What Do You Know About Rose Water?

Rose water is a liquid made from water and rose petals. It is used as a perfume due to its sweet scent, but it has medicinal and culinary values, as well.

There is a long tradition of rose water being used in medicine, including in Iran and other parts of the Middle East, as far back as the 7th century.

There is also evidence of North American Indian tribes using it to treat ailments.

Fast facts on rose water:

  • Rose water can usually be used without any side effects.
  • Rose water contains numerous, powerful antioxidants.
  • Recent research has found that it can help relax the central nervous system.

What are the benefits?

Below, we look at some of the benefits of rose water and their uses in medicine.

Skin

Rose water in small glass bottle, next to rose flower.

Rose water is often used as a perfume, though it also has many medicinal benefits.

The skin is the largest organ in the body and acts as a barrier against UV radiation, chemicals, and other physical pollutants.

The antioxidants in rose water protect the cells in the skin against damage.

Rose water also has anti-inflammatory properties, which means it can be put on the skin to soothe the irritation caused by conditions, such as eczema and rosacea.

Rose water acts as an inhibitor against elastase and collagenase, which are both harmful to the skin.

This, in turn, can help soothe the skin and reduce redness, as well as act as an anti-aging product by reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

Respiratory

Due to its soothing and anti-inflammatory effect, rose water can be taken to treat a sore throat. Furthermore, a study has shown that it can act as a relaxant on the muscles in the throat.

Eyes

In its liquid form rose water can be used as part of an eye drop and has been shown to have excellent benefits for people with eye problems.

Conditions it can help treat include:

  • conjunctivitis
  • conjunctival xerosis or dry eye
  • acute dacryocystitis
  • degenerative conditions, such as pterygium or pinguecula
  • cataracts

Wounds

Rose water has antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which mean it can help wounds heal faster, by keeping them clean and fighting injections.

The types of wounds rose water can be used on include:

  • burns
  • cuts
  • scars

Infections

Due to its antiseptic properties and the fact rose water can prompt the creation of histamines by the immune system, it has been shown to be useful for preventing and treating infections.

Brain

Rose water in a bowl with rose petals, for vapor therapy.

Rose water vapor therapy can improve mood and aid relaxation.

The inhalation of rose water vapors has been traditionally used as a way to improve a person’s mood. The liquid can also be taken orally.

Research has shown that rose water has antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties. It is believed to induce sleep and to have a hypnotic effect similar to that of the pharmaceutical drug diazepam.

It has been used to treat a number of mental health conditions, including:

  • depression
  • grief
  • stress
  • tension

In other medical cases, rose water is known to be beneficial in the treatment of conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

A specific protein fragment called an amyloid, which is created by the body, has been shown to be present in these conditions and to affect the brain function, kill cells, and hinder memory. Encouragingly, properties found in rose water are an inhibitor of this amyloid.

Headaches

Just as the fumes of rose water are inhaled to help improve mood, it is believed that the de-stressing effects can also help treat headaches and migraines.

Rose water has been used in aromatherapy for some time and can also be applied to a cloth and laid on the forehead for similar effects.

Digestion

The ingestion of rose water has also been shown to have beneficial effects on the digestive system. It works by increasing bile flow, which helps symptoms of common complaints, including bloating and upset stomach.

The consumption of rose water can also work as a laxative. It can increase both the amount of water in the feces and the frequency of going to the toilet, making it a good treatment for constipation.

What forms and types are there?

Rose water in spray diffuser bottle.

Rose water contains rose oil and tends to be more affordable than pure rose oil.

Rose water contains between 10 and 50 percent rose oil. It is often used in religious ceremonies, as well as in the food industry. However, the same product can come in different forms.

Rose oil

This is created by distilling the rose flower. The oil can be mass-produced in factories and is a pale, yellow color and semisolid.

Due to its high concentration, rose oil is known to be a fairly expensive product.

Dried flowers

Both the buds and the petals of the rose can be dried and are used for different reasons.

Often the petals are eaten, with yogurt, for example, and are used for the previously mentioned digestive benefits.

Other products

Other forms that rose products may come in can include:

  • Rose hips: The seedpods of the roses, which are used either fresh or dried, and as they are or processed in factories.
  • Hydrosol and absolute extract: This can be taken from the flower, petals, or hips and can be a cheaper alternative to rose oil.
  • Ethanolic, aqueous, and chloroform extracts: These can be taken from the flower, petals, or hips and are used for research purposes.

