Does Drinking Rose Water Have Legit Benefits? Here's What To Know

For centuries, rose has been used as an herbal remedy for a variety of treatments. As detailed by Perspectives on History, people living in the Mediterranean region hundreds of years ago would turn to this beautiful flower for everything from stomach relief to aphrodisiac benefits. Greek medical writer Dioscorides referenced the use of rose petals in the creation of an oil around the first century CE. Today, people still infuse rose into water for various purposes, including skincare. But is it safe to drink it, and does it have any benefits?

In recent years, people have been using rose water on their skin to moisturize it, as well as combat signs of aging. "Topically, rose water balances the pH of the skin, hydrates dry skin, aids in antiseptic, and fights injury due to aging and sun exposure," board-certified physician Dr. Natasha Sandy told Byrdie. "Nutritionally, rose water contains vitamins A, B, C, and E, as well as flavonoids and other antioxidants."

Many are beginning to wonder if these benefits carry over when rose water is ingested. Dr. Sandy noted to Byrdie that there is likely no harm in drinking rose water. While there is little research showing notable side effects, it's still important to understand the risks of any new trend you intend to try.

Rose water and inflammation reduction

Whether you deal with chronic inflammation or are just trying to calm down a breakout, many people believe that drinking rose water may be the solution. "Rose water is a great anti-inflammatory, which is good for reducing acne, rosacea, eczema, dermatitis, skin redness, and psoriasis," celebrity facialist Ildi Pekar told Byrdie. 

Rose water's antimicrobial properties are often linked to its supposed benefits pertaining to acne and wound healing due to its antiseptic nature (via Medical News Today). However, it's important to note that there is limited research on these benefits and little evidence linking the ingestion of rose water to any type of healing. Given this, it's always best to proceed with caution and talk to a medical professional if you have a health concern.

As naturopathic doctor Gabrielle Francis explained to Byrdie, terpenes and glycosides are the active ingredients in roses that reduce inflammation. These compounds are found in the essential oils of plants and are being explored for their potential use in the food industry as a preservative due to their antimicrobial, antiallergic, and anti-inflammatory properties, as noted in a 2022 study published in Food Chemistry: X.

The use of roses by people around the world

Sipping on rose water may sound strange to some, but in Middle Eastern, Chinese, and Indian cultures, it is a common practice to infuse tea with rose petals (via WebMD). Rose is also added to various foods, including jam and cake. Those who use the flower for its supposed medicinal properties believe that it can help with digestive issues, irritability, menstrual cramps, and mood swings when ingested. While some research has suggested that there may be scientific evidence to back up these claims, many experts agree that the jury is still out.

Despite the uncertainty, the nutrients found in rose petals, such as vitamin C, iron, vitamin A, and calcium, cannot be disputed. Roses also contain polyphenols, which act as antioxidants in the body. Polyphenols can help reverse damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays and pollution-related cell damage (per Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center). Some studies suggest that they can also safeguard against diseases including cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. However, it's worth remembering that any medical concerns should always be addressed with a doctor rather than relying solely on herbal remedies. Your doctor can help you identify safe and healthy ways to incorporate polyphenol-rich foods into your regular diet.

Staying hydrated with rose tea

If you struggle to remember to stay hydrated, incorporating roses into your routine could be the solution. Dehydration can lead to symptoms like skin issues, low blood pressure, fatigue, and headaches (via Healthline). However, not everyone is keen on drinking water throughout the day for proper hydration. Rose tea is a flavorful alternative that can help you stay hydrated. It is caffeine-free and can be sweet and delectable. Additionally, rose tea is mostly composed of water, making it easier for you to remain on top of your daily hydration goals.

Sipping on the essence of this flower might also provide underlying benefits. Remaining appropriately hydrated can prevent kidney stones and increase metabolism, which may aid in weight loss. The scent of roses in a drink, like tea, is also believed to be beneficial. The aroma can potentially relieve stress and depression, according to Medical News Today. When drinking a cup of rose tea, you inhale its vapors, which might have an anti-anxiety effect.

Again, it's important to keep in mind that many of these claims have yet to be supported by hard science. Be sure to consult a medical professional before you turn to roses for the treatment of any symptoms.

Can roses alleviate menstrual cramp pain?

For those who experience severe menstrual cramps, it can be disheartening when over-the-counter painkillers fail to provide relief. However, some believe that the answer can be found in the simple rose. Research indicates that incorporating rose buds or leaves into a beverage and ingesting it can lessen the pain associated with cramps (via Healthline).

A 2005 study published in the Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health showed that rose tea had a positive impact on menstrual pain when consumed by 130 female adolescents. These participants were asked about their menstrual pain and other symptoms at the one-month, three-month, and six-month marks of the study. The researchers concluded that rose tea was able to limit the menstrual pain experienced by the participants who consumed it, compared to those who did not.

However, more research is still needed to determine how rose specifically works to reduce pain in the body. If over-the-counter options don't relieve the pain, a doctor can provide alternative treatment options for menstrual cramps. For example, the topical application of heat can help lessen the aches that come with cramps, according to Healthline.

Potential side effects associated with ingesting rose water

Although rose water has shown few side effects when ingested, this doesn't guarantee that you won't have a negative reaction, especially if you have allergies. Depending on your medical history and underlying health conditions, it may be best to proceed with caution if you're interested in integrating rose into your diet.

If you know you're allergic to the rose plant, avoid ingesting roses in any capacity. WebMD noted that previous research has linked rose hip allergens to asthma. Additionally, rose can interact with some medications, including antidepressants. Your doctor can provide more information on how ingesting rose might impact any existing allergies you have, as well as medication interactions.

Even if you don't have any known allergies to rose, the plant's high vitamin C content is something to consider. Consuming excessive amounts of vitamin C (more than 2,000mg/day) can result in side effects, such as diarrhea and kidney stones (per Mount Sinai). Because it can be difficult to monitor your intake of the vitamin when sipping on rose water, it's best to ingest it cautiously.

How to use roses in your beverages

If you have received medical clearance and decided to integrate roses into your diet, it's easy to get started. First, note that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers four species of rose to be safe for consumption when using extracts: Rosa alba L., Rosa centifolia L., Rosa damascena Mill., and Rosa gallica L. You can confidently utilize these varieties in essential oil form without negatively impacting your health.

To create your own rose water or tea, begin by collecting fresh or dried petals. Two cups of fresh rose petals typically yield one cup of tea. Boil the petals in three cups of water for approximately five minutes, and then strain the mixture. If you're working with dried rose petals or buds, collect one tablespoon and steep them in a cup of boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Pre-measured packets of rose petals designed for steeping will likely come with more specific instructions for optimal results.

Ideally, it's best to work with roses that you've harvested yourself to ensure they haven't been treated with pesticides. Roses from florists or nurseries are often treated with chemicals beforehand, so avoid using these flowers when possible.