Healing Gifts of Roses: for the body and the spirit
Roses definitely get extra attention in February when the almost standard gift for Valentine’s Day is roses. The symbolism of a perfect bud representing new love, or the intoxicating scent of a fully open rose to proclaim intense passion are ways we have always linked love to the rose. Who can deny these connections? For ages we have turned to the symbolism of roses when we are head-over-heels in love or simply twitterpated.
The symbolism around roses is endless. These symbols have made roses a standard token of love and affection for centuries. Their symbolism is quite a subject on it’s own with lots of history and meaning, and I won’t go in that direction here. But if you would like to read some really interesting information, esoterica and historical significance check out What’s Your Sign. There is even stuff about roses and numerology!
Rose is more than simply a souvenir for our love, but a deep healer for our spirit and emotions as well as our bodies. While hybrid beauties and flower shop show-offs definitely make rose the queen of the rosaceae family, there is so much more to her character than flamboyance. That is why I want to share with you just a few of the amazing benefits that belong to this treasure.
Rose the Healer
Many times just meditating on a plant can tell us, or perhaps help us remember the amazing healing qualities it embodies. The healing properties that roses posses are many. The roses I’m referring to are the wild or old fashioned roses. The ones with thorns and scent. These are the ones with the kind of medicine I’m suggesting. Not to diminish the beauty of the hybrid, thorn-less or scentless roses….. who can, through sentiment and splendor, lift us to joyous realms.
It is the wild rose who whispers healing and tells us to be soft and strong at the same time….even while on a stem of thorns. Rose grows firm and yet maintains wildness, and never loses the ability to penetrate our thoughts through our senses. Even when we are caught in destructive patterns, rose reaches our better self.
Sharp thorns serve as protections, entanglements and also to pierce…. to wake us up. But scent pierces also, as an ethereal healer to remind us of our abilities. Then with gentle, calming power rose heals our wounds and untangles our entrapment.
Roses petals remain closed at first, but then open completely to reveal the core…her strong center…her heart. Strong stems and thorns don’t possess, but protect the cool, soft petals so she may be free to open completely. Rose medicine is one of strength, self-love and healing beauty. But this is only one part of rose’s medicine….the part we take into our soul.
Rose’s medicine works with the same ideas in our bodies. Taking roses as teas, tinctures, syrups and balms can bestow on us soulful medicine for our physical well-being as well as our spirit. Here I will be sharing some of the amazing benefits rose has for our health, how to make rose tea and some resources for rose petals and rose hips.
A quick monograph of Roses:
- Rosa spp.
- Energetics – cold/dry/sweet
- Actions – anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, aphrodisiac, astringent, blood moving, cooling, digestive stimulant, pain relieving to name a few
Key Constituents -Volatile oils, terpenes, glycosides, flavonoids, anthocyanins, vitamin C, quercetin, bitter principles, fatty acids, phenolics
Parts used – whole plant (although I haven’t personally used the bark or roots)
Healing Benefits of Roses
- Eases anxiety/fatigue, lifts spirits – if you are feeling anxious, irritated or even exhausted, rose’s nourishing, coolness can take the edge off. It is extremely helpful in cooling a person with a “hot” constitution. Having a “cool” constitution myself I have taken advantage of rose’s calming and uplifting gifts by adding cinnamon, cardamom, ginger or other warming herbs to my preparation. Rose tea or tincture are excellent ways to gain this effect.
- Tonic for heart health – as the rose stands with her heart open she can do the same for us. Antioxidants in rose petals and hips, especially flavonoids, make rose a good tonic for heart health and healthy circulation.
- Soothes sunburn and inflamed skin- Rose’s skin healing properties have been used in commercial preparations for decades. Because of it’s astringency it allows skin tissue to retain moisture. Use a topical application of rose infused vinegar for sunburn, bug bites and minor irritations.
- Pain reliever/anti-inflammatory – rose is blood moving and anti-inflammatory. Because of this it is helpful in relieving congested menstrual pain and cramps. The same actions also make it helpful in relieving arthritis pain. Rose liniment or oil is used topically for pain. Also tea, tincture and syrup internally.
- Eases cold & flu – because of the antibacterial and decongestant actions roses are very helpful in giving relief from colds and flu. Rose hips and petals as a syrup are soothing to a sore throat and can help speed up recovery.
- Immune builder – rose petals and especially hips are packed with vitamin C. This makes it an incredible helper for building a strong immune system. Take as tea, tincture, syrup or even use as a delicious infused vinegar on vegetables and salads!
- A Fantastic ingredient – rose petals can also be eaten raw in salads or on top of anything your sweet heart desires. Rose infused honey is another great way to use roses. Check out my blog post “Herbal Infused Honey” for more info and a how-to on making it! The internet is full of recipes for rose petal jelly and rose hips syrup, so go wild in your quest for uses for our beautiful healer!
How-to: Rose Petal Tea
I know this is not the time of year for making fresh rose petal tea…..but it will come. So in the meantime we can still enjoy them dried in the same ways. Below the recipes are also some of my favorite resources for dried roses as well as other spices for making delicious tea, and some great sources of information.
Method 1 – fresh rose petal tea
- 1-2 cups fresh pesticide-free petals.
- Place rose petals in a saucepan filled with 3 cups filtered water.
- Simmer gently for five minutes. Strain and pour into cups or mugs.
- Sweeten with honey or enjoy as it is.
Method 2 – dried rose petal tea
- Boil 3 cups filtered water
- Add 6-8 Tbsp dried rose petals and other spices if you like.
- Cover, let steep for 5 minutes
- Sweeten…or not. Enjoy!
Get organic, dried rose petals and hips here:
The information here is meant to be used as a guide in your own research, and is for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a medical professional. If you have or suspect that you have a health problem, contact your health care provider right away. Always consult with a health care practitioner before using any herbal remedy, especially if pregnant, nursing, or have a medical condition.
- If you want to read more about roses, be sure and visit The Medicine Woman’s Roots where herbalist Kiva Rose’s shares her vast knowledge and beautiful story “Sweet Medicine: Healing with the Wild Heart of Rose”.
- The Herbal Academy’s The Herbarium Membership for Herbalists – Rose Monograph
- “The Complete Medicinal Herbal” by Penelope Ody