Rosa indica Linn.
Rosa brunonii Lindl.
Rosa centifolia Linn.
Rosa damascena Mill.
Rosa chineeasis Jacq.
Rosa multiflora Thumb.
Rosa poluantha Sieb & Zuce.
Indian names are as follows:
Sanskrit:Satapatri, Suman, Sumana
Rose is normally not considered as spice or food flavorant either in national or global situation. Yet, its essential oil is added to many food items for flavoring purposes at least in India. For this reason it has been included here as one of the spice.
As on today, Rose or Gulab perhaps is most popular and sought after flower in India, known for its beauty as well as its aroma. Emperor Shahjehan famed Moghal ruler of India was symbolized with red rose. First Prime Minister of India late Jawaharlal Nehru used to move with a red rose in his coat button and it was inseparable. It is largely believed that this plant did not originate or existed in India and was introduced by Muslims for which many of the conservative Hindu priests do not allow this flower as part of offerings to deities. But fact that there are references about this flower in ancient Indian texts as Satapatri or Suman was not only described as best offerings to Gods and deities but also as herb, proves that it existed in India during pre-Vedic period. Bhisma pitamaha in his deathbed in Mahabharata, advised Pandavas to offer this flower to Gods and deities being the best offering. While describing the beauty of ancient beauty Damayanti, her face was compared with Rose. All these only establish that the flower existed in ancient India.
It is basically a thorny shrub. Leaves are serrated and oval. Flowers appear at the end of the stem having a number of petals for which it was known as Satapatri. Size of the flower aroma often varies according to climate and soil. Fruits are found to be oval, green having a number of seeds. Plants can be propagated both from seeds as well as by planting branches and stems. Better flowers can be produced by second method.
The flowers of Rosa damascena Mill contains essential oil, 1% ketone, a bitter principle, 23% tannin, fatty oil and organic acids. The essential oil of this species yields 45.51% centronellol and geraniol. Out of all types of roses the essential oil of this species is supposed to be the best having yield of around 0.05%. the red coloring matter consists of 9 to 10% cyanine, quecitrin and dye stuff. Pollen from the flower of this species contains, 0.76 mg/100 gram of carotene, 1% sugar and 1.5% chlorogenic acid. Rosa centifolia Linn is a weak rose shrub, which does not develop fully. This yields less quantity of buds. Essential oil yield in this variety of rose is 0.011 to 0.43%, particularly those cultivated in Italy and France. Fresh flowers of Rosa indica Linn yields 0.013 to 0.15% essential oil. Composition of this essential oil is 22.10% stearoptenas, 16.36% phenethyl alcohol, 12.78% geraniol and 23.39% citronellol. Fruits of Rosa multiflora Thumb and Rosa polyantha Sieb & Zuce yields 9.4% fatty oil. Fruit pericarp yields phytosterol, quercetin, triterpenoid, beta-carotene and multiflorin, a flavinic glucoside having weak catharitic effects. These flowers also yield essential oil.
Since ancient days Rose was considered as herb with medicinal virtues. It has been elaborately discussed in various scripture like Samhitas and Nighuntas. It was considered bitter in taste, coolant at time astringent, expectorant and good for Pitta and Vayu. Unani system also supports these observations.
Presently the flower is cultivated primarily as part of commercial floriculture. Flowers picked appropriately packed and transported to domestic urban market as well as abroad as there is practice to gift the flowers to loved ones. This is a growing rural industry in India.
Essential oil from Rose has good commercial value. In India it is done two ways. According to global demand and for the purpose of need in domestic market for products of modern taste, essential oil of concentrated form need to be extracted by steam distillation as basic perfume. This product has demand as intermediate product as both perfume and flavor. The second way is to follow traditional route of water extraction to produce 'Rose Water' popular in India traditionally used for flavoring food dishes and even drinking water. It is also used medically for washing eyes. Dhaka, now in Bangladesh, Lucknow and Kanauj both in Uttar Pradesh was traditionally known for production of quality Rose Water. The third product of identical in nature is production of Rose Attars, produced by distilling Rose Water. In this case too Kanauj is well known. Attars are used as perfume, room fresheners and various other purposes. Rose Water is added to various sweet dishes like kheer, rabdi, barfi and sandesh. It is also added to rice preparations like Biriyany and fried rice. Rose petals are preserved and added to various sweet dishes too.
Gulkand is another famous product prepared by drying a homogenous mixture of crushed rose flowers and sugar. It is usually sun dried. This sweetened paste of rose is commercially popular in India. It is consumed as tonic, medicine for various ailments and as mouth fresheners. It is produced in mass scale in Rajasthan, particularly around Haldighati, where the famous war between Maharana Pratap and Emperor Akbar took place. Gulkand is popular almost all over India and now even branded Gulkand is available in the market.
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