Rosa Damascena

Rosa Damascena


A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

-William Shakespeare


From Water to Oil

Rosa Damascena, the rose from which doTERRA sources their Rose essential oil, has a long history. Medieval Persians isolated the aroma of Rose and the production of rose water began. Many people are familiar with rose water as a culinary ingredient.

Pure, unadulterated Rose essential oil is rare, and precious. The tedious and low yielding process requires extreme skill. Therefore, the best sources are places where growers and harvesters have been in the business for many generations. One nation finds itself at the center of every discussion of Rose sourcing: Bulgaria.


The War ON Roses

As so much of the existing education about rose essential oil focuses on just the oil itself, I feel called to explore the tumultuous history of Bulgaria first.  When I am using essential oils, I find myself attached to the energy of every part of the cycle. To my heart, the person hunched over in a field harvesting the petals is just as influential to the end result as the rain that falls into the soil and feeds the plant.

Most importantly, I want to discuss how impactful war was on the production of Rose, and how much of Bulgaria’s culture was almost lost to the history of violence.

Initially, Bulgaria was an overwhelmingly agricultural country. Before WWI, four out of five families were farmers, and a huge majority of them grew rosa damascene.  Roses were, and are, at the heart of the country. Bulgaria was a peaceful, lush landscape that happened to find itself in the middle of conflicting countries.  After WWI, only 23% of those farmers continued on in the tradition of their families.

As if one world war wasn’t enough, Bulgaria took another massive hit in WWII. Finding itself on the losing end of it’s second world war and under soviet control, with a strong focus on industrialization. Everyone was looking for the city life to make them prosperous. The agricultural lifestyle no longer profitable or appealing.


Modern Resurrection of Bulgaria’s Rose Production

Now, in 1989, the soviet rule ended and Bulgaria found itself free. Unfortunately, as is the way with liberated occupations, Bulgaria then found itself without any financial or political infrastructure, furthering the economic despair. This drove the majority of the remaining rural population off of farms and into cities.

As a result, in 1990, 2 out of every 3 citizens lived in cities; and those cities were soon to collapse without the Soviet Funding.

The focus then became; how does a country rebuild? How does a country stay relevant in Modern Society and re-install culture? Unlike modern technology- a country torn by war and chaos is not so easy to re-boot. Getting the land back into the hands of it’s citizens was a major priority, but without proper funding and training, this was an overwhelming task.

As the essential oil market began to grow at astronomical and record breaking rates, doTERRA made the bold decision to make a strong investment in Bulgaria, to preserve and restore that rich dying culture.

After so many years of external control and totalitarian rule, nothing is more important than empowering Bulgaria. Esseterre is doTERRA’s distillery that officially opened in 2016. It is not only one of the largest distilleries in the country now, but by far the most technologically advanced.

“Although Esseterre is owned by doTERRA, it is a Bulgarian firm, built and managed by a highly skilled team of people,” said David Stirling, CEO, doTERRA. “Bulgaria is an agricultural haven for growing an abundance of aromatic plants, and the Bulgarians in this region are very wise about the cultivation of these plants.” The focus on rebuilding Bulgaria won over a very large majority of my heart. 



Poetically Perfect Sourcing Conditions

“oh, how I love thee. Let me count the ways…”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning


The beautiful landscape and heavenly scent of the Bulgarian Rose has inspired poems and letters home for hundreds of years! Often referring to Rose Valley as the most fertile land and “the cashmere” of Europe. It is THE premiere sourcing choice for many reasons.

First of all, the unique & charming landscape Rose Valley is surrounded by mountains, therefore it is protected from high winds and has a milder winter.

In addition to this mild winter, every village in the valley is fed by a natural river or spring and the region has a high amount of spring rain. This abundance of moisture is essential for the growth of healthy Rosa Damascene.

Finally, even the soil is perfect! Roses need soil that drains well, but they need it to hang on to moisture long enough for the plant to absorb some. The predominate soil in the region is cinnamon forest soil which is always mixed with sand and rubble.


What is the fuss all about?


The serious question after all that history, right? What IS the fuss all about?

The volatile nature of essential oils makes it so that certain chemical components start to evaporate when the sun hits the petals. For this reason, workers are out in the fields at very early hours, harvesting quickly.

Harvesters aren’t just out in the fields early in the morning, they are also in an incredible hurry! Rose petals are delicate, therefore distillation  must take place the same day.

Even with this labor-intensive production process intact, roses have a very low yield. It takes approximately 1,160,000 freshly picked rose petals to produce only 30 mL of Rose essential oil.

From this labor comes an essential oil known for its sweet oral aroma and POWERFUL actions.

What Rose does, no one does better. The historical and therapeutic uses of rose essential oil are plentiful and multifaceted. A simple google search can send you into the rabbit hole, where you will emerge a professional in using Rose for every single bump, itch or tickle.

In all seriousness, it is the real deal; especially when used on the skin or for emotions!

The most popular uses are the following:

  • balances moisture levels in skin
  • reduces the appearance of skin imperfections
  • promotes healthy and even skin tone
  • emotionally uplifting
  • supports a healthy hormonal balance
  • perfume
  • libido boosting
  • soothes the moon cycle blues and crankiness


The Energetics of Rose Essential Oil

The subtle body and the residing soul are strongly influenced by the vibrational qualities of essential oils.

The practice of using essential oils energetically is multifaceted, therefore, it is best used as part of a dynamic emotional healing program. This should include mediation, journaling and gratitude.

The best description of Rose’s emotional & energetic uses is; DIVINE LOVE. To take this a step further, most references site rose oil to be the highest vibrating essential oil in all the land.

Most important usage of rose oil is the healing of the heart chakra. This vibration supports the energetic body as it reaches out to God to surrender and let go. As Gabby Bernstein says, “The Universe has YOUR back”, and rose sets out to prove it.

Applying this oil with the intention to receive divine love, we wrap ourselves up in that warmth, charity and unwavering support and shed the low vibrations of suffering. Use this oil when you are feeling closed or broken hearted and/or when you feel disconnected to the interconnectedness of the human race. The very truth at the heart of the human race, is that we are all ONE.

In this way, the beauty of the Bulgarian culture and its past struggles play just as much a part in the finished product that is the Rose Touch.

You are holding a connection to your brothers and sisters in Bulgaria, as they work to rebuild their country with a structure of empowerment, respect and fairness.

Isn’t that what we are doing as we repair our hearts?




Leave a Comment