What is Rose Water?
Roses aren’t just nice in gardens or bouquets, they have been an essential medicinal, cosmetic and even ritualistic ingredient since ancient times. Rose water specifically is an ancient recipe of flavored water made of Damask rose petals steeped in water or distilled with steam.
This technique is believed to come from ancient Persia, but ancient Greeks and Romans likewise used rose water for a variety of purposes. A scarce resource in the olden days, rose water turned into a widely available product today.
Rose water shouldn't be confused with rose oil or rosehips, both of which are remarkable in their own right but aren't quite the same as rose water. Rose water is a by-product of the production of rose oil, which is more concentrated and has somewhat different uses, whereas rosehips are the fruit of the dog rose plant, which is a different species of rose altogether.
How to Use Rose Water
Traditionally, rose water has been used as a skincare product and a soothing remedy, but also as a frequent feature in several dessert and drink recipes, such as puddings, cakes, sherbet, and herbal teas. Rose water is used to prepare rose syrup and rose jelly as well, both of which are popular confectioner’s ingredients.
You can apply rose water on a cotton pad a swipe across your face as a hydrating toner. Finally, you can also transfer the rose water into a mister bottle and spray to rehydrate your skin or on your pillow or clothing to relieve stress and lift your mood.
Using rose water in cooking and topically is associated with a multitude of health benefits, which is exactly what we’ll discuss next.
1. Soothes Skin Redness, Irritation, and Acne
Rose water is frequently used in cosmetic products as an ingredient that can help lower the inflammation in the skin. Rose water is very mild and can even be used by those suffering from inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema, rosacea, acne or psoriasis to soothe and decrease the redness in their skin.
Rose water also has some antimicrobial effects, making it a great choice for acne-prone skin. But everyone’s skin, regardless of your age or skin concerns, can benefit from the soothing and hydrating properties of rose water, so just use it before you apply a moisturizer on clean skin and you’ll see how your skin becomes more balanced, less puffy, dry, red or inflamed over time.
2. Has Anti Aging Benefits
Apart from being capable of soothing the skin, rose water is full of antioxidants, making it an excellent choice for aging skin. The antioxidants in rose water will protect skin cells from UV damage, pollution and free radicals, all of which contribute to the development of fine lines and wrinkles.
That’s exactly why you frequently see rose oil, rose water and other ingredients derived from roses in skincare products intended for mature skin. The only thing is that these products can be quite expensive, so if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, rose water may be a good choice for you.
3. Improves a Sore Throat
A sore and inflamed throat can be remedied by a rinse with rose water, which has known anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can help soothe the lining of the throat.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that rose water can replace the treatment prescribed by your doctor, but it’s a good extra remedy to keep in mind. One study also showed that it can release muscle tension in one’s throat, so it might even help relieve a hoarse voice.
4. Promotes Eye Health
Rose water is frequently added to products as an antiseptic, particularly to eye drops and has been shown to prevent and treat irritation and infections. These drops are used to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms and pain that come with eye conditions like conjunctivitis, dry eye, as well as degenerative conditions, e.g. some types of cataract.
We don’t recommend using kitchen or cosmetic grade rose water as eye drops, however, as these types of rose water may not be safe for your eyes. Rose water eye drops intended for the eye area, on the other hand, undergo additional clarification and can be safely used in your eyes.
5. Heals Small Cuts and Burns
The antiseptic properties don’t just help heal acne or inflammatory skin conditions, you can use it to clean and make small burns, cuts, including razor burn, heal faster. Some people also swear by rose water to help decrease the appearance of scars.
6. Relieves Headaches and Fights Stress
We can all benefit from a little de-stressing, and rose water has been shown to relieve the effects of stress, help stress-related headaches and boost one’s mood. This may be due to the pleasant scent of roses, which can have an overall calming and relaxing effect on your brain and central nervous system altogether.
Rose inhalations and compresses soaked in rose water are even sometimes used as an extra treatment to relieve anxiety and depression.
7. Boosts Digestion and Relieves Constipation
For millennia, rose water has been used to both help an upset stomach and treat bloating. Studies show that this may be because consuming rose water promotes bile secretion. Apart from that, ingesting rose water may have a laxative effect, which makes it a good choice in relieving constipation.
How to Make Rose Water at Home
Rose water is available in stores, but if you want to try to make your own rose water at home, you can follow this quick and easy recipe. But before you run into your rose garden and start plucking rose leaves, keep in mind that not all roses are edible and suitable to make rose water.
First of all, the roses have to be pesticide-free, preferably organic, and fresh. The three edible rose species are Rosa damascena, Rosa centifolia, and Rosa gallica, pictures of which you can find above.
The preparation is actually quite simple. Simply place 1 packed cup (only about 2 grams) of fresh rose petals into a glass jar, then pour 2 cups (473 ml) of boiling distilled water over them, cover with a lid and steep until cool. Then strain the liquid and keep sealed in a sterilized jar in the fridge.
You will be able to use this liquid both for cosmetic purposes and in cooking, but we don't recommend using it as eye drops or to treat open wounds because homemade rose water is not sterile.