By Michèle Duquet
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet
Ah the rose… There are so many breathtaking aspects to this dazzling flower. As an aromatologist, I feel very fortunate to be able to work with this elegant aromatic essential oil.
I was thinking lately of the many aspects of the rose oil that are perhaps less well known, and thought it might be fun to talk about them today.
So here are but a few…
1. It takes 10,000 roses to fill a single 5ml bottle (about the size of your thumb)!
– It also takes 60 roses to create a single drop of Rose Otto oil. That’s just under 5 dozen roses!
It is extraordinary to think of how many roses it takes to make a single drop of this magnificent oil. Imagine receiving 5 dozen roses from your beloved, can you visualize the space it would take up in your living room? Now imagine all of those gorgeous bouquets being steam distilled to create a single drop of Rose Otto oil!
Here are some more astonishing visuals…
– 10,000 roses is equal to 833 dozen roses.
Can you visualize that in your living room? Oh the fragrance! It would be much simpler to buy a 5ml bottle of Rose Otto essential oil, but as you can imagine, it will cost you. The sheer number of roses needed, along with the intricate nature of cultivating the rose crops, make this an expensive oil to produce.
Ever wonder why rose essential oil is so expensive? Now you know!
A 5ml bottle of distilled high quality organic Rose Otto should cost between $110 and $160 in today’s world market. Prices fluctuate depending on the climate, crop conditions and availability, but if you pay a lot less, it’s not the real deal.
At 60 roses per drop, no wonder Rose Otto oil is so fragrant… and moves my soul to its core!
2. Rose oil is known as The Queen of essential oils
Rose oil (or Rosa Damascena, its Latin name), is exquisite, feminine, powerful and seductive, an oil truly fit for a queen. And ladies, you will feel like a queen when you let your senses become spellbind by its spirit.
Cleopatra used roses not only as an ingredient in her cosmetics, but also as an instrument of seduction. It is claimed that she used both the rose and the Jasmine scents to seduce Marc Anthony from the Roman Empire. It is interesting then, that Jasmine is referred to as the king of essential oils and that both oils are well known aphrodisiacs. Cleopatra, it would seem, was quite the clever enchantress!
3. Rose Otto oil solidifies at slightly cooler temperatures
Did you know that Rose Otto essential oil becomes solid at temperatures below 21 °C (69.8 °F)? This happens because the waxes in the oil begin to set below a certain temperature.
You might say that Rose Otto is a wax and not a liquid, but that is not entirely accurate. The parts of the rose used for distillation are the rose petals. The steam pushes its way through the petals during the steam distillation process until the wax and the oils become separated from the water during cooling and condensation. What is left is the stunning rose water in one part, and the oil and its waxes in another.
My favorite Rose Otto oil is from Bulgaria precisely because of its moderate wax content. The Bulgarian climate is perfect for the rose oil production since the petals don’t over-produce the wax. In less favorable climates, the petals need to produce more wax for protection. When the climate is too harsh, or has too little sun, the rose petals will not have the optimum amount of wax as they adapt to their less than optimum climate by producing too much, or too little wax.
4. Rose Otto vs Rose Absolute
I’m often asked what is the difference between Rose Otto and Rose Absolute. The simple answer is the different processes used to produce both oils, where Rose Otto is produced using the steam distillation method, and Rose Absolute is produced using a solvent extraction method.
While both methods produce beautifully fragrant oils, the extraction method produces more oil and the resulting scent is stronger, which is why Rose Absolute is mostly used by the perfume industry, while Rose Otto is mostly used in Aromatherapy since the steam distillation process keeps its therapeutic grade intact.
The name “Rose Otto” comes from the Persian term “attar of roses” and dates as far back as the 17th century. It originates from the Persian word ‘atar-gul, meaning “essence of roses” and from the Arabic word ‘utur, meaning “perfumes” or “aromas”.
Rose Otto’s scent is lighter than Rose Absolute, and is said not to be a true rose fragrance, but it is far richer in my opinion, immensely more alluring and truly entrancing!
5. Rose fragrance legend in the ethereal/spiritual realm
One of my favorite books on healing the spirit with essential oils is “Aromatherapy for the Soul” by Valerie Ann Wordwood.
In her book she describes angelic fragrances and their properties, and it is no surprise that her description of the rose fragrance is as lovely as the rose itself:
“Rose can be used to bring our consciousness closer to our angels and to the angelic self that dwells within us. To inhale rose is to inhale the love and kisses of angels.” (Aromatherapy for the Soul, P.79)
Judging by the bliss I feel every time I smell my beloved Rose Otto oil, I can say that I am indeed a believer of angelic love and kisses!
Roses are also said to have powerful energy fields that vibrate at a high electrical frequency.
“Rose Otto vibrates with the energy of universal love, operating in the light of unconditional love and giving… [It] eases the sorrow of the soul, bringing harmony and comfort. It is gentle, yet euphoric.” (Aromatherapy for the Soul, P.273)
In aromatherapy, when working with this delicate oil, I have witnessed my clients experience healing and an uplifting of their spirit. Working with essential oils at the more subtle energy levels is perhaps less tangible than, say, healing a skin rash, and it is certainly quite subjective. But being that every thing in our world is energy, believing in the vibrational frequencies of essential oils and their potential healing benefits to the soul isn’t so far fetched. Adopting an open-spirited attitude towards these glorious flowers feels natural to me, and working with clients at that more subtle level is one of the daily delights of my work.
Have you stopped to smell the roses lately?
(DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is for information purposes only and is not meant to be taken as any form of healing advice. Always do your own research or consult your health care professional before using any products you are not familiar with. Essential oils are for external use only. Always consult your health care professional if pregnant, breastfeeding, on medications or homeopathic remedies before using any essential oil products. Keep out of reach of children and pets, especially cats and birds. NEVER use essential oils on cats or birds.)