Rose Otto Essential Oil (Rosa damascena Mill.)

Rose Otto Essential Oil
  • Rose Otto Essential Oil  1
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Botanical name  Rosa damascena Mill.

Family  Rosaceae

Source   Flower

Origin   Bulgaria

Processing Method  Steam Distilled

Color/Consistency   Clear to a pale yellow or greenish tint.

Aromatic Summary / Note / Strength of Aroma   Very rich, deep, sweet-floral, slightly spicy

Blends With  Benzoin, bergamot, chamomile, clary sage, fennel, geranium, ginger, helichrysum, jasmine, lavender, lemon, mandarin, neroli, patchouli, petitgrain, sandalwood, ylang ylang, vetiver

Product Abstract

Roses are widely considered the most beautiful flowers in the world. This flower is an integral part of innumerable stories, legends, myths, and legacies. People who do not know about any of its medicinal properties can still tell you about one undeniable property; a beautiful, red rose can invoke romantic feelings in even the hardest of hearts.


Rosa × damascena is a cultivated flower that is no longer found growing wild. Its origin was by tradition the middle East, but recent genetic tests indicate that it is a hybrid of R. moschata x R. gallica crossed with the pollen of Rosa fedtschenkoana, which indicates that a more probable origin is the foothills of central Asia, which is the home of its pollen parent.

The Crusader Robert de Brie is sometimes credited for bringing the Damask rose from Syria to Europe between 1254 and 1276. The name refers to Damascus, Syria, a major city in the Middle East. Other accounts state that the ancient Romans, brought it to their colonies in England, and a third account is that the physician of King Henry VIII gifted him one circa 1540.

Harvesting/Extraction Information

Rosa × damascena is optimally cultivated in hedge rows to help protect the blooms from wind damage and to facilitate harvesting them. Gathering the flowers is intense manual labor. There are about 20–40 days per year when harvesting occurs, depending on the cultivar cultivated. The roses are gathered by hand and brought to a central location for steam distillation.

Common Usage

  • Fights Depression
  • Sedates Inflammation
  • Treats Wounds
  • Antispasmodic Properties
  • Protects Against Viruses
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Astringent Properties
  • Eliminates Bacteria
  • Skin Care
  • Purifies the Blood
  • Eases Menstruation
  • Prevents Excessive Bleeding
  • Prevents Toxicity
  • Reduces Stomach Disorders
  • Uterine


It can eliminate headaches if used in mild concentrations, but its strong aroma can do just the opposite if a very high concentration is used. Being an emmenagogue, it should not be used during pregnancy, since there is no definite evidence of whether the effects of rose essential oil can be transferred to the fetus. It could possibly cause a miscarriage if taken in excess, so be careful before using it.

Key constituents

()-Citronellol 16.0–35.9%

Geraniol 15.7–25.7%

Alkenes & alkanes 19.0–24.5%

Nerol 3.7–8.7%

Methyleugenol 0.5–3.3%

Linalool 0.4–3.1%

Citronellyl acetate 0.4–2.2%

Ethanol 0.01–2.2%

2-Phenylethanol 1.0–1.9%

(E,E)-Farnesol 0–1.5%

phyllene 0.5–1.2%

Eugenol 0.5–1.2%

Geranyl acetate 0.2–1.0%

Quality  Damask rose oil may be adulterated with ethanol, 2- phenylethanol, fractions of geranium oil or of rhodinol.
Reconstructions with damascones, b-ionone, alkenes, alkanes, ()-citronellol and other rose alcohols may be added or passed off as rose oil.

Safety summary

Hazards    May contain methyleugenol.
Contraindications  None known.
Maximum adult daily oral dose  21 mg
Maximum dermal use level
EU                                          0.006%
IFRA                                       0.012%
Tisserand & Young                   0.6%
Our safety advice
We recommend a dermal maximum of 0.6% and a maximum oral dose of 21 mg, based on 3.3% methyleugenol content, with dermal and oral limits of 0.02% and 0.01 mg/kg for methyleugenol.
Regulatory guidelines
Has GRAS status. IFRA recommends a maximum concentration of 0.0004% methyleugenol in leave-on products such as body lotions. The equivalent SCCNFP maximum is 0.0002%.

