There’s a reason roses are the ultimate symbol of love and affection. Yes, the blooms are beautiful, but the aroma of roses is just as intoxicating. One sniff makes you feel instantly appreciated and adored…so why wouldn’t you want to have that scent around all the time? Enter rose essential oil, which is extracted from the delicate petals of the flowers. And as an extra bonus, there are numerous health perks you can get from inhaling the scent of rose essential oil. Read on for six rose essential oil benefits, plus expert advice on how to maximize the perks.
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6 rose essential oil benefits
“Rose essential oil is a powerful healing oil for women's health,” cheers natural health expert Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, creator of The Essential Oils Healing Deck. Here are six of the study- and expert-proven benefits of rose essential oil:
1. Rose oil can quell pain
Researchers in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that the scent of rose oil significantly reduces pain. In their study of patients experiencing pain, those who inhaled the scent of rose essential oil saw a dramatic reduction in pain levels as reported on a scale of one to 10. (Keep scrolling for more ways rose oil helps relieve pain.)
2. Rose essential oil curbs PMS symptoms
"In my professional experience, rose essential oil serves as a gentle yet powerful companion for women seeking relief from the ups and downs of PMS,” says Lulu Shimek, ND, a naturopathic physician at Kale Diagnostics, a holistic medicine practice. “The unique compounds in rose essential oil, particularly geraniol, have demonstrated the potential to provide relief from menstrual discomfort and emotional imbalances.” Indeed, in a study published in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, participants used aromatherapy for 5 minutes twice daily for the five days when they were experiencing PMS symptoms. One group used rose essential oil, while the other group used sweet almond oil. The results: Those who used rose essential oil saw improvements in PMS symptoms, while the group that sniffed the almond oil saw no improvements. (Click through to learn more about the berry that eases PMS and menopause symptoms.)
3. Rose oil promotes relaxation
In a study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, investigators found that inhaling the scent of rose essential oil for 40 minutes prompted a significant reduction in levels of the stress hormone cortisol. And in a review of 13 clinical trials on the benefits of rose oil published in the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, investigators found that exposing subjects to the scent for just 90 seconds eased pain and anxiety and induced a sense of calm. The scientists in both studies credit the perk with the oil’s ability to decrease activity in the right prefrontal cortex — an effect associated with brighter moods and fewer negative emotions. (Click through to discover natural ways to lower cortisol in the morning.)
4. Rose essential oil can ward off anxiety
If you’re about to face something that’s making you antsy, spending 15 minutes inhaling the aroma of rose essential oil beforehand can help, say scientists in the European Journal of Integrative Medicine. They tested aromatherapy using rose oil on patients about to go into the operating room for surgery and found that those who sniffed rose oil had an immediate reduction in anxiety levels of up to 48% compared to the control group who didn’t have any scents diffused in their rooms before surgery. (Click through for the natural 'tapping' technique that eases anxiety.)
5. Rose oil boosts libido
“Rose essential oil improves hormonal balance, eases menopausal symptoms and has aphrodisiac effects in both women and men,” says Schoffro Cook. Indeed, a study published in the International Journal of Women’s Health and Reproduction Sciences found that aromatherapy combining lavender, geranium, fennel and rose oils, along with a gingko biloba supplement, led to a 24% improvement in factors like orgasms, arousal and vaginal lubrication in post-menopausal women by 24%, plus boosted libido by 38%.
6. Rose essential oil improves sleep quality
In addition to its ability to promote relaxation and tamper anxiety, rose oil may also help you sleep better. Research in the Journal of Perianesthesia Nursing looked at people working in hospitals (a high-stress environment) and had them inhale either rose or a placebo oil for 10 minutes at the beginning of their shift and then attach a cloth saturated with five drops of oil to their pillow for 30 nights. At the end of the month, their sleep quality had improved up to 42%. (Click through for more on the sleep-inducing benefits of lavender tea.)
How to experience rose essential oil benefits
There are two primary ways to get the benefits of rose essential oil: By inhaling the aroma or by applying the oil to your skin topically. “Rose essential oil has significant therapeutic effects when applied to the skin and inhaled,” notes Schoffro Cook. “The best results involve both inhalation and topical application,” she says. “For example, if you applied an oil to your neck and shoulders to help ease muscle tension, inhaling the oil might also produce relaxation or reduce anxiety, so both are helpful.”
Get the benefits with a diffuser
Inhaling the aroma of the oil will trigger the benefits through your olfactory system, Schoffro Cook explains. Your nose collects the scent and sends signals to your brain. While you could sniff the oil directly from the bottle, many of the study-proven perks of rose essential oil come from being exposed to the aroma for 15 to 30 minutes at a time, which is easiest if you are using a diffuser.
To do: Add a few drops of rose essential oil to a diffuser, like the InnoGear Essential Oil Diffuser (Buy on Amazon, $13.99), then let it mist the fragrance into the room.
Get the benefits by applying it to your skin
You can also get the perks of rose essential oil by rubbing it directly into your skin.
To do: Mix 1 to 3 drops of rose essential oil with half a teaspoon of a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or mineral oil. Rose essential oil is one of the gentler essential oils so it does not need to be diluted, but mixing it with a carrier oil means you can cover a larger area. And since rose is one of the pricier essential oils, mixing it with a carrier oil will make your bottle go farther as well.
Two formulations of rose essential oil we like: Plant Therapy Rose Absolute Essential Oil (buy at PlantTherapy.com, $34.99 for a 0.17-oz. bottle) and Aromatics International Rose Absolute Oil (buy at Aromatics.com, $63 for a 0.17-oz. bottle).
For more on essential oils, click through the links below!