Damask rose- An overview
Author: Sanchita Ghosh
Ph.D Scholar, Department of Floriculture and Landscaping, HC&RI, TNAU, Coimbatore
Corresponding author: sanchitajolly28@gmail.com

Roses are known for their exquisite flowers, bewitching colours and most delightful fragrance. Among the 200 species of roses distributed throughout the temperate regions, only a few are scented (Gudin, 2000). These includeRosa damascena Mill., R. gallica Linn.,R. centifolia Linn., R. bourboniana Desportes.,R. chinensis Jacq., R. moschata Herrm. and R. alba Linn. Amongst them, R. damascena is generally preferred for its highly prized rose oil, which is commonly used in perfumery, cosmetics, beverages, soft drinks, ice-creams, and as a fragrance component in ointments and lotions etc. (Douglas, 1993). Rosa damscena is commonly called as Damascus rose, Rose of Castile, Alexandria Rose. The name Damask rose owe to Damascus, Syria from where it has been found to be originated. Damask rose is widely cultivated particularly in Azmir, Udaipur areas in Rajasthan, Palampur and Kullu districts in Himachal Pradesh, Aligarh, Kannauj and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. The highest acreage of Damask rose lies in the Western Himalayan region of the northern plains where the land is ideal for its cultivation.

Varietal status

Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT), Palampur has developed two cultivars, Jwala and Himroz. Jwala is suitable for cultivation in subtropical northern plains, midhills and mild temperate regions up to 1200 m altitude, Himroz is suitable for cultivation in mild temperate to cold temperate regions (1200 to 2500 m altitude). Another variety Ranisahiba was developed by CSIR-CIMAP Research Centre, Pantnagar, US Nagar, Uttarakhand (Patra et al.,2001).

Value addition

Rose water: It is one of the valuable by products of damask rose. This is obtained by Obtained by water distillation of rose petals. Rose water is used for flavouring confectionary, syrups, soft drinks and tobacco. It has property of cooling the body and is often used in eye lotions

Rose oil: It is a volatile oil obtained by distillation of the fresh flowers of R. damascena. The average yield of oil ranges between 0.012 and 0.045 % in Rosa damascena flowers extracted using clevenger apparatus. The oil is, pale, yellow, and semisolid. Unique soil and climatic conditions of the Kashmir Valley are suitable for the production of rose oil of international standards. Damask rose under different pressures and temperatures contains mainly monoterpene hydrocarbons and esters were found to be in traces, and stearoptene content was found to be higher in the oil distilled under high pressure, as compared to oil produced under atmospheric pressure.

Pharmacological properties

Hypnotic effects

The ethanolic and aqueous extracts in doses of 500 and 1000 mg/kg significantly increased the pentobarbital induced sleeping time in mice which was comparable to diazepam (Rakhshandah et al., 2006)

Anti- diabetic effect

Flowers has been found to have anti diabetic activity also Oral administration of the methanol extract of this plant significantly decreased blood glucose after maltose loading in normal and diabetic rats in a dosedependent manner. It was found that R. damascena is a potent inhibitor of α-glucosidase enzyme (Gholamhoseinian et al., 2008).

Antioxidant effects

Antioxidant properties have also been exhibited by flowers. The presence of phenolic compound in ethanolic extract of R. damascena has been shown by Kumar et al. (2009). The antioxidant effect of R. damascena and its inhibitory effect on lipid oxidation were evaluated in an in vivo study. The results showed a potent antioxidant and lipid peroxidation inhibitory effects comparable to α-tocopherol and suggest that the plant can be considered as a medical source for the treatment and prevention of many free radical diseases (Shahriari et al., 2007). In addition, R. damascena contains vitamin C (Libster et al., 2002) which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects (Hajhashemi et al., 2010).

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Kumar N, Bhandari P, Bikram Singh A, Shamsher S, Bari B. Antioxidant activity and ultra-performance LCelectrospray ionization-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry for phenolics-based fingerprinting of Rose species: Rosa damascena, Rosa bourboniana and Rosa brunonii. Food Chem Toxicol 2009; 47:361-367.

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Patra, N.K.; Kumar, Sushil, Khanuja, S.P.S., Shasany, A.K.; Darokar, M.P.; Kalra, A.; Ram, P.; Singh, H.B.; Singh, H.P. and Singh, V.R. 2001. Ranisahiba- a variety with impressive flower and essential oil yield of Kannauj-damask rose. Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Science, 23(2): 122-124.

Rakhshandah H, Hosseini M. Potentiation of pentobarbital hypnosis by Rosa damascena in mice. Indian J Exp Biol 2006; 44:910-912.

Shahriari S, Yasa N, Mohammadirad A, Khorasani R, Abdollahi M. In vitro antioxidant potential of Rosa damascene extract from guilan, Iran comparable to α-tocopherol. Int J Pharmacol 2007; 3:187-190.

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