Side effects

A person can apply rose products topically by putting a small amount — about the size of a dime — on their arm as an initial test. If there is no adverse or allergic reaction within 24 hours it can be safely applied elsewhere.

In some cases, a person can have a reaction to rose water due to a particular and often unknown sensitivity to the product.

This can include:

  • burning
  • stinging
  • redness
  • irritation

If someone experiences any of these effects after the use of rose water, they should tell a doctor immediately, as it may be a sign of an infection or allergic reaction.

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True Aloe

Aloe Vera

Latin Name

L. Aloe vera, Aloe barbadensis var miller, Aloe vera var. chinensis, Aloe vulgaris, Aloe vera var. lanzae, Aloe indica, Aloe barbadensis var. chinensis, Aloe vera var. wratislaviensis, Aloe elongata, Aloe vera var. littoralis, Aloe perfoliata var. vera, Aloe perfoliata var. barbadensis, Aloe flava, Aloe chinensis, Aloe barbadensis, Aloe lanzae.

Common Names

Aloe vera, True Aloe

Suggested Properties

Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-viral and energy tonic

Indicated for

Digestive tract irritations such as colitis, ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome, cleansing stomach, liver, kidneys, spleen, bladder and colon, arthritis, asthma, bladder and kidney infections, cancer, constipation, diverticular disorders, haemorrhoids, heartburn, heart disease, HIV, immune stimulation, indigestion, insomnia, kidney disease, leg cramps, leukemia, skin health, stomach distress, tumours, vaginitis, vaginal douche, viruses, white blood cell production and general health tonic.

If you are using oral corticosteroids, such as beclomethasone, methylprednisolone, or prednisone, it is important not to overuse or misuse Aloe vera juice. A potassium deficiency can develop, and you may experience toxic effects from the medication.

Although it is removed, in practice Aloe vera juice may sometimes still contain tiny quantities of the laxative compound found in aloe latex. Should you begin to have cramps or diarrhea do not ingest any more of the juice.

Allergies to aloe vera are very rare. Yet any food can be a potential allergen. Test a small amount on the inner arm to see if any reaction takes place. If no irritation on the skin is observed then it is generally tolerated. If ingestion causes diarrhea, then reduce the amount you ingest, increasing use slowly over several days until the desired amount is tolerated.

Surprising Facts About Aloe Vera

  • With a history that extends back 6,000 years, Aloe vera is believed to have originated in the Sudan.
  • Although it resembles a cactus, Aloe is a member of the lily family.
  • There are 400 species of the Aloe vera plant.
  • Aloe’s health benefits are supported by nearly 700 published scientific and clinical studies.
  • Aloe vera offers over 200 biologically active amino acids, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and enzymes.
  • Both Ayurvedic medicines in India and Traditional Chinese Medicine utilize Aloe vera.
  • Aloe vera is the second most frequently used ingredient in Hispanic culture and, in Asian culture, is second only to red ginseng.
  • Native Americans called it the “Wand of the Heaven.”

Aloe vera, also known as Aloe barbadensis, has been a staple for thousands of years in many cultures around the world. Today, it’s used in lotions, ointments, creams, sunburn remedies, and cosmetics, among other things. Traditional uses for aloe vera include soothing burns, moisturizing skin, and healing small wounds. Many people even apply it to reduce the appearance of acne. Aloe vera offers a wide range of nutritional benefits that support more than just skin health. Let’s take a look at some other uses you may not know about.

1. Aloe Vera Supports the Immune System

The immune system requires oxygen-rich blood. Aloe vera supports nutrient absorption, a key factor in maintaining blood-oxygen levels. Oddly enough, one of the ways aloe does this is by keeping the digestive tract clean through bowel regularity.

Aloe also acts as an adaptogen, which keeps cells in balance. It helps protect them from stress and other factors that disrupt their function, in turn making it easier for the immune system to do its job.

Aloe vera is an abundant source of polysaccharides. Research shows these complex sugars improve the efficiency of the immune system. Aloe is also rich in the antioxidants that protect against free radicals.

2. Aloe Vera Supports Normal Digestion

Aloe vera contains two enzymes — amylase and lipase — that are helpful for encouraging normal digestion. Aloe also helps keep your stomach acid levels balanced to support a normal gut environment.

Some preliminary research suggests aloe may also help with ulcerative colitis, a condition in which ulcers form in the intestines. In a clinical trial, 30 patients suffering from the condition were given aloe vera. Fourteen of the thirty patients reported some form of improvement; only four patients in the placebo group reported improvement.

