Rose oil

Roses have been grown for their unique aroma since the dawn of time.  It is thought that the fragrant damask rose (Rosa damascena) was first cultivated in Anatolia several millennia ago and brought to Europe from Damascus during the Crusades.  In 1978, Damask roses were replanted on the slopes of the Lalehzar Mountains in of Kerman province of southern Iran, thus renewing a lost tradition that goes back hundreds of year

Before this time the impoverished farmers had to rely on subsistence crops and were forced to turn to opium poppies to supplement their income.  The rose oil pioneers planted new fields of roses at 3,000m altitude and found that the dry mountainous conditions were perfect for producing top quality petals from which the rose oil is distilled.

Earthoil’s producer encouraged farmers to switch to rose cultivation and convert to organic farming, offering support to enable this. A co-operative of around 1500 farmers now grow the roses on very small plots under organic principles.  Each farmer can only cultivate a maximum of four hectares but the steady cash income from this precious crop means that they now enjoy a much higher standard of living than would have been possible just a few decades ago.

rose oil

Organic accreditation and fair trade

Since the millennium, Earthoil’s rose oil producer has gained organic accreditation from the Soil Association of Great Britain.  The producer helps the farmers gain their individual organic accreditation and aids them in converting their conventional farms into organic through both education and financial assistance.  Our rose oil producer takes social responsibility very seriously and through links with a charity, the Sanati Foundation, they fund local social projects such as a boys’ orphanage and homes for handicapped children (both located in Kerman, the capital city of the province) and a girls’ orphanage in the city of Bam. 

rose oil

How the oil is produced

The rose oil and its by-products are captured by harvesting the mature flowers May/June, typically taking around three to four weeks.  The flowers are handpicked in the early morning before sunrise to ensure that the aroma contained in the petal oil sacs is at its maximum before the hot sun evaporates the essential oils from the plant. The petals are transferred immediately to our producer’s distillation unit.  The company’s equipment may be modern but the ancient Persians who first isolated this precious oil would recognise the modern process as only steam is used to capture the essential oil present in the petals.  The Rose Oil is a 100% pure, steam distilled essential oil used in many countries in the manufacture of cosmetics and perfumes where its rich and characteristically floral fragrance is prized.  Its usage is widespread throughout the Middle East and steeped in tradition dating back over 1,000 years.   

Earthoil, together with its Iranian partner, offers a link between an ancient art and the modern yet timeless quality of the rose and its beautiful and exquisite products.  This, coupled with firm organic beliefs and social awareness in helping impoverished farmers to lift themselves out of hardship and supporting disabled and orphaned child, demonstrates such beliefs cross all cultures and divides.

rose oil

Uses and benefits of rose oil

As well as being a popular oil for perfumery, rose oil is effective in burners and vaporisers to relieve tension and as a relaxant.  It is also a useful ingredient in massage or bath oils.  Very effective in lotions and creams for moisturising and hydrating the skin, it is useful for all skin types with its general stimulant and antiseptic properties but is especially good for dry, mature and irritated skin. 

Rose water, a by-product from the distillation, is used as a flavouring for various foods, as a health tonic, and as a perfume.   Its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties are useful for cleansers and toners.

To address any concerns about allergens, Earthoil is also able to offer a low methyl eugenol version.

 


Contact Earthoil for more information

Earthoil specialises in smallholding producer projects in remote areas and can help you to access these communities and be part of their development.

Earthoil welcomes visitors to its projects and to meet the communities. Contact us for details.

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