Rose Water: Benefits and Uses

Medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT on May 22, 2017Written by Ana Gotter

What is rose water?

Rose water is created by distilling rose petals with steam. Rose water is fragrant, and it’s sometimes used as a mild natural fragrance as an alternative to chemical-filled perfumes.

Rose water has been used for thousands of years, including in the Middle Ages. It’s thought to have originated in what is now Iran. It’s been used traditionally in both beauty products and food and drink products. It also comes with plenty of potential health benefits, including the following.

1. Helps soothe skin irritation

One of the greatest benefits of rose water is its strong anti-inflammatory properties. These properties can help treat multiple ailments, both internal and external. It may even help soothe the irritation of eczema or rosacea.

2. Soothes sore throats

Doctors often prescribe antibiotics for sore throats, but you may want to try rose water as well. Rose water has traditionally been used to soothe sore throats. While research is needed to prove its effectiveness, there’s strong anecdotal evidence to support it and very little risk in trying it.

3. Reduces skin redness

Rose water has been used as a beauty product for thousands of years, so it’s no surprise that it can improve your complexion and reduce skin redness. The antibacterial properties may help reduce acne. The anti-inflammatory properties can reduce skin redness and puffiness.

4. Helps prevent and treats infections

Rose water has powerful antiseptic properties, which can prevent and treat infections. Because of this, rose water is often included in a variety of natural and medicinal treatments. One study even found that when rose water was used in eye drops to treat conjunctivitis cases, its antiseptic and analgesic properties helped in treating the ocular disease.

5. Contains antioxidants

Rose petals and rose oil contain a number of powerful antioxidants, which can help protect cells from damage. One study found that these antioxidants had potential lipid peroxidation inhibitory effects. This provides powerful cell protection as a result.

6. Heals cuts, scars, and burns

Rose water has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that can help wounds heal faster. These properties can help clean and fight off infection of cuts and burns. They can also help cuts, burns, and even scars heal faster.

7. Enhances mood

Rose water can have strong antidepressant and antianxiety properties. A 2011 study found that the extract of rose petals can relax the central nervous system in mice. This resulted in antidepressant and antianxiety effects.

8. Relieves headaches

Rose water and rose essential oil are commonly used in aromatherapy to help relieve headaches. This may be due to the de-stressing effects discussed in the section above. One study found that the vapor of rose water can soothe headaches. Another option is to apply a compress soaked in rose water to the head for 45 minutes for positive results.

9. Has anti-aging properties

Rose water is often found in beauty products aimed to reduce wrinkles. That’s because it may actually have anti-aging effects. In addition to soothing irritated skin, it may reduce the appearance of wrinkles when applied topically.

10. Soothes digestion problems

In folk medicine, rose water has been used to aid in digestion and reduce digestive upset. According to a 2008 study, there is some evidence that rose water can positively influence digestion and relieve digestive upset. It may also improve bile secretion, which can further aid digestion.

Forms and doses

You can buy or make rose water relatively easily. You can apply it to the skin topically on its own, or mix it with moisturizers or natural oils like coconut oil.

You can also use rose water to make rose water tea or rose petal tea. These improve hydration, provide skin benefits, treat digestive distress, and soothe a sore throat.

Potential risks

Rose water is considered to be safe. There are no known risks for the general population to use it either topically or by ingesting it. The only exception is if you are allergic to the substance.

How to use it

You can purchase rose water, or you can make it yourself. Once you have it, there are a number of different ways you can use it, including the following:

  • Use it as a facial cleanser or toner. Just rinse your face with rose water after washing with your normal cleanser.
  • Use it in recipes, such as hibiscus iced tea with rose water.
  • Create a rose water mist by adding it to a spray bottle. This can relieve stress. You can mist the rose water on your wrists, face, or even onto your pillow.
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