Bulgarian Rose (Rosa damascena), also known as Damask Rose or Turkish Rose, is a hybrid species in the Rosaceae family. It is derived from Rosa gallica and Rosa moschata, with Rosa fedtschenkoana also making some genetic contributions to the species. Bulgarian Rose grows as a deciduous shrub, reaching up to seven feet in height and having an irregular sprawling shape. The stems of the plant are lined with many sharp, curved thorns and pinnate leaves. The leaflets are oval and pointed, with a downy underside. Damask Rose flowers grow in bunches on the plant and bloom during May and June. Each flower contains around thirty petals and can vary from light pink to light red. Damask Rose is a cultivated variety that is not found growing in the wild. For best growth and flowering results, it needs full sun exposure, good humidity, and well-draining soil.
Rose has served as a symbol of love, beauty, and status across many cultures and over many years. It is viewed so highly that it has been referred to as the “Queen of Flowers”. The exact origin of the Bulgarian Rose is not known but historians believe it has roots in Damascus, the capital city of Syria while other evidence points to origins in Persia. Bulgarian Rose has also historically been used in the production of fragrances in the Kabul Province of Afghanistan. Some believe that it was Robert de Brie, a French crusader who brought Bulgarian Roses to Europe after taking part in the Siege of Damascus in 1148. Other information states that the roses were brought into colonies in England by ancient Romans. It is thought that a Turkish merchant is responsible for introducing this species of Rose to Bulgaria during the seventeenth century. Bulgaria remained the most notable and reputable producer of Rose Essential Oil up until the First World War. In Bulgaria, there are many cultural traditions, rituals, and festivals that take place to celebrate the famous rose. The high quality and complex aroma of Bulgarian Rose Essential Oil is sometimes attributed to the near-perfect climate and soil conditions of the area.
Harvest & Extraction
Bulgaria has historically dominated the global production of Rose Essential Oil for many years but other current major producing countries include Iran, Morocco, and India. Cultivation in Bulgaria takes place in a region between the Sredna Gora and Balkan mountain ranges called the “Valley of Roses”. The optimal harvest time for Rose flowers is only around twenty to thirty days. Rain is favorable during this period as it allows the roses to bloom at a slow and steady rate. The flowers are picked in the early morning to avoid the essential oil dissipation that can result from sun exposure. Rose Essential Oil is extracted from the flower petals using the hydrodistillation process. The flowers are weighed before being loaded into the still. The ratio of flowers for rose distillation is one part flowers to five parts water. It can take a metric ton of flowers to create one kilogram of Rose Essential Oil. The resulting oil is thin and pale yellow, with a rich sweet floral aroma.
Benefits & Uses
Rose Essential Oil is widely used in perfumery for its rich, sweet, and sensual fragrance that is very versatile. It blends well with many other essential oils and can stand alone as a classic and timeless floral aroma. Rose acts as what is sometimes called a “heart note” that can build an aromatic connection between more ephemeral tops notes and the deeper base notes of a blend. Rose lends a unique richness and body to fragrance blends that make it coveted by many perfumers.
In aromatherapy, Rose Essential Oil is known to balance and uplift emotions. It can help to reduce stress and anxiety and has been observed to have antidepressant properties. The calming effects of rose also help it to improve sleep and combat insomnia. Rose Essential Oil may also help to soothe the respiratory system when diffused and inhaled, even working to ease symptoms of asthma. Rose Essential Oil is also a well-known aphrodisiac, helping to increase sensual feelings and desire. It acts as a symbol of romance and may foster feelings of intimacy and passion between partners.
When diluted and used topically, Rose Essential Oil offers a range of benefits that make it popular in skincare. It acts as an astringent to help clear pores and soften skin texture. Rose Essential Oil can help to balance moisture levels in the skin, working to soothe dryness and prevent blemishes. Anti-aging properties help Rose Essential Oil address issues faced by mature skin such as fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. It can also help to rejuvenate dull skin that may also come with age. Rose Essential Oil decreases irritation and inflammation in the skin while also reducing hyperpigmentation and scarring. Rose Essential Oil can be used to help alleviate many unpleasant menstrual symptoms. It soothes cramps while also helping to regulate the cycle and combat the effects of premenstrual syndrome.
Here are some recipes using Rose Essential Oil that we love...
Uplifted & Stress-Free and Diffuser Blend
- 3 drops of Rose Essential Oil
- 3 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
- 2 drops of Bergamot Essential Oil
- 2 drops of Sweet Orange Essential Oil
Add water to your diffuser up to the fill line. Add drops of the essential oil blend. This diffuser blend recipe is formulated for a 200ml ultrasonic diffuser. Adjust the amount according to the size and directions of your diffuser.
Queen of Flowers Solid Perfume
- (2) 25ml Amber Glass Jars
- 2 tbsp of Sweet Almond Oil
- 4 tsp of Beeswax Pearls
- 10 drops of Rose Essential Oil
- 10 drops of Jasmine Absolute
- 10 drops of Neroli Essential Oil
Heat Sweet Almond Oil and Beeswax Pearls in a double boiler until fully melted. Remove mixture from heat and allow it to cool for a moment. Add essential oils and stir to combine. Pour the liquid into jars and allow the perfume to fully harden before use. To use, rub a clean finger across the top of the perfume and dab on the wrists and nape of the neck. Reapply as needed.
Smooth & Soft Toner
- 4 oz Amber Glass Bottle
- 2 oz Witch Hazel Extract
- 1 oz of Distilled Water
- ½ oz of Aloe Vera Oil
- 20 drops of Rose Essential Oil
- 15 drops of Geranium Essential Oil
- 10 drops of Frankincense Essential Oil
Mix all ingredients in a 4oz glass amber bottle. Shake well to combine. To use, soak a cotton round with the toner and then gently rub it over the face and neck. Shake well before each use. Store in a cool dark place for extended shelf life.
Monthly Relief Roll-On
- 10 ml Amber Glass Roll-On Bottle
- ⅓ oz of Sweet Almond Oil
- 5 drops of Rose Essential Oil
- 5 drops of Cycle Support Blend
Add essential oils to the bottle and fill the rest with Sweet Almond Oil. Replace the roller rollerball cap and gently shake to combine. Roll across the abdomen and gently massage.
A Moment of Intimacy Bath Melts
- 2 oz of Cocoa Butter Wafers
- 1 oz of Jojoba Oil
- 1 tbsp of Dried Rose Petals
- 20 drops of Rose Essential Oil
- 10 drops of Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
- Small Silicone Molds
Heat cocoa butter and jojoba oil on a double boiler until completely melted and combined. Remove the combination from heat and stir in the essential oil blend. Break rose petals into smaller pieces and place a few into each cavity of your silicone mold. Pour the melted butter and oil mixture into each mold. Allow it to harden at room temperature for a few hours or in the refrigerator for thirty minutes to one hour.