A Rose is a Rose is a Rose

by David Stewart, Ph.D., R.A.

Most men and women enjoy perfumes, whether they are colognes, aftershave lotions, sachets, or costly potions to titillate emotions. There are perfumes for the morning, for the working day, for occasions of entertainment, for the evening, and for the night. Some people wear different fragrances according the occasion and the time of day. People usually wear fragrances for a purpose.

Flowers do the same. If you have a rose garden, you may have sampled their perfumes individually by putting your nose right into the bloom. If you haven’t done this, I recommend it. The first thing you will notice is that every variety of rose has its own distinct signature of scent.

People are like that, too. They pick perfumes that suit their personalities, which is an individual thing for each person. We express our personalities through our choices of the scents we choose to wear. Roses do the same. From an individual rose’s point of view, they want to be a rose that stands out, one that is different from the rest of the bushes and even from every other rose on the same bush. Try smelling several roses on the same bush and you will learn that there is not just one scent associated with that variety, but a suite of scents. While each rose flower shares the common characteristics of its family, it expresses a unique individuality as well.

Another thing you will notice about roses is that they also change their perfumes with the time of day. What they wear in the morning won’t be the same as in the afternoon or night. Jasmine, for example, attracts certain night flying insects. Hence, its strongest fragrance is released after midnight, before sunrise. Since the primary purpose of a flower’s odor is to attract pollinating insects, adjusting scents throughout the day actually attracts different insects at different times, just as different insects come out at different times from early morning, to late afternoon, to evening, and through the dark of night.

Flower fragrances also change with the aging of the bloom. You will notice in smelling your rose blossoms closely and individually that what they waft as a new partially opened bud is not the same as in the mature blossom. Scents are normally not strong in the bud because at that time, the petals are not yet open and ready for pollinating visitors. It is when they are newly and fully opened that their perfume is the strongest. When a flower ages and its pollination is complete, it loses its scent, its purpose having been fulfilled. All of this is something you can experience in your own rose garden (or someone else’s).

Gertrude Stein has aptly said in her poetry, A rose is a rose is a rose (Sacred Emily, 1913). It was her attempt to express the inexpressible singular beauty, touch, and fragrance of a rose. Rose oil is probably the most expensive of all essential oils and has the highest electromagnetic frequency (320 MHz). Thousands of pounds of petals are required to distill even one pound of precious oil. Its aroma is physically, mentally, and spiritually elevating. Many eyewitnesses to miracles, visions, and spiritual manifestations have reported the scent of roses lingering about the site of the experience.

Most people cannot afford to purchase rose oil, but you don’t have to wait until you buy it to experience it. It is available at no cost to everyone. Just find a blooming raised bush and start inhaling. What you will receive is true, pure, unadulterated rose oil directly from the flower itself. You will also enjoy the visual beauty of its appearance at the same time. By caressing the flowers gently with your fingers and by letting your nose come into contact with the velvet surface of the petals, you will experience the rose with three senses, not just one: sight, smell, and touch. Some people even eat rose petals, thus engaging the sense of taste, taking traces of the oil internally.

This is the way God originally meant for us to enjoy essential oils, by inhaling and contacting them directly from nature the way Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8). In our busy lives, we mustn’t forget to stop once in a while to smell the roses.


The healing power of rose treats most dangerous diseases.

Rose is an astonishingly beautiful flower, which is why it is poetized and immortalized in legends. Long ago, the first rose was raised from an ordinary dog-rose by an unknown gardener about four thousand years ago.

Ancient doctors used rose water to treat upset nerves, fumed patients suffering from lungs diseases with rose incense, and gave extracts of rose petals to patients suffering from heart and kidney diseases.

Attar of roses is the basic medical component of roses; it stimulates and harmonizes immune and nervous systems. It also improves the activity of endocrine glands, removes sclerous disorders in organs and revives cells. Attar of roses is good for the digestive tract as it heals mucous membranes, fights disbacteriosis and fermentative deficiency in the stomach and intestine.

