Aromatherapy: Rose

The fragrance of rose has long inspired poets and lovers. One legend says the red rose came from the blood of the Greek love goddess Aphrodite. The name of Aphrodite’s son Eros, god of love, is an anagram for rose. Folktales that come from China to Europe tell similar stories about the rose’s symbolism as the unfolding of both spiritual and physical love and perfection.

Originally from Asia Minor, the plant was brought by Turkish merchants to Bulgaria, where the most valued essential oil is now produced. It is gentle and nontoxic but costly, because so little can be made during distillation and because the bushes need so much care.


The oil is distilled or solvent-extracted from blossoms; but, as it is difficult to separate from water, the oil must be distilled at least twice, resulting in two products. The first is called attar of roses; the by-product is called rose water. The unadulterated oil congeals when it cools, but can be liquefied again by the warmth of the hand. It has been an age-old favorite essential oil in facial creams because, in addition to its incredible fragrance, it is reputed to fend off aging. It is also used in aromatherapy preparations and costly perfumes.

Principal constituents of rose: Geraniol (up to 75 percent), citronellol, nerol, stearopten, phenyl ethanol, farnesol, and others

Scent of rose: Wonderfully intense, the fragrance is sweet and floral.

Therapeutic properties of rose: Antidepressant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, antibacterial, and antiviral; increases menstruation, calms nervous tension

Uses for rose: A cell rejuvenator and powerful antiseptic, rose essential oil soothes and heals skin conditions, including cuts and burns. Rose treats asthma and can be used as an inhalant, albeit an expensive one. Instead, most people reserve it for skin creams and lotions; it is suitable for all complexion types. It helps a variety of female disorders, possibly by balancing hormones.

A massage oil helps various types of female problems, including menstrual cramps, PMS symptoms, and moodiness during menopause. Many women report that simply smelling rose’s fragrance is enough to do the trick. Sniffing the oil or using a massage oil containing rose has even been suggested to help reverse impotency.


To learn more about Aromatherapy and other alternative medicines, see:

  • Aromatherapy: Learn about aromatherapy, how it works, what part essential oils play, and how to use aromatherapy.
  • Essential Oils Profiles: We have collected profiles of dozens of plants that are used to produce essential oils. On these pages, you will learn the properties and preparations for the most popular essential oils.
  • How to Treat Common Conditions With Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy can be used to treat a number of conditions, from asthma to depression to skin problems. Here you will learn how to treat some common medical problems with aromatherapy.
  • Home Remedies: We have gathered over a hundred safe, time-tested home remedies for treating a wide variety of medical complaints yourself.
  • Herbal Remedies: Herbal remedies and aromatherapy can be very similar, and they stem from similar historic roots. On this page, you will find all of our herb profiles and instructions for treating medical problems with herbal remedies.



Kathi Keville is director of the American Herb Association and editor of the American Herb Association Quarterly newsletter. A writer, photographer, consultant, and teacher specializing in aromatherapy and herbs for over 25 years, she has written several books, including Aromatherapy: The Complete Guide to the Healing Art and Pocket Guide to Aromatherapy, and has written over 150 articles for such magazines as New Age Journal, The Herb Companion, and New Herbal Remedies.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.