For centuries, people have used roses for various beauty and health benefits. In fact, essential oil extracting from Rosa Damascena flowers started in 7th century A.D and Cleopatra reportedly used rose oil as fragrance. Since then, popular beauty products including facial sprays, toning lotions, gel masks, and face serums, cite rose (water, extract, and oil) as one of their hero ingredients. That said, 100 percent pure rose extract (referred to as rose nectar) possess a greater therapeutic effect than the oil or water from the flower.
Nutritionally, pure rose nectar from the Damask rose contains some pretty powerful medicinal properties including antioxidants, essential vitamins, flavonoids, and other bioactive compounds said to aid in skin, brain, and eye health, as well as digestion, and many others. It's said to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-depressant properties as well. Sound too good to be true? Below, we dig a bit deeper into what this ingredient does and why it's so good for you.
Rosa Damascena (or Damask Rose)
While there are over 7000 varieties identified in the Rosaceae family, only a few can source pure rose nectar. Cultivated for over 300 years, the Bulgarian Rosa Damascena is one of the best-known oil-bearing flowers and contains one of the highest vibrations of all the flowers the world (at 320 Hz). So, simply applying topically, ingesting, or inhaling its nectar can drastically change the way we feel.
Still, a distinction must be made between rose extract and pure rose nectar. Many rose extracts are mixed in with oil or distilled water. However, pure rose nectar is generally obtained from undried, organic rose petals after undergoing a complex process of steam distillation—growing, harvesting, and extracting the liquid from the Damask rose does not happen overnight. Damask roses are ready to be gathered for extraction after three weeks in late spring in the Rose Valley of Bulgaria. Each flower is hand-picked at dawn and immediately (within hours) extracted to preserve all of their 200 chemical compounds. Left behind is a highly-concentrated and unrefined nectar.
Why Should I Be Drinking It?
More than just beneficial for your beauty regimen, the medicinal value of consuming rose nectar from the Damask rose has been widely demonstrated to promote positive health benefits that can contribute to a healthier, longer life. According to a recent study such such benefits include: "treatment of abdominal and chest pain, strengthening the heart, digestive problems, and reduction of inflammation." Historically, it's also been used as a cough remedy, a gentle laxative, and helpful in the reduction of headaches.
#1 It Helps Improve Your Skin
Damask rose nectar provides protection from UV light, pollutants, and other damaging factors. This includes chronic acne, eczema, rosacea, or dermatitis, which may be relieved by its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Moreover, rose nectar protects you from harmful skin-aging enzymes and contains vitamins A, B, C, and E to deeply hydrate and control the accumulation of dirt and oil.
#2 It May Aid in Weight Loss
The petals of the rose flower are rich in pectin—a type of soluble fiber found in most nutrient-dense foods. There are two primary ways pectin can aid in weight loss: decreasing fat absorption and by creating a feeling of fullness. After being digested, pectin binds with fat and cholesterol in the intestines and as a result, removes them before they absorb in the body. Pectin also absorbs water in the stomach and will typically form a mass that expands the stomach and triggers stretch receptors to send satiety signals to the brain that your stomach is full.
#3 It Can Provide a Mood Boost
If you’re feeling on-edge or have issues with anxiety or depression, consuming rose nectar has been shown to provide antidepressant and anxiolytic effects by calming your central nervous system. It's even said the mere smell of the Rosa Damascena flower could reduce stress level hormones.
#4 It Strengthens Your Immune System
A high concentration of vitamin C is found in pure rose nectar, and, when ingested, orally, rapidly absorbs in the body to support the immune system. Rose nectar, in addition to being rich in vitamin C, also contains antibacterial properties that speed up the healing of injuries and scars, as well as fight a number of bacterial infections including urinary tract infections (UTI).
#5 It Gets Your Digestion Going
Drinking rose nectar can also improve your digestive health and combat that "tied in knots" stomach feeling. A 2008 study saw a positive influence on digestion in subjects after drinking pure rose nectar, as well as an improvement in the flow of bile (which may quell bloating, aches, gas, hyperacidity, and other gastrointestinal discomforts). Rose nectar may also be used to address reflux as a mild laxative. Researchers found rose nectar not only helps increase the water volume of waste, but can also increase the frequency of restroom visits.
To Good Health and High Vibrations
Rose nectar is derived from plants that grow indigenous to the earth. There are no known risks for ingesting it orally (with the exception of an unknown allergy), making it drinkable and safe. Though, due to its potency, products made of 100% pure rose nectar are ideally best-enjoyed after being diluted in water or your favorite beverage.
As always, check with your personal doctor to go over your choices before making any changes to your medication.
Next up, read about how our editor hated drinking water, until she tried these magical rose drops.
Mahboubi M. Rosa damascena as holy ancient herb with novel applications. J Tradit Complement Med. 2015;6(1):10–16. doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2015.09.005
Lee MH, Nam TG, Lee I, et al. Skin anti-inflammatory activity of rose petal extract (Rosa gallica) through reduction of MAPK signaling pathway. Food Sci Nutr. 2018;6(8):2560–2567. doi:10.1002/fsn3.870