Rose petals contain vitamin C, carotene, B group vitamins and vitamin K, which are essential for haemopoesis. Almost all mineral substances of Mendeleyev’s periodic table can be found in rose petals. They contain calcium that influences metabolism and assimilation of foodstuffs; potassium, which is important for normal heart activity; copper that participates in haemopoesis and improves activity of endocrine glands; iodine that is good for thyroid gland. Rose is virtually a universal natural medicine.

It is recommended to collect rose petals early in the morning when the air is clean and humid, better after rain or abundant dew. Blossomed out but not fading roses will do for collection of petals. When collected, rose petals should be immediately dried or used for treatment without washing to preserve their health-giving components. Collected rose petals may be used for making extracts, decoctions, rose water or attar of roses.

Bacteria die within five minutes when contacted with fresh rose petals which makes rose a perfect medicine for fighting skin diseases. Fresh rose petals will help cure festering wounds and burns; they may also alleviate allergic itching.

The powder of dried rose petals mixed with honey is an effective medicine against mouth inflammations, stomatitis and paradontose. The mixture should be rubbed into inflamed gums. Headaches, sickness and weakness can be cured with inhalation of roses and attar of roses. Rose inhalations are also recommended to people with poor nervous systems, neurosis and depression. A bowl with hot water and rose petals is effective for head colds, cough and flu.

Attar of roses perfectly tones up the cardiac muscle, which is why doctors prescribe rose inhalations for stenocardia treatment. A rose petal bath is a perfect remedy against nervous diseases; it tones, rejuvenates, relieves anxiety and purifies skin. Pour boiling water over half a glass of rose petals and infuse in a closed bowl to preserve attar of roses. Pour the infusion and the petals into the bath; the infusion’s healing power will be stronger if beetroot juice is added to this bath.

Applying rose water to the body is beneficial to those with nervous disorders, and can be done everyday for two weeks. Pour a glass of boiling water over 10g of rose petals and infuse in a covered bowl. Spray the upper third of the back with warm rose water. This also strengthens the nervous system and immunity in healthy people. Warm rose water foot baths help cure rheumatism; hot compress with rose water applied to sacrum is good against radiculitis. Wrap a bed sheet moistened with rose water around the body to tone up the organism after a surgical operation.

Tea made of rose petals (a teaspoon of dried rose petals per a glass of boiling water) is good against colds, pharyngitis, bronchitis and various neuroses; it is a vitamin-rich drink as well. Rose petal jam is a wonderful natural medicine.

If rose therapy is not available you may use dog-rose as its characteristics are the same as of roses. Hips are to be collected within the period of late August to October when they are still hard. Green hips will not do for drying as they contain fewer vitamins. Fresh hips should be dried in the shade away from direct sunrays. A special dryer or an oven (at temperature of 80-100 degrees centigrade) is even better.

The content of ascorbic acid in hips is ten times more than in blackcurrant, 50 times more than in lemon and 100 times more than in apples. At that, the supply of vitamin C depends upon the area of dog-rose vegetation. Hips collected in the north contain more vitamin C than hips collected in the south. Hips grown in the mountains or sunlit places contain more ascorbic acid than those grown in plains or shaded areas.

Dog-rose has a natural concentrate of vitamins; besides vitamin C it contains vitamins B1, B2, P, K and carotene. That is why hips extracts, decoctions and syrup are ideal medicines and prophylactics against beri-beri and hypovitaminosis. To make hips extracts and infusions even more effective add some honey or lemon juice before drinking. This is a unique medicine against colds, flu, chronic bronchitis, lung diseases, stomach and duodenum ulcers and others. If mixed with carrot juice, hips extract will contain almost all vitamins and minerals that people need.

To make a healing beverage against colds, flu and bronchitis mix two portions of dried hips with one portion of dried nettle leaves. Drink half a glass of the beverage twice a day with honey.

Hips are perfect surrogate of coffee; they are as aromatic and tasty as coffee beans. Grind a teaspoon of dried and fried hips and pour a glass of boiling water over the powder. Let it brew for some time before drinking with milk and sugar.