The Rose, By Many of Its Names

Mmmmmmm…breath it in…that intoxicating scent of roses. Receiving an aromatic bundle of them is a classic romantic gift for a good reason. But roses are so much more than a symbolic gesture. They happen to be an incredibly rich source of resources for your skin.

Some Exciting Therapeutic Properties of Rose

Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Contains a complex arrays of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants Antiseptic and astringent properties
  • Soothing properties that reduce redness and inflammation
  • Humectant: naturally attracts water and holds it in
  • The oil pressed from its seed (known as rose hip) excellent emollient properties for moisturizing dry skin.
  • The natural sugars contained in rose petals soothe and soften soften the epidermis and can also go deeper to enhance the natural moisture factor (NMF) of the skin by clearing out stagnation and giving the oil gland positive messages.

Science, Wisdom, and the Preparations

We tend to think that properties of a plant are obtainable though any part of the plant and can be immediate utilized “as is” by the body simply because scientists have pointed them out. Wise women will remind us that this is a silly conclusion and that the properties that are gleaned are fully dependent on what part of the plant has been harvested (and when!) and the preparation/product. Here are a few of the raw materials that Mother Nature (and a little effort) has provided along with some or the wisdom behind the products we make at Brooklyn Herborium.

Rose Hydrosol

Scientific Study

Sometimes known as rosewater, rose floral water, or rose distillate, (be aware, there are some other rose-scented products with similar-sounding names that are NOT authentic rose hydrosols) rose hydrosol is derived from an intricate process. Small batches of rose buds are steamed in copper distillers and ultimately release their therapeutic compounds into the water, which is then cooled and the condensation is captured drop by drop. The essential oil is drawn off and collected, and rose water – containing just a hint of that essential oil and hydrophilic (water-loving) constituents from the flower.

Wisdom Teachings

Rose hydrosol helps to maintain the skins slightly acidic natural pH, which can guard against infection—especially in reactive skin issues like eczema or rosacea. It also has the calming and soothing properties of the rose itself—this can bring immediate relief when applied to the skin. When used appropriately, these two properties can help bring skin that is out of balance into balance (or, at least, calm the symptoms of inflammation so that it can do it for itself) as well as help skin that is in balance maintain radiance. 

Loving Limitations with Rose Hydrosol

Considered particularly beneficial to people with sensitive skin, the calming and soothing properties of the rose may give you the false sense of security that we are giving the skin what it needs and fixing the problem. We then don’t take the necessary steps of actually getting the basic needs met (both topically and through self-care) in order to resolve the real sensitivity problem problem (usually inflammation overload and mineral depletion) and, eventually, it will stop being soothing. In addition, if the body does not have enough minerals to translate the herbal messages or if the skin barrier is also compromised, any hydrosol can become sensitizing. Therefore, we don’t consider rosewater to be a “finished product” to use on the skin. By using a variety of hydrosols (but not enough to “confuse” the skin) with a specific action in mind, we formulate our Mineral Mists to be a sustainable part of your everyday skin care. The minerals, offered within the same problem, provide the skin with exactly what it needs to “translate” the messages of the herbs and (in time) desensitize the skin.

The intense amount of water-loving properties of rose are part of what makes rose hydrosol especially hydrating (providing the skin with water) when emulsified (physically combined) with an appropriate oil and used as a moisturizer. Read one of our articles on Moisture Duo if you need a refresher. 

Our Offerings Made With Rose Hydrosol

Sense & Sensitivity Mineral Mist

We make an extra special blend of rose and neroli (orange blossom) hydrosols that we then remineralize so that it resembles mineral waters that have been picked up in a natural water shed so that it may better translate the messages of the Hydrosols. Spray it directly into Nourish & Replenish Oil to moisturize. Use it after cleansing at night to tone (because of its pH balance) and encourage the body to reconstruct damaged cell structure during sleep.

Edith Rose Cream

Hydration is the number one benefit of a cream made with rosewater. The type of moisture (bonded lubrication and hydration) our Edith Rose Cream provides is deep and abiding – it is best used as a protective layer for winter mornings, but certainly light enough for 4 season use if desired. Proper laying would be over Sense & Sensitivity Mineral Mist after using water to slash and rinse the skin in a facial bath.

Rose Essential Oil

Scientific Study

Rose Essential Oil has been studied extensively so that Western Medicine can “prove” that rose’s most drug-like state can also help refine skin texture, improving skin conditions (psoriasis and atopic dermatitis) and that even the scent of roses can help heal wounds, as inhaling it inhibits water loss in the skin and lowers the concentration of cortisol (a stress hormone) in the body. (These specific studies can be found here and enhancement of keratinocyte differentiation by rose absolute oil)

Wisdom Teachings

It takes one pound of rose petals plus three liters of water plus a few hours of heat and cooling energy (at the same time) to make ONE DROP of rose essential oil. Though we call it an “oil”, it is really a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing the alkaloid “drug” or “hormone/messenger” of the plant. I repeat: the messages contained in the essential oils are like the “messages” in our bodies that we call hormones. By the way, they are not essential in terms of “indispensable” like amino acids, but in that it contains the “essence” of the plant, ya know kind of like saying the “essence” of us is our hormones…hmmmm. These products are potent “medicine” and need to be treated with respect.

