Rose has been one of the most popular oils since ancient times, used by many in various forms; rose is known as the oil for lovers due to its aphrodisiac properties, and has seduced famous lovers such as Anthony and Cleopatra of Egypt and Josephine and Napoleon Bonaparte of France. However, rose oil today may not be the same as that in history; rose oil may be falsely described, adulterated or may actually be rose fragrance oil.
Rose Essential Oil
Rose essential oil is steam or water distilled from the fresh rose petals of the rose plant. Most rose essential oil is extracted from Damask rose (rosa damascena),although it is possible to extract rose oil from Cabbage rose (rosa centifolia) too. Rose is an expensive essential oil to produce due to the minute quantities extracted in a distillation; a distillation of 60,000 rose petals produces one ounce of pure rose essential oil.
Rose Geranium Oil
Geranium essential oil (Pelargonium graveolens) is sometimes called rose geranium oil; although geranium essential oil has a rose-like scent, it is not rose essential oil, and does not possess the same properties as rose essential oil. Even more confusingly, geranium essential oil can be adulterated with a minute quantity of rose essential oil and be referred to as rose geranium oil. Pure geranium essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves of the geranium plant.
Rose Fragrance Oil
Fragrance oils are not essential oils; fragrance oils are synthetically made and are not extracted from plants. Fragrance oils do not possess any of the properties which essential oils do although they may have a similar fragrance. Rose fragrance oil is significantly cheaper than rose essential oil as it mass produced in a factory and not steam distilled from a plant.
Adulteration of Rose Oil
Due to the high cost of producing pure rose essential oil and subsequent high retail price, pure rose essential oil is frequently adulterated. Rose essential oil may be adulterated with essential oils of similar fragrances, such as geranium essential oil and palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini) essential oil, or rose essential oil may be adulterated with synthetic fragrance components.
Rose essential oil is an extremely complex essential oil in its chemical make-up; there are estimated to be over 300 constituents in rose essential oil. Therefore, exact replication of rose essential oil is extremely difficult; although some adulterated rose oils may possess similar fragrances, an adulterated rose oil will not possess the same properties as a pure rose essential oil.
Uses of Rose Oil
Rose essential oil possesses many properties which are beneficial to women; rose essential oil is helpful for stress, depression, female hormonal problems, female reproductive problems and in skin care. Rose fragrance oil does not have any therapeutic properties. Geranium essential oil also has properties which are useful in treating many difficulties associated with women.
Different Varieties of Rose Oil
It is important to identify the differences between rose essential oil, geranium essential oil and rose geranium essential oil for aromatherapy use. The rose plant also produces a rose absolute, obtained by solvent extraction of the rose petals, but the end product is not pure as it contains traces of the chemicals used in the extraction process. However, rose absolute, rose water and rose fragrance oils are often used in the perfumery industry for fragrance purposes.