The sense of old world romance to rose water completely captivates me. From the natural form of a rose blossoming to stories of Cleopatra bathing in it, to a Persian Princess filling royal fountains full of rose water so that when she walked through her garden, drops of rose water would land upon her skin like light rain fall. It just has such a beautiful history.
There are many myths and varying sources of the discovery of rose water, as we continue to research it's factual history, here is what is currently commonly known......
The origin of Rosa Damascena also known as Damask Rose was initially discovered by the Sasanian Empire - the last imperial dynasty in Persia through the cultivation of various fragrant flowers for obtaining perfumes.
10th Century Persian scientist by the name of Avicenna is credited for the refinement of rose water, responsible for bringing Europe’s attention to the valuable commodity, making it a profitable source of trade for Persians.
Along with scenting their wine with rose petals, the Romans were first to classify and document the healing powers of natural rose water for more than 30 ailments, becoming a medicinal ingredient for many ancient cultures around the world for centuries.
In ancient Rome, women would anoint themselves with rose oil, tuck roses in their hair and stuff cushions with rose petals to prepare for religious festivities.
Queens, Princesses & Goddesses
It is widely renowned the queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, used rose water for it's beautifying qualities, regularly bathing her face and body with authentic rose water, regarding it as her beauty secret. Even Shakespeare writes about Cleopatra's affinity towards rose water in Anthony and Cleopatra - that her cedarwood ships were scented with rose water, writing "the very winds were lovesick".
The rose flower is an attribute of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty (Aphrodite in ancient Greece). Legend has it the rose became red because it was stained with her blood when she stepped on a thorn.