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  • Writer's pictureNicole Salter

The Rose: A flower with a world of meaning

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

When February 14th approaches, people the world over will be primed to get - and give - masses of roses, preferably the blood red kind. If the rose is your favourite flower, you already get it: the perfectly curved petals, the deep unmistakable scent (at least, we hope you get the aromatic kind!), the way a flawless arrangement of tight buds speaks volumes. But where did the fascination with roses come from? And why does the rose symbolize romance and love, the world over?

Little girl sniffing a red rose

The history behind roses

Have you seen movies and docudramas where conquering soldiers are showered with rose petals as they parade through ancient cities? More proof that roses have been used for literally thousands of years...and not just as confetti! Cultivation of rose gardens can be traced to ancient China and the flowers themselves were used in medicine and perfume. Later, roses came to have other meanings, including:

-Symbols of love in antiquity - the blossom was tied to Aphrodite and Venus, the Greek and Roman goddesses of love

-Symbol of purity: in early Christian times the rose became associated with the Virgin Mary

-Identification symbols: Roses of different colours were used to identify the different factions struggling to control 15th century England ("The War of the Roses")

-Legal tender, to be used as money for payments and bartering

The rose was eventually brought to Europe in the late 1700s where its desirability grew in part because of its perennial nature, which allowed horticulturists to study it and breed it as desired.

Medicinal uses for Rose Absolute (rose essential oil) Of course, you can't always have fresh roses, as much as you might want to! But in order to obtain that delicate rose fragrance naturally, thousands of pounds of rose petals are required to extract just a tiny amount of scent. In fact, it takes 60,000 roses to yield a single ounce of Rose Absolute, making this one of the most expensive commonly used essential oils on the market today. The oil is anti-inflammatory, cooling, and recommended for such uses as:

  • Anti-scarring

  • Stress relief

  • Relief of menstrual cramps

  • Relief of menopausal symptoms

  • Soothing for dry, itchy skin

  • Minimizing the appearance of broken capillaries

Rose Absolute oil and pink blossom

Roses today: Romance and more

With roses now firmly entrenched in our culture as a symbol of love, affection and beauty, it's not surprising that a whole system has sprung up around their colours and their meanings. We use white roses for purity, orange roses for excitement and yellow roses for friendship; there are many rose varietals with almost as many meanings. Yet it's perhaps the scent of a rose that's the most transformative. While many roses now are imported year-round and do not have a noticeable fragrance, no one can forget the smell of fresh blooming garden roses, once having experienced it.

With our sense of smell being incredibly important to memory and sensation, Rose remains a very popular scent for bath and body care products. We love its delicate freshness and unflinching femininity. While there will always be those who think floral scents like rose and lavender are for little old ladies, these nevertheless remain extremely popular fragrances for soaps, bath salts, bath bombs, and creams, especially facial creams and masks like our all-natural Dead Sea Mud Mask.

Pink roses growing in the garden

Because of the subtle nature of Rose Absolute and the quantities required to scent bath products properly, at SaltZ&Co we blend Rose Absolute essential oil with Geranium essential oil and phthalate-free fragrance oil to reproduce the unmistakable, unforgettable fragrance of freshly cut roses.

To sum up about roses - they're a great way to bring a little romance into your life, no matter what day it is! Try this delightful fragrance in a luscious moisturizing rose soap or soothing bath salts with petals, and let us know what you think: does the rose deserve its reputation? Or do you have another favourite?

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