Rose essential oil, not to be confused with rosehip essential oil, comes from the Rosa damascena plant that produces pink roses. In Ayurveda, the traditional medicine system of India, this rose is deemed the “queen of flowers,” and its essential oil is regarded as one of the most beneficial of them all. Rose oil contains over 300 active phytochemicals that contribute to its impressive lineup of therapeutic functions.
Rose oil is the “queen” of essential oils because many of its benefits help issues of concern to women, including beauty, anti-aging, hormone balance, menstruation and menopause. It also improves symptoms of depression, anxiety and insomnia, boosts libido and remedies gastrointestinal complaints. Here are the 10 benefits that make rose oil exceptional:
1. Fights Aging
A major cause of aging is a natural decline in the production of collagen—the structural protein that firms the skin and prevents sagging and wrinkles. Rose oil boosts the production of collagen when applied to your skin. Through its astringent properties, rose oil tightens, tones and lifts skin. Its beauty benefits don’t stop there, however. Rose oil contains antioxidants like vitamins A and E, which fight free radicals . When they’re not kept in check by antioxidants, free radicals can damage tissue and speed the aging process.
As a plus, rose oil has components that promote skin permeation behavior. Meaning, it makes your skin more permeable to the nutrients and anti-aging compounds inside it . By adding rose oil to an all-natural skin care product, you can help your skin absorb more of the compounds it contains as well.
2. Treats Acne
In a study that looked at the antimicrobial effects of 10 different essential oils, rose oil came out on top for having the strongest bactericidal activities. In fact, it completely wiped out the acne-causing bacteria within 5 minutes at just a 0.25% dilution . You can apply rose oil directly to the site of a pimple or acne lesion, or you can create a solution using witch hazel as a base and apply it as an anti-acne toner.
3. Relieves Anxiety and Depression
Rose oil doesn’t just make you smell pretty when you wear it. It also uplifts your mood and can relieve anxiety and depression. It induces feelings of calm and relaxation shown in medical studies to have measurable effects, including lowered breathing rate, pulse and heart rate .
In a study on pregnant women, one group had a 10 minute foot bath with rose oil, another group inhaled rose oil for 10 minutes and a third group had no rose oil. According to the results, the two groups given rose oil showed markedly reduced anxiety levels compared to the control group . Besides diffusing it, adding rose oil to a warm bath or applying it on your body with a carrier oil are relaxing ways to enjoy its benefits.
4. Improves Sleep
By acting as a mild sedative, rose oil combats insomnia and improves sleep quality. In a clinical trial, participants who inhaled rose oil before bed had significantly better sleep quality than those who didn’t . By reducing anxiety and down-regulating the sympathetic nervous system—the one responsible for your “fight-or-flight” stress response—it allows your body to enter a deeper sleep state.
5. Boosts Libido
As it turns out, there’s another reason roses work well for romantic dates. Rose essential oil works as a natural aphrodisiac. When inhaled, it can help both men and women overcome sexual dysfunction and boost their sex drive. In men, it even boosts the production of sperm and testosterone .
6. Balances Female Hormones
Hormone imbalance can cause various health problems in women, including irregular periods, excessive menstrual bleeding, painful menstruation and cumbersome PMS symptoms like bloating, breast pain and mood swings. Rose essential oil cleanses the uterus and restores hormonal balance. Studies show it to benefit women going through menopause. In an 8-week study on menopausal women, weekly massages with rose oil reduced menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and depression. Meanwhile, a control group saw no improvement in symptoms, suggesting that even limited exposure to rose oil makes a significant difference in promoting hormonal balance .
7. Regulates Menstruation and Reduces Menstrual Pain
By balancing hormone levels, rose oil regulates the menstrual cycle, which can help women who have irregular periods. It also reduces fatigue, cramps, pain and nausea caused by menstruation. In one study, women who massaged their abdomen once a day for 7 days before menstruation had less pain during their period compared to a placebo group .
8. Treats Wounds and Diminishes Scars
Rose essential oil is a natural antiseptic you can use to treat cuts, scrapes and other minor wounds. Besides cleaning the wound and preventing infection, it also acts as an astringent, contracting the blood vessels and stopping the flow of blood so that broken tissue can heal faster. Its astringent properties can also help with hemorrhoids. By nourishing the skin with antioxidants and increasing collagen production, rose oil speeds up the generation of new tissue. Besides healing wounds, rose oil can also diminish the appearance of stretch marks and scars.
9. Improves Digestive Health
The antispasmodic effects of rose oil can relieve cramps caused by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other painful gastrointestinal conditions. Rose oil also increases the flow of gastric juices and bile, making it helpful for indigestion. It also protects against canker sores and ulcers .
10. Protects Against Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Rose oil inhibits the formation of beta-amyloid, the plaque-forming peptide linked to symptoms of cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It also acts as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Drugs that treat Alzheimer’s disease are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, which reduce symptoms of cognitive decline by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is responsible for communication between neurons. Rose oil aromatherapy could deliver similar benefits as these drugs and improve brain function .
When you inhale rose oil, its aromatic molecules send messages to your limbic system, which is the part of the brain that controls emotions and regulates your nervous system. Through this mechanism, it’s able to create shifts in your biological state to reduce anxiety and stress relieve stress. You can use an essential oil diffuser to get the benefits of rose oil, or you can inhale it when you apply it to your skin combined with a carrier oil like olive oil, coconut oil or jojoba oil. However, rose oil is not recommended for internal use.
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