Elixir of Roses

by Lynn Osburn 2002


Seek the rose blossoms when they are in mid-flower, and the zenith of their beauty is manifest.  Gather them in the morning when their fragrance is strongest. Cut below the rose hip leaving enough stem to easily grasp. Be careful to retain all the petals as some will detach. Fill at least two large paper grocery bags as soon as possible before the day grows hot and the fragrance dissipates. Do not use plastic bags as the moisture in the rose petals will cause wilt quickly and the flavor will spoil. Spread the rose cache out in a ventilated area to dry.  Prevent the pile from receiving direct sunlight for the aroma of the roses will be lost. The pile should not be more than three or four inches thick. 


Do not leave the rose cache in the paper sacks. Microorganisms will germinate in the fertile moisture and ruin the work within a few hours. Ventilation is crucial as mold will grow very quickly on the fresh petals for they contain a high percentage of sugars. Turn and flip the rose cache pile at least once a day until it is dried.

When the rose cache is dry cut it up into small pieces and place in a large pot, kettle or crock. Cover with purified spirit, ethyl alcohol. The spirit should be at least 50 per cent alcohol. Let the rose cache digest in the spirit for 30 days. Then pour off this digested tincture of roses; press out as much tincture from the massa as possible. Distill the tincture.

Be careful not to boil the tincture rapidly with high heat. Instead try to keep it just under a boil to preserve the delicious aroma of the rose oil that will go over the helm with the alcohol. Distillation takes longer this way but the results are well worth the time involved. Store the distillate in a sealed jar for later. It contains the Spirit and Volatile Sulfur of the rose in conjunction. The Volatile Sulfur is the fragrant essential oil of the rose called Otto or attar in the commercial rose oil industry. A dark menstrum will remain in the boiling flask after the Spirit and Volatile Sulfur have distilled into the receiver. The dark mensturm contains the Fixed Sulfur of the rose, various other useful compounds of the rose, and water.


Place the pressed rose massa in a pan or pot. Then ignite it to burn off the residual spirit. Be sure to have proper ventilation as the mass will produce smoke as it burns. Then take the charred massa and broil it in an oven. Periodically remove the massa from the oven and grind it down with a pestle to reduce the volume until the massa is a dark earth. Put the dark earth in a Corning ware or Pyrex dish or pan. Place the dish or pan on a hot plate and turn up to high. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Calcine and grind this earth with pestle occasionally; continue until the earth is a gray powder. Place the gray earth on two layers of coffee filters. Pour hot distilled water over the earth of the rose massa. Evaporate the water that comes through the filters in a flat-bottomed dish in the oven on low temperature. The Salt of the massa will remain in the dish and grow into crystals as the water evaporates. Repeat the calcining, grinding, solution in water, and evaporating, until the Salt of the massa is pure white crystals. Save the purified Salt of the massa.

Add an equal volume of diethyl ether to the dark menstrum of the tincture remaining in the boiling flask. Make sure the dark menstrum in the flask is not hot. Then pour the whole mess from the flask into a tall glass jar (with good sealing lid with quick opening) half filling it. Seal the jar then turn it upside down twice then quickly open the lid to let pressure out. Repeat several times then let the jar sit for a few hours or until the liquid separates into two layers. Keep it in a cool place out of direct sunlight as the ether can peroxidize and become explosive. Wear a suitable mask that filters the ether from the air breathed. Be sure to have good ventilation when working with ether. Make sure no flames or spark ignition sources are in the work area when using diethyl ether. Read the MSDS on diethyl ether before doing this operation.

When the jar has sat a while the ether with the Fixed Sulfur dissolved in it will be floating above the water layer. Siphon off the ether/Fixed Sulfur layer and store in a sealed jar way from heat and sunlight. Add fresh ether to the dark watery layer remaining in the tall glass jar and repeat the procedure. Do this until the diethyl ether layer is clear. Then take the ether/Fixed Sulfur place in a flat bottomed dish and evaporate away the ether exposing the purified Fixed Sulfur. This will be in the form of an oil. Collect the Fixed Sulfur and store for later.

Place what remains from the dark mensturm in the tall jar in a Corning ware or Pyrex dish and cook off the water. Cook down the tar; it will smoke and smell foul. When it gets hard like lava rock, grind it with a pestle. Then raise the heat and calcine the dark earth of the menstrum until it is a gray earth. Extract the Salt of the menstrum from this earth of the menstrum as you did the Salt of the massa. Then store the white Salt of the menstrum for later.

Now the operator will have separated and purified the Spirit, Volatile Sulfur, Fixed Sulfur, Salt of the massa and Salt of the menstrum. These essentials are ready for joining into the conjunction of the elixir. Put the distillate of roses containing the Spirit and Volatile Sulfur in conjunction into a flask with a pelican on top to circulate. Slowly heat no hotter that is comfortable to touch. Then add the purified Salt of the massa and circulate over night. Then add the Fixed Sulfur and circulate over night. Then add the Salt of the menstrum and circulate for at least seven days more.

Let the Elixir of Roses cool down then pour it into a tall dark jar. Put a air tight lid on it and let it settle over night. Salt not absorbed into the elixir will settle out to the bottom of the jar. Decant or siphon the elixir into dark bottles with air tight lids and store for use. Keep the excess Salt that remains after decanting. It will be saturated with the mother elixir. It is a strong medicine in its own right.

The Elixir of Roses is a wonderful medicine for headaches especially migraines. It is soothing to the optic nerves especially when stressed from over use. For Inner Alchemy it is very good to stimulate the Floating Point System (third eye) of the subtle body.

For use place a few drops of the dilute (1:5 parts water) Elixir of Roses on the tongue and let mix with saliva. Draw in the breath of air as in the Qi separation practice. Allow some of the vapors to go from the mouth into the lungs as you inhale. When you exhale the rose essence rises up into your head and saliva is produced. When the rose elixir has mixed with saliva from the circulation swallow the elixir/saliva enchymoma and circulate the energy for a few rotations. When you do this you will be distilling shen.


Simple Tincture of Roses

Some operators may not have suitable conditions to contain the smoke from the calcination operations. Others may not be comfortable working with diethyl ether. A simple tincture of roses therapeutically active is a good alternative.

Gather the rose cache as described above. One can dry the roses in an oven on low over night (slower drying is better). Break up into small pieces into a jar and cover with Everclear pure drinking alcohol. If one does not have access to pure drinking alcohol then non-flavored clear rum is an alternative. Place an air tight lid on the jar and let it stand to digest in a warm place for about a week (a month is better unless you cannot wait because of migraines). Shake it up at least once a day. After the digestion time is ended pour the tincture through two layers of coffee filters into a clean jar. Press out as much of the liquid as you can from the rose mass, filter it then add it to the filtered tincture.

This simple tincture of roses is also helpful in neutralizing the migraines. Just put a few drops diluted with water on the tongue and let it mix with saliva then swallow (dilute with mineral water 1:5).