The health benefits of the rose
The rose naturally conjures up images and thoughts of love and romance for almost all people. Love is a natural healer. That is one big health benefit! The rose is a beautiful exquisite flower no doubt. It is used in flower arrangements, bouquets, as a part of decorations at weddings and celebrations and it even forms a part of wreaths on coffins. Even just looking at a rose brings pleasure to most people. The beauty and delicate fragrance of the rose has universal appeal. This lovely flower has many other uses other than being decorative or an instrument of love and romance.
The petals of the rose flower are used to make Rose-water. Rose water has a lovely fragrance. It is used as a part of many ceremonies. In India guests are welcomed by sprinkling rose water on them.
Rose water is an essential part of many beauty treatments. Rose water is used as an astringent and sometimes as a base for astringent and skin toner.
Rose water is used to make beauty face masks. Mix a bit of sandalwood powder in rose water. Apply a thin layer of this paste to your face avoiding the eye contour and then wash it off after it dries.
Sometimes rose water is applied after steaming the face or some other beauty treatment.
You can make rose water at home if you wish. Take fresh rose petals and pour just enough water to cover them. Boil or simmer on a low flame for about 45 minutes and allow the decoction to cool. Strain and squeeze out the rose petals and voila, you have your rose water. You can bottle and refrigerate it. Use the homemade rose water within a week to ten days.
If your eyes feel tired, just dip a swab of cotton in cool rose water and place it over your eyes. This will cool and refresh your eyes.
The rose is also used to make perfumes.
Other than external uses, the rose is also eaten or consumed. Rose essence is used in foods. Fresh rose petals are sometimes used to garnish sweets such as jelebi , phirni or sweets such as mawa cakes etc.
Rose essence is used in flavouring beverages. Rooh-afza is commercially available popular rose syrup. Rose syrup added to chilled milk or lassi makes an excellent drink in the summers.
To make rose syrup:
Boil water and sugar. Add one spoon sugar for a cup of water. Add rose essence to taste and red food color. Chill and serve. You can boil rose petals instead of using rose essence too.
You can make a concentrate of rose syrup. Just add more sugar and boil the mixture to make one thread consistency sugar syrup. You can add rose essence and bit of red food colour. then let it cool. This concentrate can be diluted before serving. You can add rose syrup to lemonade too.
This is a sweet preserve made from rose petals and sugar. (gul means rose, kand means sweet or sugar) many people make gulkand at home, though it is available in the market.
Gulkand has many medicial uses as per ayurveda. It is used to treat acidity and constipation as it is an excellent digestive. Gulkand can be eaten just as it is or it can also can be put into paan and eaten, or you can add it to ice-creams, milk shakes and kulfi. Edible Silver foil is also added to gulkand at times, and sometimes gold powder is also added.
Gulkand has cooling properties. It is used as a cooling tonic to treat fatigue, and heat-related conditions. Eating a spoonful of gulkand every day is good for memory, eyesight, cheerfulness and it is a good blood purifier as well.
To make gulkand:
Use a wide-mouthed airtight glass jar. Ensure it is clear glass and not coloured glass. Place the fresh rose petals and sugar in alternate layers in this jar. Place this jar in direct sunlight for 6 hours per day for about 3 weeks to a month. Every other day, stir the contents with a wooden stick. The sugar will start melting and the rose petals will change color, and there will be a good blend or rose petals and sugar. Keep the jar indoors when done. Use the homemade gulkand within a month. (Home made preparations may be liable to contamination if the utensils used are not properly sterilized so it is best to get a commercially made preparation of gulkand as it may be more hygienic and will also last longer.)