Love Trust Self-acceptance
The damask rose is a hardy, deciduous, bushy shrub with a height and spread of up to two metres (six feet). It has grey-green foliage and fragrant double flowers, pink in bud and fading to almost white. Most Rosa damascena is cultivated in the Balkan mountains of southern Bulgaria, in the Valley of the Roses.
Originating from Asia, there are some 250 different species of rose, and over 10,000 different hybrid varieties. It is the Bulgarian damask rose, cultivated since the 16th century, which is considered to produce the finest quality distilled essence, or “otto”. Most rose oil produced in France is extracted by solvents from cabbage rose, to produce an “absolute”. because it requires as many as 60,000 roses (57kg/120lbs) to make 28g (1oz) of rose otto, the absolute is significantly cheaper, and it is therefore used by the perfumery industry.
Rose was called “the queen of flowers” by the Greek poet Sappho. The gentle, exquisite sweetness of its aroma, together with its considerable therapeutic value, ensured its special place in the medicine and perfumery of the Ancient persian, Egyptian, Indian, Greek and Roman civilization. It is no less revered today.
In terms of Oriental medicine, rose is cool and moist in nature, clears heat and inflammation, and helps to restore the body’s yin energy. It is generally indicated for inflamed, toxic and infectious conditions, and for anxiety and depression.
Cooling and regulating the Liver, rose oil is indicated for hot, stagnant conditions that result in tension, irritability, headache, and constipation. It can improve the flow of bile, reduce nausea, and help to relieve cholecystitis. Long considered a tonic of the uterus, its astringent and haemostatic actions make it indicated for excessive menstrual bleeding- especially combined with oils of cypress and geranium.
Rose oil is one of the most suitable ingredients of ointments and lotions for the skin, particularly when it is inflamed or dehydrated, or affected by rashes or boils. Rosewater, too, is excellent for soothing and toning skin which is sensitive and dry.
A gentle tonic of the Heart, the key to rose’s psychological properties lie mainly in its effect on the Mind, the centre of our emotional being. Rose oil calms and yet supports the Heart, helping to nourish the Heart-yin and restore a sense of well-being. It is of benefit for nervous anxiety, insomnia and palpitations.
On a more subtle level, the power of rose may by symbolized by its traditional classification as a Herb of Love. Sacred to Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love, beauty, and fertility, the enticing floral sensuality of rose oil has made it a renowned aphrodisiac. At the same time, the damask rose is the Holy Rose, a symbol of God’s love for the world. it is often shown surrounding the Virgin, as when she appeared to St. Bernadette at Lourdes.
The compassion of the flower is revealed through its ability to heal emotional wounds. When rejection or less has injured our capacity for self-love and nurturing, rose oil brings a sweet, gentle comfort, binding the heart-strings of the Mind. Bringing warmth to a soul grown cold through abuse or hurt, rose oil can touch the deepest despair, restoring the trust that makes it possible to love again.