The rose has been synonymous with love for many centuries – romantic love but also deep unconditional love and the sacred essence of divinity are embodied in its intensely beautiful perfume. Not only does it heal on an emotional level, offering the qualities of tenderness, compassion, nurturing and sensitivity but it has some powerful medicinal attributes to offer our physical bodies.
The list of physical complaints that rose can help with is impressive. It is valued as a heart and circulatory tonic where it promotes circulation and combats blood stagnation and acts in a similar way to an ACE inhibitor (used to lower high blood pressure). At the same time it strengthen the force of the heart beat.I t is a brain tonic with positive influences on new nerve growth and repair and can be beneficial in both dementia and Alzheimer’s and even seizures and convulsions.
Its gentle astringency can help reduce catarrhal build up, improve lung functions and alleviate coughs and sore throat, it also enlivens the complexion and combats the effects of ageing on the skin. Rose even has a positive impact on certain hormonal functions including regulating erratic menstruation and easing menopausal complaints such as painful menstruation and mood swings.
The petals have a soothing and protective action on mucous membranes damaged or irritated by stomach acids such as in acid reflux and oesophagitis whilst also acting as a gentle laxative and improving digestion generally. Rose is also an anti-diabetic qualities and fat lowering plant. It is considered a cooling and heat clearing remedy, making it applicable to any conditions involving heat and congestion such as excessive sweating, hot flushes, chronic rash like skin conditions, the hard baked mucous of sinusitis but also excessive and extreme emotions such as anger and constant worrying.
It has a good reputation for dealing with conditions affecting the eyes such as conjunctivitis, dryness of the eyes, other microbial infections of the eyes and surrounding tissues and even helps speed up recovery from eye procedures such as cataract removal. It exhibits a definite anti-microbial action on a wide range of pathogens and has been used as a natural antibiotic. Research has shown good results in HIV treatment.
This Pubmed article on Rosa damascena evaluates its long history as a medicine stating the effects of the flowers “are hypnotic, anticonvulsant, anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, analgesic effects, and nerve growth” so is a valuable allay against nervous tension, stress and insomnia.
Rose is very simple to use and can be added fresh or dried to oils, made into sweet conserves or syrups, dried for use as tea or to add to baths. So many gorgeous recipes using rose petals and buds exist on the internet so experiment to your hearts content.
The simplest way to use the rose is to collect the petals and use as a tea. To do this simply gather the open flower heads on a dry preferably sunny day and gently pull off the petals. Remove the little ‘claw’ ( unguis) at the base of the petals and lay out on a sheet of paper or tray to dry. Use around a teaspoon to level tablespoon of dried petals and add boiling water. Allow to steep for several minutes and strain out the petals or leave in if you prefer. A cup or 2 of this tea will give you the many benefits the rose has to offer.
My favourite way to use rose petals (I like Rosa damascena for this) is to add a generous handful to a bath. I put mine in a muslin bag but a clean sock would do just as well. Your bath will be transformed into a heaven scented, relaxing, soothing, medicinal, beauty promoting infusion!
Varieties of rose suitable for medicinal and edible use include Rosa gallica, Rosa damascena, Rosa canina and Rosa rugosa.
We have dried wild harvested Rosa damascena for sale in our main shop
The hips are also packed with vitamin c and other goodies but that is another story for another day.