The Damask rose was brought to the USA in the 14th century (also known as ‘Summer Damask’) from Persia when the crusading knights were returning. Besides, it was also being used by the ancient Greek civilisation for its medicinal properties and finds significant mention in the Chinese medical literature around CE470. Red rose petals were listed in the British Pharmacopoeia around the 1930s. Here, they were used as flavouring medicines and astringents. According to the literature, the clear beta-damascenone extracted from the rose is an essential oil that is steam-distilled and contains citronellol, which is an insecticidal and anti-rheumatic compound. Botanically known as Rosa x Damascene, the Damask Rose is native to Asia Minor and requires a well-drained, neutral to acid soil for cultivation.
The R. Damascena, has predominantly ornamental purposes and is considered as one of the most important plants of the Rosaceae family. Known fondly as Gole Mohammadi in Iran, it is also referred to as the king of flowers and has over 200 species and about 18000 cultivars.
The R. Damascena comes in different product forms such as rose oil, rose water, dried flowers, and hips and is substituted in several other products that include hydrosol, ethanol, absolute and aqueous.
Pharmacological studies have revealed that the ethanolic extract of the flower has several effects on the central nervous system such as hypnotic, analgesic, protection against neuritic atrophy, anti-convulsant, respiratory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, cardiovascular and most of all anti-HIV.
The flower extract acts as an excellent astringent that provides excess oil control. It cleanses and creates a fresher skin and scalp surface. The petals are rich in vitamins A, B, C and D that act as an essential emollient and moisturises the surface of the skin from deep within. The sugars in the rose treat all conditions including inflammation, irritation and harsh, broken skin. It has a soothing effect as it restores the health of the skin.