Here come the Roses


Published on 07/05/2020 by Dr Lilla Cooper

It’s May and for the first time this year I woke up to the scent of roses coming through my bedroom window!

Roses are super heroes in almost every type of medicine you look at. Almost always they are there to sooth and uplift, calming anxiety and bringing a first breath or gentle movement into the immobility of depression.

It takes 60 roses to create a single drop of pure rose otto oil. One sniff and, like me, you’re hooked forever. But with that quantity of roses, it’s understandable why the pure oil is so expensive. You can buy it more cheaply diluted to 5% or so in a carrier oil, and it still packs a punch in this form, or mix it with another favourite of mine, rose geranium which has a complementing, rosy, gorgeous scent.

You can also buy the water that is left over from distillation of all those rose petals. This has it’s own lovely scent and is really useful in making your own therapeutic skin creams. It’s called rose hydrofoil, or true rose water. Check the ingredients though. Rose water should just be distilled water left over from rose oil distillate. There is a lot of for rose water for sale which is a very dilute rose oil with lots of other oils and preservatives in it.

That clever clogs, Leonardo Da Vinci got it spot on when he suggested combining rose with lavender to make the ultimate perfume. I had a go at his recommendation and it was breath takeingly beautiful; “ take some rose water and wash your hands in it, then take a lavender flower and rub it with your palms” I didn’t have a fresh lavender flower (my bushes aren’t flowering here yet) but I’d been giving them a Spring boost haircut and making lavender oil from the left over leaves, so I rubbed some leaves in my palms instead.

Roses are a key component of many Chinese herb combinations which are used to boost and promote fertility. Therapeutically they ease periods back into a regular pattern, smooth out period pains and gently calm hormonal mood swings. They can be part of your best friend tool kit when the going gets tough; helping keep a little bit of hope and joy bubbling in the background.

We’re in the middle of the most extraordinary period of time. For so many of us it must feel like our lives have been put on hold; waiting for an IVF program to restart; unable to do so many of the things that

usually help support us. In the face of such huge challenges the scent of roses must seem a tiny ray of sunshine. But have a go. It’s something that we can still do for ourselves and sometimes it’s the small things that can open up our sense of being able to tackle the bigger stuff.

I’ve put up a couple of posts on things you can make yourself to engage with the scent of roses. Play with combining scents to create your own personal perfume. Here are some of my favourites which combine together well, with a few of their useful properties at this time. You can grow all of these in your garden, in a window box or on a window sill and fill your room with scent too!

Home Grown Scents

  • Chamomile - Huang chu ju - calms anxiety, dispels nightmares, cools inflammation, regulates periods, settles the stomach
  • Lavender - Xun yi cao - calms and aids sleep, aphrodisiac, antibacterial
  • Rose geranium - Tian shu kun - eases aches and pains, anti inflammatory, soothes cramps
  • Rose - Mei gui hua - restore balance and harmony to mood, hormones and sleep