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Rosa damascena


Rosa damascena

[span class=alert]In regards to the Traditional Use and Therapeutic Action sections of Essential Oils, the oils are rated as is standard practice in the French school of aromatherapy and others. The ratings ranked from one (+) to four (++++) with four indicating the highest value, indicate the oil’s therapeutic value from a practicing clinician’s point of view. The French rating system mentioned are obtained from this book reference entitle ‘Les Cahiers Pratiques D'Aromatherapie Selon L'Ecole Francaise’ (Authors: Francine Baudry, Pascal Debauche & Dominique Baudoux). However, further clarification might be required and will be updated once additional information of the rating system is obtained.[/span]

Family Name


Genus Name


Vernacular Name

Damask rose, attar of rose, rose, rose oil, Turkish rose, Bulgarian rose, rose otto, rosea

Original Habitat

R. damascena grows from one to two metres tall. While it is cultivated throughout the world, its origins are thought to be in the Middle East. It was introduced to Europe from Asia around the 12th century and has been highly valued for its fragrance throughout history. These deciduous shrubs grow best in light, well-drained, fertile soil. The R. damascena plant is revered as the "Flower of Prophet Mohammad" in Iran.[1]

Plant Part Used



The essential oil of R. damascena is used in the food and beverage industry to flavour baked goods, gelatin, candy and beverages.[2] The high cost of producing the essential oil (2000 rose petals per drop of oil) limits its use in the fragrance industry to high end perfumes, where it is used regularly to alter or enhance the scent of a blend. Rose absolutes are more economical to produce and are used in high and medium priced fragrances. In therapeutic aromatherapy it is used both as a single oil and in formulations, but its use is limited due to the expense.


The essential oil of R. damascena is steam-distilled from fresh petals. It is clear to greenish-yellow in colour and thin in consistency. It has a profoundly characteristic rosy floral aroma and top note that is tenacious.

Chemical Constituents

Terpenic alcohols: Geraniol (12%), citronellol (7%), nerol (5%)
Aromatic alcohols: Phenyl-ethyl (2%)
Sesquiterpenic alcohols: Farnesol (1%)
Terpenic esters, phenols, oxides, nitrogenized components, hydro carbide [3][4]
beta-Damascenone, beta-ionone and beta-damascone [5]

Medicinal Uses

General tonic and strengthener, aphrodisiac +++
Skin tonic, astringent, cicatrizing +++
Antihemorrhagic ++

Antiseizure: And animal study illustrated that when injected with rose essential oil, amygdala electrical kindling-induced seizures were greatly hindered. This process was thought to occur via GABAA receptors in the rats.[6]

Antimicrobial: Damask rose oil demonstrated antimicrobial activity against Xanthomonas axonopodis spp. Vesicatoria[7] and against Staphylococcus aureus.[8] A separate study found that this oil demonstrated antibacterial activity against 15 strains of bacteria in a laboratory setting.[9] These findings have been supported in additional laboratory settings.[10]

Antioxidant: Laboratory analysis has determined that the essential oil of R. damascene has antioxidant activity and that the oil extracted from fresh flowers demonstrates stronger antioxidant activity than the oil extracted from spent flowers.[10] Other studies support this antioxidant activity, but have primarily used an extract rather than the oil

Traditional Use

Sexual asthenia, frigidity, impotency +++
Wrinkles, blotchiness, scars, scabs +++
Nervous depressions, heart-break ++

Anxiolytic/Relaxant: Animal studies have confirmed anxiolytic or relaxant properties of both rose essential oil [11] and extract.[12] This was then tested in a human placebo study. Relaxant effects of rose essential oil were tested against autonomic and emotional measures in forty healthy individuals. Blood pressure, breathing, and pulse rate among other parameters were assessed and recorded. After placebo or rose oil was applied transdermally, with olfactory stimulation blocked, arousal measures decreased and relaxation measures increased in the rose group as compared with the placebo group.[13]

Contraindications and Precautions

None for prescribed doses if the product is pure. However, due to the expense of the product, adulteration is common and skin sensitisation is possible.[2]

Not to be used on pregnant or nursing women.



[span class=alert]Keep out of reach of children as oils are highly concentrated.Essential oils are irritating to the eyes.  Avoid contact with eye area.Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil, lotion, cream or gel even when using in diffuser or bath.Essential oils are sometimes prescribed to be used internally, but should only be used internally under professional supervision.[/span]

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  1) Botanical Info


  1. Nikbakht A, Kafi M. A study on the relationships between Iranian people and Damask rose (Rosa damascene) and its therapeutic and healing properties.I SHS Acta Horticulturae 790: VIII International People-Plant Symposium on Exploring Therapeutic Powers of Flowers, Greenery and Nature.
  2. Lis-Balchan M. Aromatherapy Science: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2006.
  3. Almasirad A. Composition of a historical rose oil sample (Rosa damascena Mill., Rosaceae). JEOR. 2007;19(2):110-112.
  4. Bayrak A. Volatile oil composition of Turkish rose (Rosa damascena). J Food Sci Tech. Sep2006;64(4):441-448.
  5. Suzuki M, Matsumoto S, Mizoguchi M, Hirata S, Takagi K, Hashimoto I, Yamano Y, Ito M, Fleischmann P, Winterhalter P, Morita T, Watanabe N. Identification of (3S, 9R)- and (3S, 9S)-megastigma-6,7-dien-3,5,9-triol 9-O-beta-D-glucopyranosides as damascenone progenitors in the flowers of Rosa damascena Mill. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. Dec2002;66(12):2692-2697.
  6. Ramezani R. The effect of Rosa damascena essential oil on the amygdala electrical kindling seizures in rat. Pak J Biol Sci. 1 Mar2008;11(5):746-751.
  7. Basim E. Antibacterial activity of Rosa damascena essential oil. Fitoterapia. Jun2003;74(4):394-396.
  8. Andogan BC, Baydar H, Kaya S, Demirci M, Ozbasar D, Mumcu E. Antimicrobial activity and chemical composition of some essential oils. Journal Archives of Pharmacal Res. 2002;25(6):860-864.
  9. Ozkan G, Sagdic O, Baydar NG, Baydar H. Note: antioxidant and antibacterial activities of Rosa Damascena flower extracts. Food Science and Technology International. 2004;10(4):277-281.
  10. Lisin G, Safiyev S, Craker LE. Antimicrobial activity of some essential oils. ISHS Acta Horticulturae 501: II WOCMAP Congress Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Part 2: Pharmacognosy, Pharmacology, Phytomedicine, Toxicology.
  11. Bradley BF, Starkeyb NJ, Brown SL, Lea RW. The effects of prolonged rose odor inhalation in two animal models of anxiety. Physiology & Behavior. 2007;92(5):931-938.
  12. Boskabady MH. Relaxant effects of Rosa damascena on guinea pig tracheal chains and its possible mechanism(s). J Ethnopharmacol. 19 Jul2006;106(3):377-382.
  13. Hongratanaworakit T. Relaxing effect of rose oil on humans. Nat Prod Commun. Feb2009;4(2):291-296.

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