There is a long tradition of rose water being used in medicine, including in Iran and other parts of the Middle East, as far back as the 7th century.
There is also evidence of North American Indian tribes using it to treat ailments.
Contents of this article:
What are the benefits?
Below, we look at some of the benefits of rose water and their uses in medicine.
Rose water is often used as a perfume, though it also has many medicinal benefits.
The skin is the largest organ in the body and acts as a barrier against UV radiation, chemicals, and other physical pollutants.
The antioxidants in rose water protect the cells in the skin against damage.
Rose water acts as an inhibitor against elastase and collagenase, which are both harmful to the skin.
This, in turn, can help soothe the skin and reduce redness, as well as act as an anti-aging product by reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
In its liquid form rose water can be used as part of an eye drop and has been shown to have excellent benefits for people with eye problems.
Conditions it can help treat include:
- conjunctival xerosis or dry eye
- acute dacryocystitis
- degenerative conditions, such as pterygium or pinguecula
Rose water has antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which mean it can help wounds heal faster, by keeping them clean and fighting injections.
The types of wounds rose water can be used on include:
Due to its antiseptic properties and the fact rose water can prompt the creation of histamines by the immune system, it has been shown to be useful for preventing and treating infections.
Rose water vapor therapy can be improve mood and aid relaxation.
The inhalation of rose water vapors has been traditionally used as a way to improve a person's mood. The liquid can also be taken orally.
Research has shown that rose water has antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties. It is believed to induce sleep and to have a hypnotic effect similar to that of the pharmaceutical drug diazepam.
It has been used to treat a number of mental health conditions, including:
A specific protein fragment called an amyloid, which is created by the body, has been shown to be present in these conditions and to affect the brain function, kill cells, and hinder memory. Encouragingly, properties found in rose water are an inhibitor of this amyloid.
Rose water has been used in aromatherapy for some time and can also be applied to a cloth and laid on the forehead for similar effects.
The ingestion of rose water has also been shown to have beneficial effects on the digestive system. It works by increasing bile flow, which helps symptoms of common complaints, including bloating and upset stomach.
What forms and types are there?
Rose water contains rose oil, and tends to be more affordable than pure rose oil.
Rose water contains between 10 and 50 percent rose oil. It is often used in religious ceremonies, as well as in the food industry. However, the same product can come in different forms.
This is created by distilling the rose flower. The oil can be mass-produced in factories and is a pale, yellow color and semisolid.
Due to its high concentration, rose oil is known to be a fairly expensive product.
Both the buds and the petals of the rose can be dried and are used for different reasons.
Often the petals are eaten, with yogurt, for example, and are used for the previously mentioned digestive benefits.
Other forms that rose products may come in can include:
- Rose hips: The seedpods of the roses, which are used either fresh or dried, and as they are or processed in factories.
- Hydrosol and absolute extract: This can be taken from the flower, petals, or hips and can be a cheaper alternative to rose oil.
- Ethanolic, aqueous, and chloroform extracts: These can be taken from the flower, petals, or hips and are used for research purposes.
A person can apply rose products topically by putting a small amount — about the size of a dime — on their arm as an initial test. If there is no adverse or allergic reaction within 24 hours it can be safely applied elsewhere.
In some cases, a person can have a reaction to rose water due to a particular and often unknown sensitivity to the product.
This can include:
If someone experiences any of these effects after the use of rose water, they should tell a doctor immediately, as it may be a sign of an infection or allergic reaction.