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  • Jovita Turan

French rose (Rosa gallica L.) - a medicinal plant used since the 13th century

By Jovita Turan, May 9, 2023

French rose (Rosa gallica L.) belonging to the Rosa genus and Rosaceae family is an attractive plant that is used in the cosmetic, fragrance, medicinal, and culinary industries. The plant is native to central and eastern Europe, Crimea, the Caucasus, and Asia Minor.

Other names: The Gallic rose or rose of Provins

Rosa gallica L. prefers sunny or semi-shaded spots, limestone, or chalk rendzina soil, however, it can tolerate poor soils as well. The plant is highly resistant to frost, hot summers, and diseases. French Rose is a low-maintenance plant that grows up to 2 meters in height and 1 meter in width. The plant is cultivated for the extraction of the essential oil and the preparation of herbal medicines.

Illustration of Rosa gallica L. (Atribution: Jan Kops, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


It is reported that rosa gallica L. is used in medicine since the 13th century. The fruit of rosa gallica L. contains vitamins (A, C, and E), minerals, and flavonoids. The petals contain several bioactive compounds such as gallic acid (main), quercetin, catechin, chlorogenic acid, kaempferol, rutin, and others.

Petals of the plant have antioxidant, anti−inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-stress, and anti−depressant properties. It may also potentially suppress carcinogenesis and has skin anti-aging effects.

The plant could be used to treat colds and bronchial infections. Moreover, it may help with gastritis, diarrhea, depression, and lethargy. To treat anxiety and depression, the essential oil from the petals is used in aromatherapy. Moreover, the essential oil is used in perfumery and skin care preparations.

The petals can be used as a mouthwash and compresses for minor skin injuries.

Dried buds of French rose (J. Turan, 2023)


Petals of French rose can be utilized and eaten raw or cooked. They can be used to decorate salads, crystallized or processed in syrup.

Dried petals are used in teas, refreshing drinks, pastries, as well as spice mixtures. Rose water, extracted and prepared from petals is used in confectionery, for example in very well-known candies 'Turkish Delight'.


The hairs of the seed may cause irritation to the mouth and digestive tract, they must be removed before using.


Jo, S., Jung, Y. S., Cho, Y. R., Seo, J. W., Lim, W. C., Nam, T. G., ... & Byun, S. (2021). Oral Administration of Rosa gallica Prevents UVB− Induced Skin Aging through Targeting the c− Raf Signaling Axis. Antioxidants, 10(11), 1663.

Monder, M. J. (2014). Evaluation of growth and flowering of historical cultivars of Rosa gallica L. growing in the National Collection of Rose Cultivars in the Polish Academy of Science Botanical Garden in Powsin. Acta Agrobotanica, 67(3).

Ueno, H., Shimada, A., Suemitsu, S., Murakami, S., Kitamura, N., Wani, K., ... & Ishihara, T. (2019). Anti-stress effects of the hydroalcoholic extract of Rosa gallica officinalis in mice. Heliyon, 5(6), e01945.

Main picture: Atribution: Kurt Stüber, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Iliustration: Atribution: Jan Kops, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


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