It is rumoured that Queen Cleopatra threw rose petals throughout her room to entice lovers, including Marc Antony. She is known for bathing in a mixture of rosewater, milk and honey to soften and purify her skin. It is believed that her use of roses was the key to her eternal beauty.
The idea of rose as an alluring scent, good medicine and a sexual stimulant has been part of our cultures for centuries.
In middle ages, roses were used as medicine, brewed as tea and used as a scent to literally leave an impression.
The Sufis connected the loving relationship to the divine through the rose. Some Muslims believe roses were white until a single drop of Muhammad’s blood fell upon one and so created the deep red roses that we see today. But this story is challenged by Aphrodite. As the Greek goddess of love, part of her legend tells how she scratched herself with a rose thorn when she heard her lover, Adonis, was in danger. Specks of blood scattered among the white roses, turning them red.
In the ancient Persian empire during the Sasanian imperial dynasty, the imperial family had elaborate rose gardens built for the cultivation of the roses and to better bask in their lovely beauty. The prince had fountains filled with rose petals so that the princess would be misted by their scent as she strolled in the open air.
Avicenna, a 10th century Persian scientist, is credited with the invention of refined rose water. This precious essence soon spread to Egypt and Rome through trade. Beyond the perfume industry, the Romans used the water and rose petals to scent their wine, as well as to use it as a beauty product for their skin.
Rose water is referred to as Gulab, literally means flower (gul) and water (ab). The Persians still use rosewater extensively, in their cooking and in celebrations and ceremonies and as part of their beauty rituals.
Rose essence is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that moisturise the skin. It also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that will reduce redness and soothe any irritation. It is claimed that Rose oil extract can refine, texture, and even treat skin conditions such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.
Rose ‘Queen of Oils’ is also used a lot in Ayurveda medicine and as a flavouring and perfume. Rose Attars are very popular in India, great for the Anahata (heart) chakra and for letting go of past relationships. It is believed Rose cleanses the aura and is an excellent oil for the mother-to-be and after birth. It brings abundance, prosperity and joy.