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A rose by any other name
(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-08-21 08:58

The rose is the queen of flowers and its fragrance has infatuated women all over the world since Cleopatra.

But the tender flower with the thorny stem is more than just a beautiful flower with a pretty fragrance. Its properties are valued in cosmetics for their harmonizing and anti-inflammatory effects on sensitive skin. Thus the raw material, rose oil, is not only precious, but also expensive.

Very expensive, says Monika Ferdinand of Germany's association of cosmeticians. Depending on the type and where it is grown, the cost ranges between 3,000 and 8,000 euros ($4,230 and $11,277) per kilogram, she says.

The reason lies in the laborious cultivation of the flower. As lovely as the rose smells, the job of cultivating them can really stink, says horticulturist Rauf Oenal of Izmir, Germany. The rose is very susceptible to fungus and pests, and harvesting roses is very tedious, Oenal says.

There are only 30 days in the year when roses can be picked in the early morning hours, and it takes 4 tons of blossoms to make a single kilogram of oil.

"That makes the rose an especially precious commodity," says Oenal. It's worth the trouble, however, because rose oil has several hundred individual substances. The blossom holds not only essential oils, but also valuable lipids and waxes. These protect the skin from losing moisture, says Britta John of the perfumery cooperative Beauty Alliance. Rose oil is especially ideal for raw, red or irritated skin.

Oil from the seed of the Mosqueta rose is extremely rich in trans-retinol acids, says Lillith Schwertle, a cosmetician at the German natural cosmetic maker Weleda.

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