Out of the blue, I began to cry. Who cries when they’re doing the dishes? I do. I was missing my mother… badly. She seemed to always be in the kitchen when I was little. I would come home from school and hear the sink water running as she finished cleaning the lunch plates. It was comforting to hear her say “hi” and tell me to grab a snack and sit down while she finished. A lot was said and not said in those precious moments.
Many times, I come home to my kitchen and wash dishes to emotionally connect with my mom, four years gone this past April. Emotions and feelings surface at those times when I miss hearing her advice or remember her reminding me of my chores. My heart hurts from the memories — both sweet and bitter – that come floating to my mind. But the heart isn’t the only place that feels pain. The brain can be one of the sources of both emotional and physical pain. The muscles, too, can hold memories and act as sources of pain, according to John Sarno, MD, a leader in musculoskeletal pain and emotional stress.
One of my go-to comforts during times of emotional stress and grief has been my relationship with Rose otto, or Rosa damascena otto. Rose otto is one of the three main products created from the damask rose (Rosa damascena) cultivated in Bulgaria. It takes about 60,000 roses (120 pounds) to make one ounce of Rose otto. This very expensive essential oil costs about $85.00 for 2 ml, but it is worth the price for its healing properties. Rose absolute is cheaper due to it being obtained by solvent extraction. The solvents are usually petroleum ether derivatives, and therefore Rose absolute may have traces of these chemicals in the end product. The scent from Rosa damascena has been very helpful to me as I notice my muscles, mind and breathing relax when I inhale it during emotionally stressful times. I create this powerful Rose otto blend as a 1% dilution in sweet almond oil and then apply it to my temples for a headache or anoint my heart with one or two drops when I am grieving.
“There is no path to peace, but peace itself is the path.” -Richard Rohr, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality
You may find that blending 1% Rosa damascena with 1% Frankincense Boswellia carteri or 1% Ylang ylang Cananga odorata with 2% of Lemon Citrus limonum in a carrier oil adds a centering and grounding quality to the aroma’s effects on the mind and heart. You don’t need much to feel the results. One randomized controlled clinical trial found in a sample size of 120 pregnant women with low back pain that the women who smelled the Rosa damascena had a significant decrease in pain intensity compared with those women who inhaled only the carrier oil of almond and jojoba oil. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871215/ . And another small triple blind study in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, https://doi.org/10.1002/ijgo.12534, (66 women), mentions that Rosa damascena helped women with physical, psychological and social symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Lastly, a double blind study found that men and women with migraines who inhaled Rosa damascena experienced a significant decrease in hot and cold type of migraines compared to those inhaling just sweet almond carrier oil, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2017.07.009. These studies offer compelling evidence on the influence of Rosa otto and its effects on the body mind and spirit.
Inhale an essential oil blend with Rosa damascena. You may discover that your thoughts and breaths come at a slower pace, your muscles lose a bit of their tension, and most importantly, your spirit feels a bit lighter.
The primary chemical component of the luscious blood red damascena is nerol-geraniol, which is responsible for its sweet rosy scent, Elizabeth Ashely, The Complete Guide to Clinical Aromatherapy and Essential Oils for the Physical Body.
Ashley, Elizabeth. The Complete Guide to Clinical Aromatherapy and Essential Oils of The Physical Body: Essential Oils for Beginners (The Secret Healer Book 1) (p. 72). Build Your Own Reality.
Clarke, Sue, (2002) Essential Chemistry for Aromatherapy 2ed, London: Churchill Livingstone Publishers.
Price, Len & Price, Shirley, (2012) Aromatherapy for Health Professionals 4thed: Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone Publishers.
Sarno, John, MD (1998). The Mind body Prescription; Healing the body, healing the pain: New York: Grand Central Life & Style publishers.