The Summer damask rose (Rosa Damascena Mill.) is one of the most important species of the Rosaceae family and has long been used as a healing tonic and mood-elevating supplement. The plant, the essential oil and the water extracted from this plant (used in many Ageless La Cure skincare products) have various applications in skincare, health care and the food industry.
The Damask rose gets its name from its place of origin, Damascus, Syria and it is the most ancient of roses. During the migration of people from Syria to Greece, the damask rose was inserted into the worship of Aphrodite or Venus. The rose has ancient use in provoking spiritual love and uniting the spiritual with the physical. It has long existed as a symbolic yet very real catalyst for beauty, joy and happiness.
In the time of Persian-born Avicenna, a celebrated physician of the Middle East (980–1037), the damask rose was cultivated largely for medicinal purposes. Avicenna chose this rose as the first plant to distill when he created a rose distillery in Shiraz which was fully operational until 1612.
Benedictine monks preserved the damask rose for medicinal purposes in their apothecary gardens during unstable times in Europe when growing roses ranked secondary to sheer survival for most people.
Today, the roses are cultivated primarily in Turkey, Bulgaria, Iran and Morocco however they are grown all over the world. They most often grow with solitary blooms though sometimes in twos and threes. Their velvety petals are pink to purple and bloom 3/4 to one inch long and wide.
The pink damask rose is the most fragrant and contains more essential oil than, for example, the white damask or cottage rose.
The yield of the oil is very low: one part of oil from 3000 parts of flowers or more than 70,000 roses to produce just one ounce of oil. Because of the low oil yield combined with high demand, it is one of the most expensive essential oils in the world. Even given the high cost, it does not diminish its use in natural applications because it is so effective.
Damask rose essential oil comes in two types – rose absolute and rose otto – and both are used for the same purposes.
Rose otto is the best for aromatherapeutic purposes because it is extremely heady in fragrance. You will need less and it lasts longer.
Rose absolute has a pungent rose fragrance and is preferred by perfumers since the scent is closer in fragrance to the flower than the otto.
Damask rose water is not exactly pure rose water because it contains a certain amount of essential oil depending on the quality of the product.
Damask rose essential oil is excellent for treating all skin types especially mature, dry and sensitive skin. Because of its antimicrobial properties it is beneficial in the treatment of acne. Its anti-inflammatory properties help soothe skin redness and can be beneficial in the treatment of eczema.
It is cleansing, regulating, cooling, antidepressive and can have powerful effects on female and male sex organs including sexual weakness, frigidity, impotence and low semen count. It is known to assist with cardiovascular health, the repair of broken capillaries and blood purification and circulation, liver, gall bladder and digestive function, and relief for asthma, hay fever and coughs.
Damask rose essential oil can be lightly inhaled, applied topically or taken internally dissolved in honey. PHYTO5’s skincare scientists who formulate Ageless La Cure skincare products are expert in creating proprietary blends of essential oils including damask rose. Because of the high concentration of potency of the oil, it is best to rely on professionally formulated products like those in the Ageless La Cure line which use the perfect amount of oil for specific purposes.
Damask rose essential oil calms nervous tension, helps to alleviate headaches and assists to balance adverse reaction to stress.
It has been demonstrated to soothe and harmonize mind, body and spirit, and to uplift emotions of depression, anger, grief and fear. It supports self-nurturing and a higher self-esteem and bolsters the ability to deal with emotional issues.
It promotes spiritual love.
The following is a list of medicinal properties of damask rose essential oil:
choleric (for establishing better humor)
cicatrizant (for the treatment of wounds and ulcers)
depurative (for purifying and detoxifying)
emmenagogue (for stimulating menstruation and blood flow in the uterus)
homeostatic (for establishing equilibrium in physiological processes)
hepatic (for treating the liver)
Preedy, Victor R. Essential Oils in Food Preservation, Flavor and Safety. Academic Press, 2016.
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. Frog Ltd., Berkley, CA, 2001.
Young, Kac. Healing Art of Essential Oils: a Guide to 50 Oils for Remedy, Ritual, And. Llewellyn Publications,U.S., 2017.