To: herblist <HERB.V.EGE.EDU.TR
From: Christopher Hedley <christopher.GN.APC.ORG>
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 1994 23:18:31 BST
Rosewater is made by distilling Rose petals over water. If you do this yourself...with a school chemistry kit... you will get a small phial of rose water with a little essential oil of roses floating on top. You can make a reasonable approximation by shaking up a few drops of the essential oil in a cup of distilled water. The corollary is that the properties of rose water are the same as the ess. oil, only milder, and any book on perfumes or ess. oils will cover this.
According to Perfumery with Herbs, Ivan Day, London 1979; distillation is an ancient art which was poorly understood until the 9th cent when the Persians perfected it. Otto of roses is said to have been discovered in the 17th cent when roses were strewn in ornamental canals at festivities. The rose oil floated to the top and was collected. Otto means fat of the rose.
Rose oil is used in European aromatherapy for calming and cheering the Heart and Spirits and for infertility and impotence. Modern herbalists have found Rose extracts especially useful for people who have suffered sexual abuse as children and for those who feel unclean.
Rose water is much used in middle eastern cooking.
A recipe from Sir Hugh Platt's, Delights for Ladies, 1602; 3 oz Orris (Iris) root, 1/2 oz Cypress wood, 2 oz Calamus (Acorus) root, 1oz Rose Petals, 2 oz Lavender flowers...all dried and powdered. Scrape some castille (olive oil soap) and dissolve it in rose water. Beat all the ingredients well together in a mortar and roll up into small balls.
...pottering around in the kitchen...