Rosa damascena mill L., known as Gole Mohammadi in is one of the most important species of Rosaceae family flowers. R. damascena is an ornamental plant and beside perfuming effect, several pharmacological properties including anti-HIV, antibacterial, antioxidant, antitussive, hypnotic, antidiabetic, and relaxant effect on tracheal chains have been reported for this plant.
Rosa damascena mill L, commonly known as Damask rose , is known as Gole Mohammadi in Iran. It is one of the most important species of Rosaceae family. Rosaceae are well- known ornamental plants and have been referred to as the king of flowers. At present time, over 200 rose species and more than 18000 cultivars form of the plant have been identified. Apart from the use of R.damascena as ornamental plants in parks, gardens, and houses, they are principally cultivated for using in perfume, medicine and food industry.
However, R. damascena is mainly known for its perfuming effects. The rose water were scattered at weddings to ensure a happy marriage and are symbol of love and purity and are also used to aid meditation and prayer.
There is a strong bond between Iranians and this plant.
Its popularity is not only because of the medicinal effects but also is due to holy beliefs about it.
People call this plant Flower of Prophet Mohammed (Gole mohammadi), because they believe its nice aroma reminds them of prophet Mohammad.
At the present time, this plant is cultivated in Iran (especially in Kashan) for preparing rose water and essential oil.
Because of the low oil content in R. damascena and the lack of natural and synthetic substitutes, essential rose oil of this plant is one of the most expensive ones in the world markets.
The R. damascena has also been used for medicinal purposes.
There are evidences that Rosaceae family is an ancient plant. Some fossils of rose are found in America that are 30 million years old. The origin of Damask rose is the Middle East and some evidences indicate that the origin of rose water is Iran.
This plant is cultivated in all over the world including Iran, Europe, Bulgaria, Turkey and India. The major cultivation areas of R. damascena in Iran are Kashan,Khorasan, Fars and Azerbaijan, among them Kashan is the most famous one .
There are many evidences that cultivation and consumption of R. damascena in Iran has a long history and Iran is one of its origins.
It is believed that the crude distillation of roses for the oil was originated from in the late 7th century AD, and spread to the provinces of later in 14th century. Iran has been the main producer of rose oil since the 16th century and exports it to all over the world.
There are different products from R. damascena in the world that The major products are as below.
It is an abundant product of R. damascena in which contains 10-50% rose oil.
In Iran The most usage of Rose water is in religious ceremonies. It is used in mosques especially at mourning ceremonies, to calm and relax people. The highest quality rose water is produced in Kashan. Kaaba (God House) in , is washed yearly by unique and special rose water of Kashan. Rose water is also of high value in the food industry and some special foods are prepared using this product.
It is a volatile oil obtained by distillation of the fresh flowers of R. damascena. The oil is prepared in copper alembic stills by the peasant or in large factories under careful scientific control. Some 3000 parts of flowers yields only one part of oil. The oil is very expensive and very liable to adulteration. The oil is, pale, yellow, and semisolid. The portion which is solid at ordinary temperatures forms about 15-20% and consists of odourless stearoptene containing principally saturated aliphatic hydrocarbons (C14-C23 normal paraffins). Because of the low oil content in R. damascena and the lack of natural and synthetic substitutes, essential rose oil is one of the most expensive ones in the world markets.
Two kinds of dried flowers are produced in .
- A) Dried bud which is mostly for export.
- B) Dried petals for different purposes; its major use is for eating, as it can solve problems with digestive system. Some Iranians eat it with yogurt. Another reason for drying petals is to store them when distilleries cannot accept the whole produced flower anymore. They use them later for distillation.