decreased nitric oxide production, implying the effectiveness of citronellol as an analgesic compound. [13]


[1] “Nature’s Aphrodisiacs” – Nancy L. Nickell (p.79-81)



[4] “Herbs of Commerce” (AHPA) (2000 edition) – Michael McGuffin, John T. Kartesz, Albert Y Leung, Arthur O. Tucker

[5] Fukada M., Kano E., Miyoshi M., Komaki R., & Watanabe T. (2012). Effect of “rose essential oil” inhalation on stress-induced skin-barrier disruption in rats and humans. Chemical Senses, 37(4): 347–356. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjr108. Retrieved 21 March 2013 from

[6] Ayan M. et al. (2012). Investigating the effect of aromatherapy in patients with renal colic. J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Oct 16. Retrieved 21 March 2013 from

[7] Setzer W. N. (2009). Essential oils and anxiolytic aromatherapy. Natural Product Communications, 4(9): 1305–1316. Retrieved 21 March 2013 from

[8] Zu Y. et al. (2010). Activities of ten essential oils towards Propionibacterium acnes and PC-3, A-549 and MCF-7 cancer cells. Molecules, 15(5): 3200–3210. doi: 10.3390/molecules15053200. Retrieved 21 March 2013 from

[9] Basim E. & Basim H. (2003). Antibacterial activity of Rosa damascene essential oil. Fitoterapia, 74(4): 394–396. Retrieved 21 March 2013 from

[10] Ramezani R., Moghimi A., Rakhshandeh H., Ejtehadi H., & Kheirabadi M. (2008). The effect of Rosa damascene essential oil on the amygdala electrical kindling seizures in rat. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 11(5): 746–751. Retrieved 21 March 2013 from

[11] Ulusoy S., Bosgelmez-Tinaz G., & Seçilmis-Canbay H. (2009). Tocopherol, carotene, phenolic contents and antibacterial properties of rose essential oil, hydrosol and absolute. Current Microbiology, 59(5): 554–558. doi: 10.1007/s00284-009-9475-y. Retrieved 21 March 2013 from

[12] Loghmani-Khouzani H., Fini O. S., and Safari J. (2007). Essential oil composition of Rosa damascene Mill cultivated in Central Iran. Scientia Iranica, 14(4): 316–319. Retrieved 21 March 2013 from

[13] Brito R. G. et al. (2012). Citronellol, a monoterpene alcohol, reduces nociceptive and inflammatory activities in rodents. Journal of Natural Medicines, 66(4): 637–644. doi: 10.1007/s11418-012-0632-4. Retrieved 21 March 2013 from

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