Introduction to Rose Water
The earth shows a captivating face in spring and fascinates every nature tourist. One of the most exciting spring events belongs to Kashan. The enchanting season of the year and the lovely month of spring, May. Its delicate flowers bloom and perfume the whole city with rose water. Persian cities each have unique characteristics; Some narrate an ancient history, preserving the relics, and some represent a stunning look of nature and a pleasant climate. Flower colours are one of the most brilliant gifts of God in the heart of nature, which conveys vitality and spirit to human beings. The flowers and plants’ commotion in spring is the most beautiful of all seasons, and a heavenly show of colourful flowers dancing in the corners of Persia takes place, which is so spectacular.
If you walk through the alleys of Kashan, Ghamsar, and Niasar at this time, intoxicated by all this charm and fragrance, you will find yourself in a paradise that will amaze you.
The Mohammadi flower (Damask Rose) is one of the particular rose varieties that are extremely valuable in the economy of many cities in Iran. A fragrant flower that shows off its soft pink colour. Damask flower perfume is one of the specific features of such a rose, a soothing scent that refreshes the mind. Rosewater is another exclusive product produced from this flower. It is gratifying to think that there are flowerbeds full of the fragrant Damask Roses in a desert city. Therefore, Kashan rosewater making is one of the important cultural attractions of the city. The rose-picking ceremony alone, along with all the historical magnificence of Kashan and its valuable works, invites thousands of domestic and foreign tourists to the city every year.
Imagine the days when the scent of the earth’s breath reaches the galaxy from Kashan!
City of Rosewaters
Ghamsar is the city of flowers and roses, as well as Niasar, the city that parallels Ghamsar during the rose-picking season, hosting guests who travel to these two fascinating cities from all over Iran and the world to witness the rose-picking festival.
History of Rosewaters
According to the evidence obtained, it was a thousand years ago that a new idea came to the minds of the Persians, also they were the first people to cultivate the Damask Rose, discovered its properties, and thought that rosewaters could be made from flowers. So the Persians thought of inventing devices for distilling liquids and taking essential oils. Since the ancient Greek sages did not know about the rosewater-making and liquid distillation industry and used only the liquid extract of rose petals and their decoction in oil, Persians can be considered the first people in the field of chemistry and distillation. They had a lot of information. Using distillation of water obtained from the petals of the rose, they produced an aromatic liquid with excellent properties called Rosewater. Ibn Sina, a well-known physician, spent many years extracting essential oils from flowers; So the first rosewater maker in the world is Abu Ali Sina. It is necessary to know that Rosewater is also called rose syrup.
History of Rose-picking ceremony
In a study of the artefacts obtained from the silk excavations, the shape of a 7-pointed flower can be seen on them, proving the claim that the region’s inhabitants have been familiar with flowers and plants since millennia BC. Much of the pottery found on the Silk Hill also has engravings of flower-picking ceremonies, indicating that the rose-picking ceremony is more than thousands of years old. It may be a little strange; But until 350 years ago, Damask or Mohammadi rose was grown only in Persia.
Rosewater making is one of the prominent ceremonies since 140 years ago in different parts of Kashan, which has held much more glory in the past than it is today. After being collected, the garden products were sent to the workshop with local instruments and songs from the past. Of course, if you are on your way to Qamsar, you will face a lively ceremony and the arranged flowers that are loaded with camels and taken to the rosewater-making workshop. Persia has always been a happy and prosperous country in history. Also, during the ceremony, locals will take the pots and utensils prepared for the ceremony to the river to say prayer. Harvesting of Mohammadi flowers and rose picking begins every year on May 6 and continues until the early days of June. Rose picking is not limited to the Kashan region; other cities also record the scent of spring flowers with this custom. Meymand and Darab-e Fars are among the areas with springs full of rose picking.
During the Safavid period, Mohammadi flowers were transmitted worldwide, and the flowers were sent to Turkey, Syria, and Bulgaria with rosewater-making devices. The Silk Road had a significant impact on the globalization of Persian genius and goods; Merchants exported rosewaters from Iran to China and India from Silk Road. Hindus may have originated the culture of using flowers in their religious ceremonies from here. Moreover, since the distillation and rosewater of Persia travelled from Damascus to Europe, the Europeans called it the Rose of Damask.
