The Damask Rose – Rosa damascena
Our Rose Essential Oil and Rose Water (Rose Hydrosol) are derived from The Damask Rose, so named after the city of Damascus in Syria. The Essential Oil from the most fragrant of roses is also known as Rose Otto (Ottoman Empire) or Attar of Rose(s).
Rosa damascena is a cultivated flower, no longer found growing wild, and the history of just where it came from is varied, but it’s generally understood as originating in the Middle East.
The Crusader Robert de Brie has been credited for bringing the Damask Rose from Syria to Europe sometime between 1254 and 1276. Other stories say the Romans brought the Damask Rose to England, and yet another account states that Henry VIII’s physician gifted him a Damask Rose around 1540.
The Apothecary’s Rose – Rosa gallica
We use Rosa gallica for Rose Wax and Rose Petal Extract.
The Apothecary’s Rose, known to botanists as Rosa gallica officinalis, is one of the most celebrated of all ancient roses.
In the Renaissance art of the 15th and 16th centuries, Rosa gallica (often depicted red, although really a deep pink) was one of the two most often painted roses, Rosa alba (white) being the other.
The petals of this rose were dried and rolled into beads, then strung into what became the rosary, hence the name.
The Apothecary’s Rose dates back much further in history than the Renaissance and is believed to have originated in ancient Persia. The rose is thought to have come to Europe either in the 12th or 13th century with knights returning from the Crusades.
By the middle of the 15th century, civil wars in medieval England had broken out in a melee of power grabs for the throne, known as the War of Roses. The Apothecary’s Rose had become the symbol of the House of Lancaster and the white Rosa alba the symbol of the House of York. After Henry VII came to power in 1485, he chose to symbolise peace by creating a new symbol: the Apothecary’s Rose laid on top of Rosa alba, the ‘Tudor Rose’, which to this day remains the plant symbol of England.
The other story of how the Apothecary’s Rose came to Europe, the French side, is less dramatic. It is believed to have been returned to the Castle of Provins, a city close to Paris, by Thibault IV in 1250 upon his return from the Seventh Crusade. (Thibault died just three years later — apparently not because of the rose, however.) Provins became the European capital for the Apothecary’s Rose and it was renamed The Rose of Provins.
Dog Rose – Rosa canina
Our Rose Hip extract comes from Dog Rose, Rosa canina (canine).
Also known as Wild Rose, Dog Briar and Wild Briar, it has been used medicinally since the time of Hippocrates and was named Dog Rose by the Roman naturalist, Pliny, because it was believed the plant’s root would cure the bite of a mad dog.
The Dog Rose is high in antioxidants and the fruit, Rose Hips, are a rich source of Vitamin C used to make syrup, tea and jam.
Although it had been used medicinally for centuries it was during World War II that the plant came in to its own. During the war it was impossible for Great Britain to import fresh citrus fruits and without them scurvy became a threat to the population. Knowing rose hips were rich in Vitamin C the government arranged to have them harvested and processed into syrup. Because of this wise action scurvy was prevented.
Read about our Rose Cultivation Projects here
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