Rose water is flavored water that is made from infusing water with rose petals. It has been used for a long time as a mild natural perfume in place of chemical-filled fragrances.
Rose water has a long history and is said to have been used by prominent historical legends, kings, and queens for their wellness throughout many centuries. Bulgarian roses, also called damask roses, are the most used type of rose in making rose water for wellness uses.
The Damask rose is believed to have originated from the Middle East. Its first documentation was in what is now Iran, in the Ancient Persian Empire. The imperial family owned huge rose gardens in the times of the Sasanian imperial dynasty.
They were planted not only for their beauty but to help the people bask in their beautiful houses. The dynasty prince owned fountains that were filled with rose petals. That was to ensure that the princess was pleased by their sweet scent as she walked in the open air around the fountains.
The first invention of rose water is credited to Avicenna, who was a 10th-century Persian scientist. He also assisted in making it a profitable trade between their empire and other empires. Thanks to that trade, rose water later spread to Rome and Egypt.
Romans not only used the rose water for its fragrance benefits but also to scent their wines and for the beauty of their skin. The rose water also spread to India, where emperors sprinkled it in their homes for ultimate sophistication and luck in welcoming royal guests.
After several years, the Damask rose made its way to the Bulgarian region, where until today, it is cultivated in a place known as the Valley of roses.
The roses in the Bulgarian region are grown in perfect soil and climate, which is why they are the most sought out roses. That makes the growers the global leaders in the rose industry.
Some of its uses in food, beverages, and the beauty industry have spread through history and are still being used to date.
How Rose Water is Made
Rose water is made through a process that involves soaking rose petals in distilled water. The water with the petals then goes through steam distillation, and it is in the last step of the steam distillation that rose water is made.
That procedure is done in the large rose water manufacturing companies, but that does not mean that you can’t make your rose water at home. The process is easy and does not require you to have a lot of money or complicated equipment.
The first thing you have to do is ensure that you have the best quality rose petals for the process. The best roses are the ones that are freshly picked, but you can also go for dried ones. The most important thing is to ensure that there are no chemicals on your petals.
If you want a specific aroma to your rosewater, then you have to choose the color wisely because not all roses have a rosy smell. Pink and red roses are the ones that have the strongest rosy smell, especially the ones whose colors are darkest and petals are thick.
Yellow and white roses often smell like lemon, nasturtium, or violets, while the orange ones have a more fruity smell. There are several methods you can use to make your rose water at home.
This is the most traditional method used to make rose water and is also the main one used in industrial production. This produces the most concentrated rose water. Some of the things you will need include;
- A glass bowl (or any other heat-tolerant material)
- A pot with a lid
- Ice cubes
- Distilled water
- Sealed container
Homemade Rose Water Procedure
Get your petals, and rinse them 5-7 times. That helps remove any bugs, dirt, and dust on the surface. Get enough petals depending on how much water you want or how concentrated you want it. One cup equals 2-3 full flowers.
Put your bowl in the middle of the large pot, and spread the petals around it.
Add water around the bowl. Ensure it is enough to cover the petals but does not go over the bowl.
Place the lid on top of the pot upside down, and have the ice cubes on top of it. The ice cubes help with making condensation, and the upside-down lid helps the condensed water move to the center and drip into the bowl.
Turn on your burner to medium, and ensure that the water only reaches steaming level and does not boil.
If the ice cubes melt, keep replacing them with new ones.
How much time the distillation process continues depends on how many rose petals you have and how much rose water you want. However, the rose petals start fading after about 20-25 minutes, which means that they have given almost all their color and smell.
Turn off the heat and allow the water to cool before uncovering it. Transfer your rose water to a clean and sealed spray bottle or jar, and let it cool. Store it in the refrigerator.
You can also strain the water that had the petals in it for more rose water.
Rose Water Simmering or Infusion Method
This method is faster than the steam distillation, but it produces less concentrated rose water. The instruments you need include;
- Distilled water
- A large pot
- A strainer
- Sealed container
- Get your rose petals and rinse them about 5-7 times to remove bugs and dirt from the surface.
- Put your petals in a large pot, and add enough water to cover them.
- Put the pot over the stove and turn it on until the water begins to simmer. Reduce the heat such that the water will not boil.
- Let the water simmer for about 15-30 minutes when the rose petals begin to lose their color.
- Turn off the heat and leave the water with the pot lid on to cool completely.
- Use the strainer to separate the rose petals from the water. For a more concentrated color, squeeze the rose petals and remove as much water as you can, and add it to the strained water.
- Transfer the water into a clean spray bottle or jar and seal it.
- Store it in the refrigerator.
The Rose Water Crushing Method
This is a less common method, but you can use it to produce more rose water. It also takes the longest time. Gather the needed equipment, which are;
A large pot
Mortar and pestle
Gather your roses and rinse them thoroughly, then divide them into two piles.
Crush one pile with your mortar and pestle.
Transfer the crushed juice into a bowl and leave it for about 3 hours until it thickens. Add the other pile or petals and mix them and leave them for another day at room temperature.
Put the mixture into a ceramic saucepan and let it simmer under low heat. Remove it from the stove after you see bubbles and pour your rose water through a strainer.
Transfer the water into a container, seal it and leave it in a sunny spot for around 2-3 hours.
Benefits of Rose Water
Now that you know rose water is made, you should know about the benefits of having a glass or two of rose water every day.
You can also add it to tap water to cover up the taste and smell when drinking it. Numerous benefits come with drinking rose water, including;
- Enhances mood- Rose water is packed with strong antianxiety and antidepressant properties that help fight depression and anxiety, improving your mood.
- Helps improve the skin- Rose water has a lot of antioxidants that offer anti-aging benefits, helps reduce wrinkles, dark spots, and shrinking pores. It also helps the skin remain hydrated and glowing throughout the day.
- Helps with infections- It contains antiseptic properties that help prevent and heal internal and external infections.
- Helps in digestion problems- Rose water has a lot of fiber which helps improve digestion and reduce constipation. It also has flavonoids that help with inflammation that helps reduce bloating.
- Has many vitamins- It is packed with vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and B3.
- Helps in wound healing- Its antibacterial and antiseptic properties help wounds heal faster. It helps in wounds caused by burns or cuts.
- Helps in weight loss- Rose water can help you lose weight because of its benefits in the digestive system. Drinking it also makes you feel full, which reduces the food you eat.
- Relieves headaches- Stress is one main cause of headaches, and the antidepressant and antianxiety properties of rose water help it reduce stress, hence reducing the severity and occurrence of headaches.
You can use rose water in many other different ways except drinking. You can incorporate it into your daily skincare routine and use it as a toner. You can also make a facemask out of it, and it helps tighten your skin and even your completion.