Organ-specific effects
Adverse skin reactions  Undiluted Bulgarian and Turkish rose oils were slightly or moderately irritating to rabbits, but were not irritating to mice. Tested at 2% on panels of 25 volunteers, these oils were neither irritating nor sensitizing. They were nonphototoxic. From 1990 to 1998 the average patch test positivity rate to 2% Bulgarian rose oil in a total of 1,483 Japanese dermatitis patients suspected of cosmetic sensitivity was 0.4%. A 48-year-old female developed contact dermatitis which was traced to Bulgarian rose oil and geraniol. The authors commented that this was the only one of 326 dermatitis patients with suspected contact dermatitis from perfumes (0.31%) to test positive to rose oil, and that they could find no previous case of rose sensitivity. The rose oil consisted of 18.5% geraniol.

Reproductive toxicity  Inhaled Turkish rose oil (1 mL/hour) attenuated the damage to male rat sperm count and motility caused by inhaled formaldehyde at 10 ppm/hour.

Hepatotoxicity  Bulgarian rose oil, orally administered to two groups of 20 male rats at 0.01 or 0.05 mL/kg daily for six months, dose-dependently reduced ethanol-induced liver damage. Two further groups of 20 rats were given ethanol only, or just food and water. Dystrophy and lipid infiltration were notably reduced in the rose oil groups, cellular  necrosis was prevented, lowered glycogen levels tended to complete recovery, and perturbation of various enzymes was normalized.

Systemic effects
Acute toxicity Turkish rose oil acute oral LD50 in rats >5 g/kg; acute dermal LD50 in rabbits 2.5 g/kg. Bulgarian rose oil acute oral LD50 in rats >5 g/kg; acute dermal LD50 in rabbits 2.5 g/kg. In subsequent work, both age and sex differences were seen in rats given Bulgarian rose oil. Acute oral LD50 values varied between 5,525 mg/kg for males, 2,975 mg/kg for mature females, and 3,972 mg/kg for immature females. The ip LD50 was 1,045 mg/ kg for mature rats.
Subacute toxicity  Bulgarian rose oil was administered daily to male and female rats 5 days a week for 30 days, at 85 or 425 mg/ kg. The high dose caused CNS depression, reduced body weight, anemia, functional hepatic changes, and altered weight ratios of liver, kidneys and testes. Toxic effects were more pronounced in female rats. The low dose had no toxic effects in either sex, and is suggested as the NOAEL.
Antioxidant/pro-oxidant activity  Rose oil showed high antioxidant activity, both as a DPPH radical scavenger and in the aldehyde/ carboxylic acid assay.
Carcinogenic/anticarcinogenic potential  Damask rose oil was cytotoxic to human prostate, lung and breast cancer cells with IC50 values of 0.04%, 0.05% and 0.07%, respectively. Methyleugenol causes liver cancer in rodents if exposure is sufficiently high. During the initial phases of induced liver carcinogenesis in rats, geraniol reduced both DNA damage and precancerous cell proliferation, increasing apoptosis. Geraniol significantly suppressed the growth of hepatomas transplanted to rats.

The geraniol content of rose otto may counteract the carcinogenicity of the methyleugenol. It is significant that rats given oral Bulgarian rose otto at 0.05 mL/kg/day for six months developed no signs of hepatotoxicity. This dose is equivalent to <1.5 mg/ kg/day of methyleugenol, which is 150 times more than our maximum for methyleugenol. As a percentage of dermatitis patients suspected of fragrance or cosmetic sensitivity, the single case of contact dermatitis reported in Spain (0.31%) is consistent with the Japanese data (0.4%) and these are very low prevalence rates for a high-risk group. Rose otto is another term for the essential oil from Rosa Damascena. The main producing countries are Bulgaria and Turkey. Small quantities are produced in Iran and Morocco, but are not exported.

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