Pakistan is home to wild roses where these can be found growing even at 14,000 ft high foothills of Siachen glacier. The area has derived its name from the flower as Sia means black and chin as rose in the local language.
Products made from the flower are rose water and Gulkand – a paste made from its petal and used for medicinal purpose. Otto of rose is famous as attar discovered by the Empress Noor Jahan.
The cottage industry in Chakwal and Kalar Kahar are famous and important for preparation of rose water and paste. Tons of petals are consumed daily for extraction of water through primitive methods.
Bottles of rose water and Gulkand are supplied to all parts of the country. Despite the emergence of many advanced beauty-care and medicinal products the use of rose and paste are still in practice throughout Pakistan.
The use and demand of rose petals is increasing day by day. Its exports are on the rise thus providing foreign exchange. Out of the indigenous roses that are used, the most popular and common variety are gulkandi, gulab or baramasi. Due to its commercial demand it is extensively planted in the plains of Sindh and Punjab, particularly in Hyderabad and Chkawal districts.
A variety of desi gulab (local rose) known in the west as rosa edouard, is pink, highly fragrant and flowers profusely in spring season. It is used mainly for making garlands, oil, water and conserve (Gulkand). It is also used as a rootstock for the propagation of modern roses.
The second species of indigenous rose is rosa demacena (damask rose) useful for perfumes and is high in cost. The third variety Gruss or teplitz is also fragrant crimson with 33 petals and short and weak stem. It is mainly used for making bouquets, garlands and wreaths. This variety has become naturalized and can be termed as the most indigenous because of its wide cultivation.
The earliest English herbalists recommended rose water for complexion and heart. Rose hip syrup has some importance as a tonic especially for children as it contains four times as much vitamin C as black currant juice and 20 times that of orange juice.Rose oil has antidepressant effects and may be used via face massage skin-care baths or through vaporization in treating the nervousness sadness or the long-term stress.