The aroma of Rosewater
Ghamsar rosewater of Kashan is a well-known product with a popularity that has crossed the borders of Persia, and its intoxicating perfume has spread all over the world. In 1973 and 1975, when Bulgarian experts studied red roses, they concluded that the Ghamsar’s Mohammadi red roses in Kashan were of better quality and superior to similar samples in other parts of the world. Consequently, most European cologne factories use Qamsar rosewater for perfumes and colognes. In 1973 and 1975, when Bulgarian experts studied red roses, they concluded that the Ghamsar’s Mohammadi red roses in Kashan were of better quality and superior to similar samples in other parts of the world. This has caused the perfume and rosewater of Qamsar to remain a well-known product for a long time. Moreover, every year the Kaaba in Saudi Arabia is soaked with pure Mohammadi rosewater of Kashan.
How to make Rose water
Flower picking is mostly the women’s and girls’ responsibility. The girls who go to the garden become flowers among thousands of roses. They tie the Chadorshab or Chachab (a unique piece of fabric in the women’s style) around their waists and necks and bring it forward like an apron. They pick flowers with perfectly short stems and collect them in Chadorshab. The best time to pick flowers is from 5 to 8 A.M. After accumulating Damask roses, women will transfer them to the rosewater-making workshops. In the traditional method of Kashan rosewater making, the flowers are poured into a pot; then, a few litres of water will be added, depending on their aroma concentration and the container volume. Now it is time to put the pot on the fire. One end of a straw or thin tube made of aluminium or steel is attached to the pot lid and the other one is to a copper pitcher. These pitchers, which give about 30 to 40 litres of rosewater, are placed in a cold water pond to cool the resulting rosewater. One of the critical points of the rosewater-making device is to cover the possible steam outlet chambers so that no leakage and the steam would be wasted from the pure extract. The distillation process time varies between 4 to 7 hours. These distillations of spring flowers are the people’s endeavour result, who are eager to preserve their sweet and ancient tradition.
For the fragrance of flowers, the distiller could separate the thin oil layer created on the rosewater with a syringe.
The prevalence of Rosewater
Before the gas supply to the rural areas of Kashan, the locals used wood, firewood, and petroleum products to boil water in copper pots to produce high-quality rosewaters. Of course, with the development of gas supply in the city and villages, gas became a suitable alternative for more products of roses and other essences.
Rose water Properties
Rosewater is one of the traditional products that have many beneficial properties for the health of the body through medical and even food applications. In addition to the pleasing scent, its ingredients can also improve your health. The medical use of rosewater in Persia and other parts of the Middle East dates back to the 7th century. However, there is evidence that the North American Indians also used it as a medicine. If you have rosewater at home, it looks like you have half a box of first aid kits at home.
- Rosewater contains many powerful antioxidants; Research indicates that it can be used to relax the central nervous system. The skin is the largest organ in the body, acting like a protective layer against UV rays, chemicals, and other physical contaminants. The antioxidants in rosewater protect cells from damage. Rosewater also contains anti-inflammatory properties that can protect the skin against allergies caused by eczema. In addition, it protects against impurities such as elastase and collagenase that are harmful to the skin.
- Roses are rich in various vitamins, and rosewaters work wonders for the skin. If you have dry and sensitive skin, rosewater is your treatment. It is so easy to use instead of chemical skin cleansers.
- Rosewater massage on the skin opens superficial wrinkles, eliminating inflammation and redness of the skin. After bathing, when the skin pores are open, apply a little rosewater on your face to make your skin clearer. The skin will quickly absorb this healing fluid which improves blood circulation as well. In the long run, you can feel the change in your skin. Rosewater is beneficial for hydrating the skin and also holds antiseptic properties.
- Due to its soothing and anti-allergic properties, rosewater can treat sore throats; studies indicate that it relaxes the throat muscles. Rosewater is a treatment for sore throat and respiratory problems. Drinking such syrup also works wonders for chest pain and sore throat. If you do not have seeds to relieve chest pain at home, try rosewater.
