A lot of folks will end up with bouquets of roses in their homes this week~~so many, in fact, that it might make the flower seem, well, common. Even though the many-petaled beauty still reigns supreme for expressing love on Valentine's and other days, none of us can escape the fact that it's just as easily found in gas station mini marts on any given Tuesday.
But don't let that fool you. Essential oils distilled from Rosa species are the most expensive around. Those in the know claim it takes 60 roses to create just one drop of rose otto essential oil~~and a quick check of reputable online suppliers will confirm that. So this isn't the stuff to splash around with abandon like lavender or peppermint.
Knowing that, now's a great time for a quick lesson in spotting essential oil impostors (rose and otherwise):
- If you see a lovely display of different oils all at the same low, low price of $6.99, walk away. It takes about 50 pounds of eucalyptus leaves to obtain a pound of steam-distilled essential oil, and 500 pounds of rosemary leaves to make a similar amount of that oil. So it's no surprise that the same-sized bottle of rose oil should cost MUCH more.
- No, Virginia, there is no strawberry, or banana, or pineapple essential oil. Their aromatic compounds don't make it through the distillation process. Sorry, but you'll just have to enjoy the real product to benefit from those scents.
- As with everything you purchase, read the label. You may be looking at an infused oil, or an essential oil that's already been diluted in a carrier. These are fine for massage and other topical uses, but if you're looking for an oil for your diffuser or to use as an ingredient in your own preparations, this isn't the right product.
If you're lucky enough to get your hands on a bottle of real steam-distilled rose otto, treasure it. I don't know what came over me when I decided to try a drop in my homemade deodorant. It of course smells divine but it's no doubt the most expensive thing I'll ever spray under my arms. Luckily, there are other more affordable oils you can use to treat sensitive skin, headaches, and depression, and for restoring balance and in meditation.
If you're blessed to obtain a small bottle of this liquid gold someday, try simply uncapping occasionally for a deep inhale. Using it judiciously this way will let you enjoy it a long, long time.