Rosewood Essential Oil: Benefits, Uses & Safety

Ancient cultures have used rosewood essential oil for a variety of ailments, and modern medicine is only now starting to catch up on rosewood oils’ many curative benefits. Sadly, so much of its wood source was wasted on perfume and furniture. If you are searching for a wonder oil with psychological and physical benefits in abundance, look no further.

Rosewood essential oil’s scent is just one of its allures. Rosewood oil has been found to be analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial and has a sedating anti-anxiety effect. It has also been researched as an anticarcinogen, anticonvulsant, and even for its anti-aging benefits for the skin.

If you would like to learn more about where this oil came from, how it works, and how many ways you may use its aromatherapeutic benefits at home, feel free to read on.

What Is the Origin of Rosewood Oil?

Rosewood oil is traditionally sourced from the wood of the Aniba rosaeodora or pau rosa tree, although other Aniba species are sometimes included in rosewood oil. The Aniba rosaeodora is a species of the Magnoliid tree and is part of the Lauraceae family.

These magnificent trees can reach 30 meters (98.42ft) tall and span 2 meters (6.56ft) in diameter and mainly concentrated in South America’s tropical rainforest.

The pau rosa were indigenous in Brazilian states of Amapá, Amazonas, and Pará. Other areas of the pau rosa habitat are Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela, and French Guiana.

The common name Rosewood is misleading because the pau rosa is not related to the real rosewood trees of the genus Dalbergia also found in Brazilian rosewood (D.Nigra) and Indian rosewood (D. Latifolia).

These rosewood trees have never been a source of rosewood oil.

These have been overexploited to near extinction due to their use in the perfume, furniture, and decorative industry and decimated by five decades of plunder. The Aniba rosaeodora is now on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species, and many attempts are underway to repopulate the trees in their natural habitat. New methods for oil extraction are widespread using branches and leaves and not traditional methods of sacrificing the tree itself.

Close-up of a horizontal slice of wood from a rosewood tree

How Is Rosewood Oil Extracted?

Rosewood oil is traditionally extracted from wood chipping using steam extraction. A sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to using the wood or bark is to trim the leaves of young rosa trees. These four-year-old sapling leaves can then be steam distilled to obtain rosewood oil and used to reduce or replace environmentally destructive wood oils still commonly used in perfumery.

Read also:  Why Do Cooking Oils Go Rancid

Today, you may only purchase Brazilian rosewood if it was harvested before the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) ban or harvested from naturally fallen trees with a certificate of provenance,

What Is Rosewood Oil Made Up Of?

The Aniba rosaeodora is a rosewood tree due to the fragrant bark, leaves, and roots and the deep red inner hue of its bark. Rosewood extraction takes a ratio of only approximately 1% by weight of wood, and it is a valuable essential oil much sought after in the perfumery industry.

The Scent Profile of Rosewood Oil

Rosewood oil is a highly aromatic, medium strength blend of woody and herbal note, with subtle hints of camphor, rose, and pepper. The fresh green wood notes soften into sweeter and mellow drydown. Coco Chanel chode rosewood as the distinctive heart note of her iconic Chanel No5 in 1921 and placed rosewood oil on the international stage.

The chemical makeup of rosewood oil includes:

Constituents Oil %
Linalool 84.8
a- terpineol 2.9
geraniol 1.0
Trans-linalool oxide 0.7
limonene 0.7
cis-linalool oxide 0.6
a-selinene 0.6
benzyl benzoate 0.6
a-copaene 0.4
β-penine 0.3
nerol 0.3
β-elemene 0.3
a-terpineol 2.9

What Is the Importance of Linalool in Rosewood Oil?

Rosewood oil has long been used as a Brazilian folk remedy for long before it became famous for its aromatherapeutic qualities and constantly emerging health benefits. It was used for its sedative effect in indigenous use, and medical science keeps discovering the amazing properties of the linalool rich rosewood oil. Linalool is a monoterpene alcohol and has multiple health benefits to humans.

Read also:  Why Does My Sweat Smell Like Vinegar? Potential Causes + Multiple Solutions

What Are the Health Benefits of Rosewood Oil Sourced Linalool?

