Rosewater, Facial Mask, and Rose Tea Recipes
By: Sherika Tenaya
Long renowned for its sensual decadence in our myths and legends and lushly evocative as both a gift among lovers and a useful addition to the beauty toilette of people across all cultures and centuries, the rose captures our hearts and minds in its simple, seductive elegance.
From Cleopatra purportedly languishing in baths of milk and rose petals, to newly married Roman couples being crowned with them at their nuptials, roses have had many intriguing uses and their history has been closely interwoven with ours since as long as we have been cultivating plants for pleasure.
Interestingly, roses have something to offer to the more pragmatic among us, who, rather than appreciating a thing for its beauty, would instead fall in love for its use or function. Roses contain vitamin C, citric acid and pectin. One can make use of not only the petals, but also its essential oil as well as the deep scarlet fruit of the rose, often referred to as the rose hips. Even the young rosebuds can be made into a tea, petals still tightly entwined within itself before it first blooms.
The health benefits of roses can be attributed largely to the anti-inflammatory effects of vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant. In tea form, such benefits are said to include fighting infection in the digestive tract as well as the bladder, relieving sore throats, diarrhea and irregular periods.
Rose water, on the other hand, is soothing for the skin: it is said to balance the skin’s pH, reduces redness and irritation, tightens pores and has a cooling aspect that, when mixed with equal parts apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle, relieves the persistent heat of a sunburn. Rose water can even be used as an eyewash for sore or inflamed eyes. It is for these skin-nurturing qualities that our Glycerine Rosewater line of skin care products is our most distinctive and revered. Coming early next year, you will be able to get all of the amazing properties of rosewater, in a face mist from Camille Beckman. Stay tuned!
The following are a series of simple recipes using the healing and comforting aspects of roses. Always remember that the roses you use should be free of toxic pesticides, preferably grown in your own or a loved one’s garden. Never use commercial flowers as they are some of the most heavily sprayed. When harvesting, choose roses that have fully expressed blooms but whose petals have not yet browned. It’s best to pick them just after the morning dew has evaporated, a few hours after sunrise.
Steep rose petals in freshly boiled, but not boiling, water for 3 - 5 minutes.
From rose hips:
Chop rose hips and boil them in water for half an hour. Strain out the pulp and enjoy.
Rose Face Mask
- Soak 8 petals in 3 - 4 tablespoons water for 2 - 3 hours.
- Mash the petals into the water and add 3 tablespoons raw honey.
- Mix well and apply the mixture to the face. Leave on for 15 - 30 minutes
- Put a clean washcloth under hot water, ring out the excess water and quickly hold it up to your face, steaming the face mask as well as your skin before dabbing (or blotting) the mask off your skin.
- Use the other side of the washcloth to steam your face a second time and remove any remaining mask.
Homemade Rose Water (recipe courtesy of wellnessmama.com)
- dried rose petals (or fresh from an organic, pesticide-free source)
- large stock pot with lid
- clean brick (a real brick, from a house)
- metal bowl or heat-safe glass bowl
- dark bottle for storage (spray nozzle optional)
1. Place a clean brick down in the center of your large stock pot. I used an 8 quart stock pot and an average sized brick.
Put the metal bowl or heat-safe glass bowl on top of the brick.
Measure about 1 1/2 cups of dried rose petals into the stock pot. Put them down around the brick making sure not to get any into the bowl. Use 3-5 cups if you are using fresh petals and gently press them down so they are around the brick and under the metal bowl.
Pour water into the pot over the petals until it comes almost to the top of the brick.
Invert the lid and cover the stock pot. This will allow the steam to collect and drip down to the center of the lid and eventually drip into the bowl.
Put ice on the top of the lid to encourage the steam to condense and subsequently drop into the bowl. You can put it directly on the lid and suck the water off with a turkey baster as the ice melts or you can put the ice in a ziplock bag so it is easy to pull off and replace. You want to keep in as much steam as possible because the steam is actually your rosewater.
Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to the lowest heat possible that still allows the water to simmer.
Replace the ice as it melts and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Very carefully lift the lid so that none of your melted ice water falls into the pot.
Carefully pour the rosewater that has collected in the bowl into your dark bottle.
This will last up to 6 months at room temperature, or you can keep it in the refrigerator.