- Rosewater can be used to make eye drops. It has also been shown to have many advantages for eye patients. Rosewater can treat the eye diseases such as dry eye, acute dacryocystitis (infection of the duct, sac, or lacrimal gland), complications (pterygium), and cataracts.
- It has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, which is why it heals wounds faster, as it keeps them clean and protects them from contamination. Rosewater can protect wounds against including burns, skin cuts, and infections. In fact, because of its antiseptic properties, rosewater causes the immune system to release more histamine, which treats infections.
- Traditionally, inhaling rosewater improves a person’s mood. Of course, it can also be drunk. Research shows that rosewater has antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties, then it can improve sleep quality, which has a hypnotic effect like diazepam. Rosewater is also used to treat some mental problems such as depression, sadness, stress, and strain.
- It is valuable in other medical conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Under these conditions, a protein called amyloid, which the body produces, is secreted, destroying cells and reducing memory. Fortunately, the compounds in rosewater can block this protein.
- Drinking rosewater can improve mood; Researchers believe that rosewater can help treat headaches and migraines. It is applied in aromatherapy; You can rub it on a cloth, and placing it on your forehead.
If you have a headache, smell the distillation or drink some of it. Rosewater is a definitive treatment for headaches caused by noise and pollution, which cannot be removed from city life; So it is better to always have some rose syrup at home and use it instead of painkillers.
- The consumption of rosewater has a beneficial effect on the gastrointestinal tract. It also improves bile flow, which helps relieve bloating and abdominal pain. It is also commonly used as a laxative because it increases the amount of water in the stool and the number of times you go to the bathroom, which is so helpful for treating constipation.
- For toothache, apply a few drops of distillation on your rotten or painful tooth to relieve the pain. You can soak a cotton ball in rosewater and gently hold it between your teeth.
- If you are annoyed from a hot summer and are overheated or even when you are anxious and upset for any reason, try rosewater. Whether you breathe in the air with the scent of rosewater or invite yourself to rose syrup, you will feel better.
- Rose essence also strengthens the heart and stomach; But for a great result, it is better to use it for a while and then check your change.
- If you use your laptop and phone too much because of your work, your eyes will get tired soon. We recommend applying a little rosewater behind your eyelids to relieve this fatigue and pain in your eyes. Keep your eyes closed for a few moments. Take a deep breath. Everything is getting better.
- Rosebuds and petals can also be dried and eaten with yoghurt, which improves the digestive system.
The process of traditional and industrial rosewater making
Different types of rose essences are prepared in Kashan including
Heavy rose water (first grade)
The rosewater contains at least 35 mg of distillation in 100 ml. In the traditional method of preparing this kind of rosewater, by pouring 30 kg of high-quality flowers into a rose-making pot and extracting, 40 litres of the liquid is obtained from it, which is also called 5-Mani rosewater.
Light rose water (second grade)
This rosewater contains at least 15 mg of the essence in 100 ml. In other words, a distillation is obtained by pouring 15 kg of flowers and extracting 40 litres of solution.
Two-fire rose water
If, after one distillation and rose water-making, instead of pouring water on the flowers of the pot again, the previously obtained rose is poured and distilled again with fresh flowers, the rosewater obtained from this distillation is a two-fire one.
Three-fire rosewater (three flowers)
If the rosewater-making process is repeated for the third time, the two-fire rosewater is distilled again with fresh flowers, it is called the three-fire one.
* The production of these two rosewater types is limited; therefore, they are unique in terms of quality and amount of essential oil.
If water is added to the pot’s pulp again after distillation and the flower pulp is distilled again, the resulting rosewater that has a low quality is called Pas Ab.
To watch and share in the traditional production of this magical and fragrant extract, wait for spring and come in the middle of May to visit Kashan. The experience of rose-picking in a city like Niasar and Qamsar will be unforgettable and become one of the sweetest adventures of your life. The trip in May will show you the most delicate appearance of the earth, telling you a story of nature’s generosity.