Aloe contains acemannan. Acemannan and other polysaccharides are prebiotics that supports probiotics in the gut. When you have these ‘good guys’ in your gut, you’re apt to digest your food better, get more nutritional value from it, and just enjoy better health. A University of California, Davis study found people who consumed aloe vera absorbed vitamin C and vitamin B12 better.

3. Helps Relieve Symptoms of IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, affects many people. Common symptoms include gas, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal discomfort. Many people have reported experiencing relief after taking aloe supplements.

4. Rich in Vitamins and Minerals

Aloe is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including:

  • Vitamin A (beta-carotene): Important for healthy skin, teeth, bones, and eyes.
  • Vitamin C: Vital for energy creation, skin health, and immune function.
  • Vitamin E: Protects the skin from UV damage.
  • Vitamin B12: Keep’s nerve and brain cells healthy. Necessary to replicate DNA.
  • Folic acid: Essential for brain function, liver health, and energy creation.
  • Choline: Supports metabolism and the neurotransmitters needed for memory, focus, and a positive mood.

Aloe contains calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, and zinc, all of which are integral to energy creation, hormone balance, cellular reproduction, and immune system function.

5. Aloe Vera is a Great Source of Nutrients and Enzymes

Aloe vera is often called a superfood because, in addition to vitamins and minerals, it offers more than 200 other bioavailable nutrients. It’s especially rich in the following enzymes, which support energy creation, hormone function, digestion, and toxin removal:

  • Alliinase
  • Alkaline phosphatase
  • Amylase
  • Bradykinase
  • Carboxypeptidase
  • Catalase
  • Cellulase
  • Lipase
  • Peroxidase

There is a group of nutrients known as secondary metabolites which are only found in aloe. Some of these include aloe emodin, chrysophanol, aloesin, and aloin. Research shows these nutrients can offer a number of other important health benefits.

6. Aloe Supports Cardiovascular Health

Phytosterols are beneficial compounds in plants and aloe vera is a particularly rich source. Phytosterols help balance LDL cholesterol levels and support cardiovascular health. In a five-year study of 5,000 heart disease patients, researchers found those who consumed aloe vera and another plant called ‘Husk of Isabgol’ had better cholesterol and blood sugar numbers.

7. Aloe Vera Boosts Dental Health

A recent study involving 345 participants suggests aloe makes an effective mouthwash that supports healthy teeth and gums. Another study found that aloe vera gel can help fight Candida albicans, a common mouth fungus.

8. Aloe Fights Harmful Organisms

Some plants contain a variety of chemicals and compounds that serve as antiseptic agents and help combat harmful organisms. Aloe vera itself contains six powerful antiseptic agents the human body is able to use: lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamic acid, phenols, and sulfur.

9. Aloe Vera is Ultra Soothing

One of the best uses for aloe vera is to soothe all types of red, swollen, irritated tissue. It contains an enzyme called bradykinase that helps reduce irritation.

10. Aloe Vera May Have Anti-Aging Properties

It appears aloe vera does more than soothe and moisturize. It also offers anti-aging benefits that clear the appearance of wrinkles from the inside out. In one study, 30 women over the age of 45 took an aloe vera gel supplement for 90 days. By the end of the study, the appearance of their facial wrinkles decreased and their skin looked better.

In Conclusion

Aloe vera does a lot more than soothe a sunburn. It’s good for skin and is a potent superfood that delivers powerful nutrition. There are several ways to harness the benefits of aloe vera. You can take it as a juice, a gel, or in pill form. When choosing an aloe supplement, check the ingredients. Some products include ingredients other than aloe vera and may not contain the nutrients, ingredients, or concentrations you expect, acemannan in particular.

What Is Acemannan?

Acemannan pronounced “ace-man-nan”, is a polysaccharide found in the inner part of aloe vera leaves. It’s actually the component that sets aloe vera apart from the 400+ other species of aloe plants. Acemannan has many nutritional qualities and is largely responsible for the benefits aloe vera offers.

Do All of Aloe Vera’s Health Benefits Come from Acemannan?

Aloe vera offers many health benefits and you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of aloe vera products on the market. Topical products like lotions and creams take advantage of aloe vera’s unique ability to soothe skin. Aloe vera also offers a wealth of internal benefits. For example, studies have shown that formulas with acemannan outperform other remedies for oral wounds.