Sedative or Anti-Anxiety Effects

Scientific studies have proven that rosewood oil-based linalool has a relaxing effect on the central nervous system. The linalool has long proven to offer anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing), sedative effects. In vivo studies conducted on animals have verified the anxiolytic effects of essential oils high in linalool and the interactions of their components with the central nervous system receptors.

Essential oils like Rosewood that contain the terpenoid linalool serve as important aromatherapeutic for anxiety relief. Rosewood oil sourced linalool has also been studied as a natural sleep enhancer in some scientific studies on rodents. It shows that the administration of rosewood oil at doses of 200 to 300mg/kg significantly increased sleeping duration.

Cancer Treatment

Using rosewood oil in fighting cancer is gaining credibility in the medical sciences. Studies have found that rosewood oil has potential anticancer properties on both cancerous and precancerous skin. In a defined range of concentrations, rosewood oil selectively killed A431 and HaCaT skin cancer cells.

Anti Convulsive Properties

Linalool found in rosewood oil also has anti convulsive effects and has been found to help protect against seizures against seizures in research on a variety of models in epilepsy.

Antibacterial Qualities

Scientific studies have shown that rosewood oils could be used in pharmaceutical formulations to control drug-resistant bacteria strains alone or used concurrently with antibiotics.

When tested against a variety of several harmful organisms, including Salmonella and Staphylococcus and E-coli, rosewood oil had one of the highest antimicrobial actions at ≤2·0% (v/v) Rosewood showed inhibition of all ten organisms except P.S aeruginosa.

Linalool producing species such as the Aniba rosaeodora have been found to have excellent anti-inflammatory qualities and have a peripheral analgesic effect.

How to Use Your Rosewood Essential Oil

Rosewood essential oil has long been known in aromatherapy circles as a treatment for depression and is believed to arouse feelings of happiness and strength. It is believed to be a mild aphrodisiac and increase a person’s libido. Rosewood is also great for your skin and prevents a host of skin conditions.

Read also:  10 Balsamic Vinegar Substitutes For Recipes + How To Make

There are so many uses of rosewood essential oil, but here are a few of the most popular ways to use your oil:

  • Diffusing your oil using a vaporizer. Rosewood oil is said to enhance your mood and bring feelings of strength and positivity.
  • Helping your body to heal cuts and grazes. Dilute your rosewood oil in a carrier oil and use it on your skin toreduce scarring.
  • Massage oil. You can dilute your rosewood oil in a carrier oil and use it for massage or place a few drops on your palm after a hot bath and massage into your skin.
  • Anti-aging benefits. Mix it into your favorite body lotion or put a small amount in your face cream.
  • Insect repellent. If you are plagued with mosquitoes this summer, why not try some rosewood oil? Use it with your favorite lotion and keep the pests away while smelling sweet.
  • Air freshener. Place 15 drops of rosewood oil into 20oz of water in a spray bottle and use it to freshen your home.

Other Uses of Your Rosewood Essential Oil

  • Use the mildly analgesic and antimicrobial qualities of your rosewood oil to help cuts and sores from becoming infected and help them to heal. Simply apply to the affected area with a couple of drops of your oil-soaked into cotton wool.
  • Place a few drops of rosewood oil in a carrier and massage into your temples to relieve your headache and improve your mood.
  • Rosewood essential oil may relieve your cold or flu symptoms. Simply combine six drops of oil with 6-8 cups of boiling water and breathe in the steam for 5-10 minutes. Be careful not to get too close and burn yourself.
  • Apply your rosewood oil with a carrier and massage into your throat and chest area to ease a tight chest or reduce cold symptoms.

Is Rosewood Essential Oil Safe?

Rosewood had so many curative qualities that it is hard to name them all. Ensure that you use the oil in moderation and adequately dilute it with the carrier when applying to sensitive areas such as your face.

Rosewood oils pair beautifully with citrus oils such as neroli, orange bergamot, and lime, lemon, and grapefruit. It also pairs well with florals such as lavender jasmine and rose. Rosewood is nontoxic, and nonirritant but one should always conduct a patch test first to make sure that you have no sensitivities.


To take advantage of the vast and varied benefits of rosewood essential oil, make sure that you source it from environmentally conscious sources. With so many indigenous stands of the Aniba rosaeodora decimated, we need to protect this resource now more than ever.