Rosewood essential oil (Aniba rosaeodora) is also called bois de rose or Brazilian rosewood. The fragrant evergreen tree grows in parts of the tropical rainforests of South America.
The tree is a threatened species. Make sure any essential oil you buy comes from a sustainable source. For example, Brazil has sustainable rosewood farms. If a company is not fully transparent about the source of the oil, shop elsewhere. You may also want to use the oil sparingly.
Plant family: Lauraceae
Production: Steam distilled from wood chippings.
Aroma: Sweet, woody, fruity, floral.
Perfume/Aromatic note: Middle
Is rosewood safe to use during pregnancy? Yes, according to Prenatal Massage: A Textbook of Pregnancy, Labor, and Postpartum Bodywork. Maggie Tisserand, in Aromatherapy For Women, describes rosewood baths during the summer as "delightfully refreshing" for pregnant women.
Is rosewood essential oil safe for children? Yes.
Main components: Linalool (82.3–90.3%) and alpha-terpineol (0.5–5.4%). Source: Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Edition
Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art: Rosewood helps relieve headaches, colds, fever, and nausea. In skin care, the essential oil is beneficial for all skin types. The oil encourages tranquility and constructive emotional work.
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Rosewood may help relieve coughs, stress headaches, acne, eczema, psoriasis, scarring, insect bites and stings, nervousness, depression, anxiety, and stress-related conditions.
The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (updated edition): Rosewood is useful in skin care, to support the immune system, and to relieve headaches, nervous tension, and stress-related conditions.
375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols: Rosewood can help relieve depression, physical weakness after an illness, and the effects of overwork. The oil is also useful for healing pimples and sores.
Aromatherapy Bible: Rosewood is one of the most spiritual essential oils and makes a great meditation oil. It has a balancing and harmonizing effect. Use the oil for nervous tension, chronic fatigue, depression characterized by lethargy and apathy, and all skin types. "Overall, rosewood is balancing, uplifting, and fortifying."
Subtle Aromatherapy: Rosewood is strongly associated with the crown (seventh) chakra and is useful for meditation.
The Essential Guide to Aromatherapy and Vibrational Healing: Spiritually, rosewood supports your intention to connect with the divine and improve your intuitive skills. The essential oil increases joy and self-esteem.
Aromatherapy and Subtle Energy Techniques: Rosewood grounds and brings in calm, positive energy. The oil is especially useful for the seventh chakra to gently open you to spirituality.
Because of the subtle benefits, the essential oil is great to diffuse while meditating or doing other spiritual practices.
While not specific to meditation, here's one possible diffuser blend from Aromaweb:
Dance Party Diffuser Blend
Add the following essential oils to 8 ounces of unscented hair conditioner and shake well.
Shake well before every use. Apply to your hair after you shampoo. Wait for five minutes and then rinse.
Blend these ingredients in a small dark-colored bottle.
Apply the oil to fine lines and wrinkles twice a day.
General Skin Care Blend
Blend ingredients in a small dark-colored bottle.
Use on skin as desired.
Adapted from Birch Hill Happenings
Uplifting Bath Oil Blend
This blend beats the blues and encourages contentment and serenity.
Source: New Directions Aromatics
If you prefer to not use rosewood because of the sustainability issues, a number of sources recommend ho wood essential oil as a substitute.