Amy Corwin

Regency Rose Receipts

ANCIENT Receipts

Potted Roses
The King of Sicily in ancient times is reported by Ahenaeus to create a "pot-pourii" or potted roses as follows: Pound fragrant roses in a mortar Take the brains of birds and pigs, boil and strip of every particle of meat Add the yolks of eggs Oil A little cordial Some pepper and some wine Beat and mix well together, throw in a new pot, cover, and place over a slow but steady fire. When the cook uncovered the pot, the most delicious fragrance perfumed the whole dining-hall, overcoming the guests with delight [and I suppose their taste buds, too].

Middle Ages through Regency period

Rose Water
Rose petals soaked in water overnight, will by morning, have a very small quantity of attar found floating on the surface of the water.

Attar in Cashmere
Rose petals are put in a wooden vessel with pure water and exposed for several days to the head of the sun. Oily particles will then float to the surface of the water from whence they are removed time to time by applying very fine dry cotton wool to the oil. From this wool the oil is pressed into little bottles and sealed.

Heat method
Attar may also be attained by exposing rose water to heat then suddenly cooling it and collecting the drops of congealed oil which float upon the surface.

Paris method
Apothecaries in Paris are known to take the petals of Rosa Damascena and boil them in a large caldron of water with as much hog's lard as will cover the surface with a think stratum of grease. The oil of the rose petals will be produced by the boiling and will unite with the grease. It is separated from the grease by spirits of wine.

[Note: generally 100 pounds of roses are required to produce a scant drachm of attar. Attar is generally green, lemon or rose color, or brown.]


Uses Frequently used to prepare food and season dishes. It is mentioned extensively in 14th century French cookbooks. By the Regency period, it was used mostly for perfume and to wash eyes and eyelids when infected.

In Persia, they drank rose-water, diluted with water.

The Greeks created a drink from the Corinth Grape mixed with rose water and a few spices.

The French confectioners, distillers, and perfumers use enormous quantities of roses, particularly Rosa Damascena and Rosa centifolia in sugar-plums, creams, ices, oils, pomatum, essences and fragrant powders.

The petals of the rose, freshly picked, are bruised in a marble mortar until they are a paste and used in many confectioneries. They also make little perfume balls the size of a pea from this paste. In England and France, necklaces and bracelets are made by making small pea-sized balls of the paste and letting them dry. Before they are entirely dry, a needle and silk are run through them. In a while they will become hard like wood and brown in color, and emit a wonderful fragrance. The rose scent has been known to linger as long as 25 years. (I have a necklace made this way and after 10 years there is still a distinct rose scent.)

Spirit of Roses
Made by distilling rose-petals with a small quantity of spirits of wine--often used for external applications, e.g. washing skin rashes. In France, the green leaves of the Sweet Brier are sometimes steeped in spirits of wine to impart a fragrance and in England these leaves are frequently used to flavor cowslip wine. (Remember Sweet Brier leaves have a wonderful scent, along with the roses...)

Oil for the Hair, sold in both France and England as L'Huile antique de Rose Made by macerating roses petals, mixing them with 4 times their weight in olive oil and then leaving the mixture in sand-heat for two days.

Small bags are filled with dried rose petals and placed in a drawer or wardrobe.

Dried rose petals are created as follows: Collect the petals when the rose is fully expanded. Immediately separate them from the calyx. Dry in the shade if the weather is dry or by a stove if it is humid. Spread the on a platform raised 2-3 feet above the ground. Dry them quickly to retain the scent. After they are dry, separate them from any dust by shaking and rubbing them in a fine sieve.

Some believe Rosa Gallica to be the most superior rose for medicinal uses (the Provence Rose). It has an astringent and slightly bitter taste and is considered a tonic/astringent in effects.

A small dose of powder strengthens the stomach and adds digestion, but prolonged use can cause slight constipation while strong doses act as a purgative.

A conserve of Provence Rose is used in France for all chronic affections of the bowels caused by weakness and inactivity of the digestive organs. It is also used in colic, diarrhea, hemmorrhage and leucorrhoea.

A conserve of any rose is considered excellent for colds or catarrh.

Rose Conserve
Bruise rose petals in a mortar with their weight in sugar and moistening with a little rose-water until a homogeneous mass is formed.

Other medicinal uses of roses include medicines: sugar of roses, ointment of roses, rose water and treacle of roses.

Rose water is drunk as an astringent and sometimes mixed with other disagreeable medicines to cover the smell and taste.

Externally, rose water is used for eye infections.

Alcoholic Tincture of Roses, or spirit of roses
Given often as a stimulus, although by 1850, this was no longer used often.

Syrup of Roses
Made from pale or Damask rose, used as a purgative/mild laxative.

Vinegar of Roses
Infuse dried rose petals in good distilled vinegar. Use in cooking and for the toilet, also for headaches.

Honey of Roses
Beat rose petals with a small quantity of oiling water, filter and then boil with honey. Excellent for sore throats, ulcers in the mouth and anything where honey may be used (this was an excellent remedy for cuts.)

Heps/Hips The rose hips, especially of the Dog Rose (Rosa Canina) is cleaned of seeds and then beaten in a mortar with sugar to make a conserve/medicine known as Cynorrhodon.

Country children often eat ripe rose hips, and they are frequently used for preserving.

Rosebuds are often frequently preserved in sugar and pickled in vinegar. Tea is frequently made of rose leaves.

Sweet Brier canes, are stripped of their bark and foliage, cut into small pieces, candied, and sold as confections.




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Amy Corwin

Mystery Writers of America Member