When you think of rose water, it's often hard to imagine anything but the sweet ingredient infused in decadent desserts or that pretty light scent in a fragrance. But the H20 that comes from the Rosa damascena plant actually has serious health benefits, whether it's applied topically or ingested. Apparently rose water has been favored highly for centuries, dating back even to Cleopatra's time. It's jam-packed with tons of vitamins that give it both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. So really, there's no reason not to use it. (Plus, you can make your own by steeping the flowers' petals in distilled water for 48 hours or more.) We've rounded up some of rose water's top health benefits, so scroll down and see all the ways it may help you.
It makes you calm
The scent of rose water alone is believed to not only reduce blood pressure but the amount of cortisol (or stress hormones) in your body as well. As cortisol levels rise, so do your levels of stress. A 2012 study found that when people inhaled the essential oil through aromatherapy, there was a decrease in the amount of cortisol in the body.
It soothes your skin
There's definitely a reason you're often spritzed with rose water when you go for a spa visit. Not only does it naturally calm skin (especially for those with rosacea), but it also can help fight acne. “It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, has antioxidants and it hydrates—four main reasons why it’s so effective and can be used for so many reasons," says Tabasum Mir, MD, a skincare physician who specializes in cosmetic dermatology and cosmetic laser surgery. What's more, rose water helps fight the bacteria on your skin's surface, helping to reduce acne.
It gives you good breath
The next time you run out of your regular mouthwash, you can give rose water a go. The liquid fights the bacteria in your mouth that's responsible for giving you bad breath just like it fights the germs on your skin.
It boosts your mood
Rose water aromatherapy isn't only good for decreasing your feelings of anxiety; it also can give you a mood boost. Mir says a spritz of the special H20 can make you feel awake and rejuvenated: "It's a great pick-me-up throughout the day."
It fights sore throats
Rose water contains a slew of vitamins—A, C, E, and B—which help to fight inflammation. One option is gargling with the liquid. "Sometimes gargling or holding rose water in the back of the mouth will help inflamed sore throats," says Denise Baron, a wellness expert who specializes in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. You can also drink rose water tea to soothe your throat (we're partial to the delicious organic tea below).
Be sure to read about how to use essential oils, and tell us what you use rose water for in the comments.