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Rose Flowers—A Delicate Perfume or a Natural Healer?

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Milka Mileva,1,* Yana Ilieva,1 Gabriele Jovtchev,2 Svetla Gateva,2 Maya Margaritova Zaharieva,1 Almira Georgieva,1,3 Lyudmila Dimitrova,1 Ana Dobreva,4 Tsveta Angelova,2 Nelly Vilhelmova-Ilieva,1 Violeta Valcheva,1 and Hristo Najdenski1

Abstract

Plants from the Rosacea family are rich in natural molecules with beneficial biological properties, and they are widely appreciated and used in the food industry, perfumery, and cosmetics. In this review, we are considering Rosa damascena Mill., Rosa alba L., Rosa centifolia L., and Rosa gallica L. as raw materials important for producing commercial products, analyzing and comparing the main biological activities of their essential oils, hydrolates, and extracts. A literature search was performed to find materials describing (i) botanical characteristics; (ii) the phytochemical profile; and (iii) biological properties of the essential oil sand extracts of these so called “old roses” that are cultivated in Bulgaria, Turkey, India, and the Middle East. The information used is from databases PubMed, Science Direct, and Google Scholar. Roses have beneficial healing properties due to their richness of beneficial components, the secondary metabolites as flavonoids (e.g., flavones, flavonols, anthocyanins), fragrant components (essential oils, e.g., monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes), and hydrolysable and condensed tannins. Rose essential oils and extracts with their therapeutic properties—as respiratory antiseptics, anti-inflammatories, mucolytics, expectorants, decongestants, and antioxidants—are able to act as symptomatic prophylactics and drugs, and in this way alleviate dramatic sufferings during severe diseases.

Keywords: Rosa damascena Mill., Rosa alba L., Rosa centifolia L., Rosa gallica L., essential oils, water and alcohol extracts, antimutagenic potential, antineoplastic effect, antiviral activity, antioxidant properties

1. Introduction

The beauty and fragrance of rose flowers have been known since ancient times. The first historical reports of roses were found in old Chinese and Sanskrit texts. Fossil findings dating from about 40 million years ago indicate that Rosa species have existed on the planet since at least that time [1,2,3]. Up to the present day, roses are one of the most important groups of ornamental plants, a sign of inspiration, purity, love, happiness, and beauty, called the “Gift of angles”, “Queen of flowers”, and “Gol-E-Mohammadi” [1,2,3,4].

According to the findings of Nazarenko et al. (1983), the genus Rosa, to which the oil-bearing species belongs, originates from the ancient evergreen lianas of the Sundarbans in India, called “the pharmacy of the world” as more than a quarter of the drugs known today in medicine are based on plants from these forests [5]. At present, about 1000 genotypes of roses are known; they are classified and grouped based on botanical characteristics: hybrid teas, grand floras, polyanthus, floribundas, miniatures, climbing, shrub, but only a few of them exhibit the marked fragrance which is preferred by perfumers [6,7]. Rosa damascena Mill. forma trigintipetala Dieck, Rosa alba L. Rosa damascena Mill. var. alba, Rosa gallica L. Rosa centifoliaRosa chinensis, and Rosa rugosa are grown worldwide predominantly as a raw material for the perfume and cosmetics industry [1,8,9,10,11,12,13]. Species affiliation is a determining factor of the quality of commercial products: essential oils, hydrolates, and the concrete and absolute. Essential oils and hydrolates are products of distillation, the concrete is an extract with a non-polar solvent, and the absolute is a subsequent product which is formed after the extraction of concrete with ethanol [12]. Among the world leaders in rose production are countries such as Turkey, China, countries of the former Soviet Union, Egypt, Morocco, and Bulgaria [13,14,15]. In Bulgaria, the cultivation and processing of roses is a tradition and the livelihood of a large part of the population and it is very important for the country’s agricultural economy, and R. damascena Mill., R. alba L., R. gallica L., and R. centifolia L. are grown predominantly [15,16]. The use of rose essential oils, aqueous and alcoholic extracts of rose petals, flowers, and heads, not only as fragrances or for aromatherapy, but also for the treatment and prevention of various diseases and disorders is very popular in folk medicine. Thus, the search for new biological activities of plant extracts is in many cases based on data from recipes from folk healers. On a scientific basis, the empirical knowledge from folk medicine is an important aspect of more and more in vitro and in vivo studies, including preclinical and clinical trials. These trials explore and explain the therapeutic efficacy of rose products and their ingredients, including: antidepressant effects, psychological relaxation, improvement of sexual dysfunction, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, probiotic and antipyretic effects, smooth muscle relaxation, lipid-lowering content, antiulcerogenic effects, etc. [2,8,17,18,19,20,21,22]. Rose oils are recommended not only for inhalation and topical application (in aromatherapy and dermatology) but also for oral administration at physiologically applicable doses. A number of studies have shown the anticancer activity of rose oils and their potential to be used as adjuncts in adjuvant therapy of tumors [23,24]. Rose oil is also known for its anti-HIV, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties [3,6,25,26,27]. In this review, we are considering R. damascena Mill., R. alba L., R. centifolia L., and R. gallica L. as raw materials important for producing commercial aromatic products, analyzing and comparing the main biological activities of their essential oils, hydrolates, and extracts as natural healers. For this purpose, information from the databases PubMed, Science Direct, and Google Scholar was used.

biomolecules-11-00127

Reference:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7835869/

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