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Bulgarian rose oil
The first roses were brought to Thrace by returning soldiers of Alexander the Great. The roses were imported to the region from Kashan, Persia through Damascus, Syria. The climatic conditions of Kazanlak region, actually, proved to be much more favorable than the ones in the country of origin.
The humidity and the cloudiness contributed to the production of roses with high essential oil content. Over time, people began to apply a double and a repeated distillation. Thus, for the first time, the rose oil itself became the main product of the distillation and the result was an oil with unsurpassed quality, never experienced before.
The new product, Bulgarian rose oil, soon became known worldwide. It was very well received by the new perfumery and cosmetic industries thriving in Europe at the time, while the Orient was still fascinated only by the rose water. Special copper vessels and wooden containers, called “konkumi”, were created for transportation purposes.
The first Bulgarian rose oil was distilled around 1655. In 1820, the first rose-trading house of Doncho Papazov was built in Kazanlak, and the city became the center of rose production in Bulgaria.
- Bulgaria has more than 350 years of tradition in the production of rose oil.
- Bulgarian rose oil is recognized as the one with the highest quality in the whole world. It is eternal. Konkum Bulgarian rose oil, produced in the 1940s, now costs more than $ 20,000 and is difficult to find.
- The demand for Bulgarian rose oil is still greater than its supply. More than 30 roses are needed for the extraction of a single drop of oil, while one kilogram of oil is obtained from 3000 to 4000 kg of rose blossoms. Keeping this in mind, the fact that rose oil is 50 times more expensive than other oils is quite understandable.
- There are currently about 1 000 species of the genus Rosa, in the Rosaceae family, but the most important for the extraction of essential oil are the Damascus Rose (Rosa Damascena) and the Red rose (Rosa Gallica). Bulgaria has 1300 hectares of rose plantations, most of them in the Rose Valley. The soils in this region are deep and permeable – chernozemic and meadow soils, with plenty of humus.
- The harvesting is done by hand, starts at 6 am and must be stopped before 11am, unless the day is cloudy. After sunrise, the content of essential oil in the blossoms drops to 30%, due to evaporation.
Roses have been used in the traditional folk medicines of the ancient Chinese, Indians, Persians, Arabs, etc. For centuries, the pure rose oil is used for healing, harmony, romance and enjoyment. Roses were grown in monastery gardens for their healing properties and have been an important part of Materia Medica. They have been a known aphrodisiac for ages.
The ancient tradition to scatter rose petals on the nuptial bed and to use them in wedding ceremonies still continues to this day. In the 16th century, during the bubonic plague in France, Nostradamus prepared "pink pills" that contained rose petals, clove, iris, cypress ... For the same purpose, but in Italy, alchemist Alexis of Piedmont used to prescribe a mixture of 18 herbs, one of which was rose.
For many centuries, the rose has been associated with female beauty, hence with skin care. It has a tonic and an astringent effect on the capillaries, which makes it appropriate for reducing redness. It also possesses purifying, cleansing, soothing and antiseptic properties, suitable for all skin types, especially for dry, mature, sensitive and inflamed, cracked and loose skin; eczema, wrinkles, acne, scars, broken capillaries, allergic dermatitis, dermatosis, allergy, shingles, burns of first and second degree, radiation burns, cuts, necrosis, psoriasis, boils, pigment spots, stretch marks, infected wounds, rashes, swellings, impetigo, scarlet fever, deep wounds, and even for dry and thin hair. Last but not least, it promotes cell regeneration.
Rose hydrosol is a much more affordable way of maintaining beautiful skin. It has a softening and cooling effect on inflamed skin, tones and has an antiseptic effect. It is most suitable for sensitive, dry and delicate skin, and improves some forms of dermatitis.