Essential Oil of Rose – Wisdom of Arabia

Rose Harvester, Taif, Saudi Arabia

Rose Harvester, Taif, Saudi Arabia

Of all the essential oils, rose oil has the highest known electromagetic frequency (320 MHz).  Its flowery fragrance promotes balance, harmony, and a sense of well-being.

For centuries, residents of Arabia have enjoyed these qualities of the rose.  The city of Taif, in the Western Province, is famous for the Damask rose (Rosa damascena) and for its production of rose water and attar, the essential oil which is steam distilled from the petals of the rose.

An ancient tale suggests that a lone traveler from India first brought the rose which resulted in the Damask rose gardens flourishing in the fertile area of Taif, Saudi Arabia.  A different story says that a pilgrim from the ancient rose plantations of Persia brought the rose.  Or perhaps it was the Ottoman Turks, who occupied the area from the 16th century.  Whatever the source, rose gardens have been an important part of this region of the world for centuries.

In earlier times, petals were collected and transported by camel caravans from Taif to Makkah.  Distillers of Indian origin then produced rose oil.  About 200 years ago, a more efficient process was created by bringing the distillation process to Taif. Today in Taif, visitors find hundreds of rose farms, which cultivate the fragrant Damask rose, and approximately 60 distillation plants, which produce rose oil and rose water – very popular products throughout the Middle East.

Flowers are hand-picked early in the morning, before they are affected by the sun’s rays.    Harvesters take the roses directly to the distilleries where the petals are processed immediately to capture the high quality fragrance of the rose and maintain quality.  After all, the King of Arabia himself, as well as the royal family, will be purchasing rose oil and rose water originating from the gardens of Taif.

Arabian Rose Garden

Arabian Rose Garden

In Arabia, rose water and the essential oil of rose are very popular at celebrations.  In addition, rose water is a traditional remedy for the heart and the stomach. Also, the skin and face are cleansed with rose water.  So from wisdom preserved in Arabian history and the gardens of Taif, we are reminded of the benefits of using the essential oil of rose.

Sources:

Lebling, Robert and Donna Pepperdine. Natural Remedies of Arabia. London: Stacey International, 2006.

Manwaring, Brian, ed. Essential Oil Desk Reference, 4th edition. Orem: Essential Science Pubishing, 2007.

Stewart, David. Healing Oils of the Bible. Marble Hill, CARE, Inc., 2002.