There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that, when ingested, aloe vera supports immune health, is very soothing, and even aids digestion. Some research indicates that acemannan can help support normal blood sugar and triglyceride levels. As beneficial as acemannan is, there is a matrix of other vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients working together within the plant.

Best Way to Consume Acemannan

The best way to ensure you’re getting acemannan is to verify that the aloe vera product you’ve chosen is made from the inner aloe vera leaf, not the outer leaf or whole leaf. There are big differences between the inner and outer leaf. For instance, certain compounds within the outer leaf are known to cause severe gastric distress, stay clear!

What about consuming fresh aloe vera straight from the leaf? Certainly doable, but not everyone appreciates the taste, as aloe vera can be bitter and overpowering, even when mixed with juices or smoothies. It’s also difficult to consume the gel from the inner aloe vera leaf without ending up with part of the outer leaf and all that comes with it.

What About Aloe Vera Juice?

Some people prefer aloe vera juice but it can be difficult to find a juice made with only inner leaf aloe vera. Even juices that are made using the gel from the inner aloe vera leaf may still contain other additives.

Kitchen Cabinet Medicine ~ CCF Tea ~ Digestive Support

CCF Tea ~ Digestive Support

Long loved and cherished by Ayurvedic students and practitioners, CCF tea is a bit of an Ayurvedic staple. Simple, gentle, and tasty, this tea is easy to make and is ideal for supporting a balanced digestive system.

I was first introduced to CCF tea as a student of Ayurveda at the Ayurvedic Institute. The faculty always had a very large batch of CCF tea going throughout the day, which students were welcomed and encouraged to drink during class time. As this was a full-time and intensive program, we wound up drinking quite a lot of it. I can personally attest to its warming, soothing, and supportive effects on the digestive system.

CCF tea is recommended for those suffering from an inadequate or compromised digestion, which is to say, mostly everyone you pass by on the street. I have yet to meet the person who doesn’t need some sort of digestive tune-up from time to time.

Drinking CCF tea relieves indigestion (and prevents it from happening in the first place), decreases gas and bloating after eating, and gently kindles one’s overall digestive fire (Agni), so digestive capacity is improved over the long run.

CCF stands for the three herbs in the tea: Cumin, Coriander, and Fennel, which are common Indian culinary herbs that many people will already have in their kitchen spice rack.

Western herbalists refer to these herbs as being carminative:

“Carminatives’ main action is to soothe the gut wall, easing griping pains and reduce the production of gas in the digestive tract. This is usually due to the complex of volatile oils present, which have a locally anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and mildly anti-microbial effect upon the lining and the muscle coats of the alimentary canal.

 

Ayurvedic medicine has paired this trio of herbs together specifically for their carminative actions. Ayurveda would call this “enkindling the digestion”.

Cumin

Cumin (Cuminum cyminum): The Sanskrit name for cumin (Jiraka) literally translates as ‘promoting digestion’. It is rich in essential oils and has an anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and gentle diuretic effect on the body. Cumin is indicated for sluggish or slow digestion, indigestion, nausea, flatulence, and bloating.

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum): The Sanskrit name for coriander (Dhanyaka) also means ‘rich’. Coriander is a gentle appetite stimulant and antispasmodic herb that is particularly suited for the hyper, acidic, or otherwise ‘burning’ qualities of digestion. It is soothing and anti-inflammatory to the tissues, and its diuretic action removes excess heat and toxins from the body.

fennel-seedsFennel (Foeniculum vulgare): The Sanskrit name for fennel (Madhurika) translates as “the sweet one”. Fennel is particularly useful as an antispasmodic, relieving painful flatulence, cramps, bloating, indigestion, and colic in children. It is rich in sweet tasting volatile oils and assists digestive flow in its natural downward motion. It is also slightly diuretic and has the added benefit of increasing milk production in nursing mothers (don’t worry – if you aren’t nursing, you won’t start producing milk by drinking fennel tea).

RECIPE – CCF TEA

2 teaspoons whole Cumin seeds

2 teaspoons whole Coriander seeds

2 teaspoons whole Fennel seeds

4.5 cups water

Combine the seeds and water in a pot, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil on the stove top. Turn to low, and very gently simmer for 20 minutes, keeping the pot covered.

After 20 minutes, remove from heat, and let sit for 5-10 minutes. This will make approximately 3 full cups of tea.

Strain the herbs, and drink warm or hot before or after meals.

This tea can also be sipped throughout the day to keep your digestive system ‘enkindled’, and happily churning along.