Loving Limitations with Rose Essential Oil

Not only is it not necessary (and a waste of our precious resources) to use high amounts of essential oils, overuse will lead to itchy, confused, sensitized skin (even more so with EOs than with hydrosols). Learn about proper dilutions and how to use them effectively. Treat them (yes, even lavender) like the drugs they are. When we use essential oils in our products it is for one of two reasons:

  • 1-2% in a product to utilize its overbearing drug capability, such as Bug Off, Anti-Yucky Spray, Cow Fart Goo or Diaper Balm. You use these when you need them and then stop.
  • Less than 1/100th% in an intoxicatingly gorgeous blend of the most precious essential oils used “homeopathically” to help remind the subtle body of its own radiance and vibrancy.
Rosehip water color by Molly Watman

Rose Hip (Seed) Oil

Scientific Study

Rosehips are the small seeds that remain after the bloom of the rose has come and gone. The oil extracted from these seeds is known for having anti-aging properties because it acts as a powerful antioxidant due to its high concentration of vitamin C. Scientists (study can be found here) extoll the benefits of the essential fatty acids in rose hips and their seed oil as a constituent that can strengthen cellular membranes and regenerate skin tissue while fading minor scars, burns, and stretch marks. 

Wisdom Teachings

Like taking vitamin C everyday, using a high vitamin C serum on a long-term daily basis will leave the body less able to get it for itself. In addition, it takes away the option of using a vitamin/antioxidant “boost” in order to create an authentic immune response that actually WILL work to clear out the old damage.

Using a “single” oil fatty acid will eventually create an imbalance where the body is not making enough of certain kinds of its own oils while at the same time it is being bombarded with too many of a specific kind of oil. This can lead to irritation, reduction in sebum production, and barrier damage. It may be useful for a quick turn-around/transition, but not for long-term use.

Putting any kind of oil or mix of oils on your face and pretending it is a “moisturizer” is just fooling yourself. It may feel good at first, but it is not a complete moisturizer without any type of  water.

Loving Limitations with Rose Hip (Seed) Oil

At first, use it as an oil cleanser or as the lipid portion of your Moisture Duo for up to three weeks and then take a break for 3-4 weeks. When you have reached 80% better results, use it once a week with a Facia/Lymphatic Manipulation Massage. 

A picture of dried rosebuds scattered on a table
Photo by Elahe Motamedi on Unsplash

Dried Rose Buds

Scientific Study

The most studied properties of the plant have been its nervine (as in, affecting the nerves) and anti-inflammatory qualities. Other properties that have been studied and reported is that it has antispasmodic, aphrodisiac and sedative qualities. Rose helps regulate menstruation as well as stimulate the digestion.  

Wisdom Teachings

Rose petals make a lovely tea for anytime. It takes more fresh petals to get the strength of dried petals (due to the water content) but it really doesn’t take much either way. Rose flower and buds need to be steeped for only a very short time, otherwise they will start to turn bitter and taste and smell gross. Pay attention (use a timer if need be) to your steeping and steaming times and remove the actual flower petals from the water after 4-7 minutes. (You can, however jar and refrigerate your brew after it is strained—it will last 2-3 days).

Loving Limitations with Dried Rose Buds

As with all herbs, take breaks between cycles of consuming them. It may taste great this week and you want it every day…and next week you are like, “nope” and that’s OK. Listen to your body.

Emma enjoying rose and chamomile tea in Guatemala
Rose petals are included in our Rest and Digest Tea

Topical Use

As a Steam: put 1/4- 1/4 cup of the herbs that you want to steam (see the end for where to buy ours) into a heat-proof bowl and pour boiling water over the herbs. Keeping at least a foot away, make a tent around your head and the bowl with a big towel. Be very careful. Boiling water and steam can burn you if you get too close) You may want to apply a layer of NO EVIL or Rosehip (Seed) Oil on your skin first if you experience dehydration and congestion. Remove the oil with a cloth dipped in the steamer water after it has cooled down enough. (About 8 min? Add cool water if you want to speed it up)

As a Facial Bath: Steep the herbs for 4-8 minutes and strain into a large bowl. Use a little cool water to bring to a good temperature for you. Use your palms to cup the water and gently place you face in the water for a few minutes. Do this a couple times. You can also load a cloth in this water and make a compression. This is best done in the morning or daytime without oil and then followed with a moisture duo.

Emotional Housekeeping
The physical benefits of rose can not be separated from the emotional. Flowers are the sex organs and their blooming is the emotional response of the “hormones” of a plant. Rose is recommended for people who have experienced loss in their lives or who suffer from digestive complaints that are often associated with grief. Simply the scent of rose sets in motion an all-encompassing intercellular and sensory healing process that no one has quite figured out yet. But the experience is all the proof we need that love is like a red, red rose.

Some of Our Products That Utilize Rose

Edith Rose Cream
Rose Renewal Mask
Sense & Sensitivity Mineral Mist
Rest & Digest Tea
Herbal Steamer
Rosehip Seed Oil
Writing by Emma Graves

Emma, a certified herbalist & highly skilled aesthetician who has been working in natural skin care since 1998, originally developed the Between You and the Moon product line to serve her clients in finding a method of natural, holistic skin care that provided tangible results. A 4+ generation holistic practitioner, her love of skin care and holistic methods was chronicled in her early blog “The Pimple Whisperer,” some of which is still available on this website.

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