Besides being the universal symbol of love and romance, rose is often associated with pleasure and beauty too. The tyrannical Roman emperor, Nero, for example, was well known for his lavish parties where tonnes of rose petals were used to scent the great halls of his palace. The Persians are also avid lovers of rose. Besides using rose oil and rose water for their lovely fragrance, roses also appear regularly as ingredients in Persian dishes (especially the desserts).
Health Benefits of Rose
In classical herbalogy, rose is regarded as a coolant and refrigerant. Thus, it is frequently used in tea infusions to reduce fever and eliminate heat and toxins from the body. Being the Queen of flowers, rose has a special affinity with the female body system. It helps to remove blood stasis and blockages in the female reproductive system. Thus it is used for relieving menstrual cramps and normalizing menstrual periods. It is also useful for reducing soreness and lumps in the breasts.
The beautiful, natural scent of roses is uplifting, stress-relieving and rejuvenating to the nervous system. Therefore, it is useful for people experiencing headaches, nervous tension, depression or anxiety, which is why rose is said to be strengthening and fortifying to the heart as well.
Rosewater is credited with many skin beautifying virtues. Being mildly astringent, it helps to firm and tone the skin without causing dryness or tightness. At the same time, it softens, soothes and moisturizes the skin, making it the ideal facial toner for people with dry, sensitive skin.
Traditionally, rosewater is obtained via distillation but since most people do not have a distiller at home, the next best alternative is to obtain it through simple infusion. Some herbalists like to add alcohol like vodka to act as an excipient and preservative but I prefer to use just water because alcohol tend to dry out the skin and irritate sensitive skin.
- Dried rose petals or rosebuds – 1 tablespoon
- Distilled water – ¾ cup
How to prepare
- Rinse dried rose petals/rosebuds with water to remove all dust and debris. Place in a clean cup.
- Boil distilled water.
- Pour hot distilled water over the dried roses. Cover and steep for 20 minutes.
- Strain and discard the roses. After the rosewater has cooled completely, pour into a clean, dry bottle.
- Store in the fridge and use within 5 days.
How to use
- After cleansing, apply a small amount of rosewater directly onto your skin.
- Pat your skin gently until rosewater has been absorbed completely by your skin.
You may like to store your rosewater in a small spray bottle. To use, simply spray your skin with the rose water. Pat your skin gently to stimulate circulation.
Aromatic Oil of Romance
The sensual fragrance of this massage oil helps to relax the mind and body as well as set the mood for romance.
- Rose otto essential oil – 12 drops
- Sweet orange essential oil – 6 drops
- Patchouli essential oil – 2 drops
- Base oil – 100ml
- Vitamin E oil – 1 capsule
How to prepare
- Blend all the oils together in a dark glass bottle. Store, tightly capped in a dark cool place. Use as soon as possible after opening.
- As a body massage oil.
- As a bath oil: Fill your bath tub with warm water. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons and disperse evenly.
- For soreness of the breasts, apply a small amount and massage gently for a few minutes until the oil has absorbed completely.
Persian Rose Jam (Moraba-ye gol-e Mohammadi)
My good friend, Aliyeh, from Iran shared this lovely recipe with me after I fell in love with the taste of her home-made rose jam during a tea session at her home. Besides the rose jam, she also gave me a recipe for a traditional Persian confectionary made from roses. She was most delighted when I asked for her permission to share her recipes here.
Note: Choose pale pink rose petals that are unsprayed with pesticides. Pluck the petals and cut away the white ends of the petals. Make sure that you wash the rose petals thoroughly by soaking it in cool water for about 15 minutes. Thereafter drain away the water.
- Fresh rose petals – 500 grams
- Fresh lime juice – 9 tablespoons
- Sugar – 2 cups
- Water – 1.5 cups
- Silvered pistachios – ¾ cup
How to prepare
- Place sugar and water in an enamel or earthen pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for about 35 to 40 minutes until the syrup has thickened.
- Add lime juice, rose petals, and pistachios. Stir to mix thoroughly. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 20 to 40 minutes until the syrup has thickened, taking care not to burn the syrup.
- Remove from heat and allow it to cool completely.
Store in a clean, dry glass jar.