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For The Love Of Roses

Roses play a prominent role in our lives. We marvel at their intoxicating fragrance; we enjoy the beauty of our favorites; and we give them to our loved ones to celebrate special occasions. The scent of rose always takes me back to my Grandmother’s garden in southwestern Pennsylvania in the 60’s. I have always strived to recreate that memory in my own garden, unfortunately not so successfully as she, but close.

PinkRoses

Our love affair with roses — for beauty and for health purposes — has a long history. For centuries the rose has been highly valued by many cultures not only for its beauty and perfume but also for its profound healing properties on both a physical and psychological level. Rosewater and rose oil were used in the traditional medicines of China, India, Assyria, Egypt, Greece and Rome, to cure a wide range of medical conditions. It is suspected that the rose was probably the very first flower from which essential oil was distilled; possibly in the 10th Century Persia. Today, most of the rose oils are still produced in that region of the world. A very large quantity of rose petals is needed to produce a very small quantity of oil. Thus, it is very costly. Thankfully only a small amount of rose oil is needed in therapeutic preparations. It is not used in its concentrated state, but rather in a carrier oil such as sweet almond, jojoba, argon and grapeseed.

 

The use of the rose has a long tradition in folk remedies, most commonly in the area of skincare. It is suitable for all skin types, but it is especially valuable for dry, sensitive or aging skins. Rose water has made its way into cosmetics and medicine for many centuries. Today, beauty experts still consider rose water a wonderfully gentle, natural ingredient with fabulous skin-enhancing benefits. Additionally, and perhaps most obviously, rose water has a pleasant aroma. This lovely perfume and its healing, rejuvenating effects make rose water a potentially valuable addition to your skin care regimen — whether used on its own or in toners, creams and lotions.

Rose essential oil is thought to be beneficial for helping treat broken capillaries just below the skin surface and in minimizing scars as it is believed to stimulate the circulation and promote the growth of new cells. It is used to help dry skin, eczema and considered safe to use on sensitive skin. It is also thought to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. In addition to preparations containing Rose Essential Oil, the use of Rosewater is another way to provide skincare. It is a tonic and antiseptic and is very soothing to irritated skin.

The rose also offers a soothing property to the nerves and emotional /psychological state of mind. It lifts the spirits, can alleviate depression and help people cope with difficult life situations involving emotions such as loss, grief or fear. This cephalic effect can be achieved either from a bath to which drops of rose oil have been added, from a vaporizer or aromatherapy diffuser fed with rosewater, or from simply wearing a rose oil perfume. In addition, a tea made with rose petals often soothes a mild sore throat. Rose hips (the flowers which have swollen to seed) are an excellent source of vitamins A, B3, C, D and E. Taken in the form of tea they are good for infections, particularly bladder infections. It is an especially good source of vitamin C. You can find Rose Hip Tea at The Local Grocer in North Conway, or you can brew it fresh from your garden. Roughly chop up entire rose hips and cover with distilled water and boil for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine strainer or cheesecloth and add a bit of local honey if desired.

 

The essence of rose need not only be used to treat ailments. Whether inhaled and enjoyed from a freshly cut bouquet of sumptuous blooms or splashed on as rosewater after a shower or bath, it is simply a pleasure to be enjoyed by all!

 

RoseLine Skincare at Fields of Ambrosia

The precious rose oil is present in all of our products, and it is this that is responsible for their extraordinary powers of healing and rejuvenation. Whether moisturizing, curing skin disorders, reducing wrinkles, disinfecting, reducing swelling, or curing with aromatherapy, there is a lot more to the rose than just a beautiful flower.

 

Botanical Skincare Alternatives

My grandmother always taught me, if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin. It’s good advice and we all know it is wise to heed the advice of our elders. However, not all skin care practices of yesteryear were good for our skin. If you are not familiar with some of the strange and dangerous cosmetic habits of our earliest ancestors, here are a few frightening examples: arsenic was a common ingredient in face powders, copper or lead was used to color the eyes, and face masks used by the Greeks to ‘improve’ skin condition  were lead-based.

There has been a big push for natural health, natural cosmetics and education about ingredients like the 2 P’s, parabens and phthalates. But how can you really know how safe so-called natural products really are?  As you may have heard from many in the natural beauty community, our skin is one big sponge and everything we spray, apply, bath or shower with makes its way into our system.

Botanicals
Botanicals

So, what’s a person to do? You can gather up all the beauty, bath and body products you currently use and run the ingredients through a database set up by the Environmental Working Group called the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. It will tell you the safety level of each ingredient on a scale of 1-10. Anything above a 5 is circumspect.

Or you can switch to skin-care products with plant-based ingredients that do more than just smell nice or look pretty. Herbs and botanicals have been used for thousands of years for their medicinal and dermatological properties, and they’re only getting more popular. These products are usually high in antioxidants, since plants are constantly exposed to sunlight and must build up defenses against the harmful ultraviolet rays that come with it. In addition, many are also anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. To reap some of the best-known benefits of herbs and botanicals, look for the following ingredients the next time you’re shopping for skin care.

Lavender
Lavender

LAVENDER: This sweet little flower is known for its relaxing scent — but when used in topical products like a face cleanser, it can also act as a soothing antiseptic.  It may help reduce inflammation, and is a good ingredient to look for if you have sensitive or irritated skin; it may also be helpful in treating burns or psoriasis.  If you can’t find lavender in a wash, you can also add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a spray bottle of distilled water and spritz your face with the solution after washing. A few drops in the bath are also a wonderful treat for your skin and your mind.

CALENDULA: Products containing petals of the calendula, or pot marigold, flower can help hydrate dry skin and clear up acne. The plant is also traditionally known for its wound-healing properties, as well, as it increases blood flow to the area where it’s applied; this makes it a good choice for treating burns, bruises and cuts. In a study done on breast cancer patients, calendula was even shown to help reduce inflammation and prevent dermatitis, a common side effect of radiation therapy.

WITCH HAZEL: This liquid is distilled from the bark or leaves of the witch hazel shrub. It acts as an astringent, cleansing the skin and removing excess oil, leaving it tight and firm. Because witch hazel contains anti-inflammatory chemicals called tannins, it can also be used to provide relief to burns, bug bites or other mild skin irritation. A witch hazel based toner, used after facial cleansing will give you a cool, refreshing tingle.

HELICHRYSUM: This flower essential oil ranks as one of the most ancient and valuable healing substances along with Rose and Frankincense.  It is beneficial for it’s anti-inflammatory and cell-regenerating properties and is a wonderful ingredient for treating symptoms of rosacea. Added to a witch hazel toner, it can reduce redness within minutes of application. Added to an oil free base such as aloe vera gel, it can curb the redness and irritations associated with facial inflammation.

Botanical Skincare at Fields of Ambrosia

Fields of Ambrosia was developed in 2001 in response to a search for cleansing, nourishing and therapeutic skin and body care products – beneficial to the body and earth friendly. In researching natural soap making and aromatherapy, I recognized that many of the ingredients for creating these items could be found in the gardens, orchards and fields around my home at Intervale Farm. Combining the life force energy of healing plants, which is absorbed by your skin to generate healthy new cells, with the aromas and healing powers of pure essential oils, gives each creation a signature fragrance which can help to enhance health and psychological well-being. The “aroma” of aromatherapy is not as important as how it makes you feel..

Natural Botanicals are found in all of our products, whether moisturizing, reducing wrinkles, disinfecting, reducing swelling, or curing with aromatherapy, there is a lot more to the herb garden than just beautiful flowers.