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Rose as an Herb

Rose as an Herb

Rosa gallica & Rosa centifolia

The flowers and hips (fruits) of different rose species have told their healing secrets to people all over the world - for centures.

Other names: Cabbage Rose, Hundred-Leafed Rose, French Rose, Damask Rose

The birthplace of the cultivated Rose was probably Northern Persia. From there it spread across Mesopotamia to Palestine and across Asia Minor to Greece. Greek colonists brought it to Southern Italy.

The Romans made lavish use of the Rose blossoms. They were used at banquets as a means of decoration, strewn on the floors, and in winter the Romans expected to have petals of roses floating in their Falernian wine. Roman brides and bridegrooms were crowned with roses, so too were the images of Cupid and Venus and Bacchus.

Roses were scattered at feasts of Flora and Hymen, in the paths of victors, or beneath their chariot-wheels, or adorned the prows of their war-vessels. Rose garlands were worn at their feasts as a preventive against drunkenness.

To them, the Rose was a sign of pleasure, the companion of mirth and wine, but it was also used at their funerals.

Rose as an Herb for Medicinal Use

The medicinal parts are the petals and the oil extracted from them. Rose is also used in homeopathic medicine.

Provins Rose The petals of the dark red Rose, R. gallica, known as the Provins Rose, are employed medicinally for the preparation of an infusion and a confection. The petals of this rose are of a deep, purplish-red, velvety in texture, paler towards the base, with a slightly astringent taste.

Red Rose petals are official in nearly all Pharmacopoeias. Though formerly used for their mild astringency and tonic value, today they are used almost solely to impart their pleasant aroma.

The old herbalists considered the Red Rose to be more binding and more astringent than any of the other species.

'It strengtheneth the heart, the stomach, the liver and the retentive faculty. Is good against all kinds of fluxes, prevents vomiting, stops tickling coughs and is of service in consumption.'

The dry conserve called rose sugar is a very good cordial against faintings, swoonings, weakness and trembling of the heart. Rose sugar is said to strengthen a weak stomach, promote digestion and is a very good preservative in the time of infection.

Honey of roses is used in gargles and lotions to wash sores. These sores are either in the mouth, throat or other parts. The gargle or lotion is used to cleanse and heal them. Red rose water is well known, cooling and refreshing.

The ointment of roses healed red pimples. The dried leaves of the red rose are used both internally and externally to cool, bind and soothe. The decoction of red roses made with white wine and used is very good for headache and pains in the eyes, ears, throat and gums.

Folk medicine: Rose flowers are used in folk medicine internally for diarrhea, tuberculosis of the lungs, pulmonary catarrh and asthma, hemorrhage and leucorrhea. Externally, it is used for inflammations of the oral and pharyngeal mucosa, suppurating wounds and lid inflammation.

Indian Medicine: In India, Rose is used for coughs, bronchitis, asthma, fever and general debility. It is also used for wounds and hyperhydrosis. The leaves can be applied directly to the eyes.

In modern herbal medicine the dried flowers of the common Red Rose are given in infusions and sometimes in powder for hemorrhage. A tincture is made from them by pouring 1 pint of boiling water on 1 ounce of the dried rose petals. Add 15 drops of oil of Vitriol and 3 or 4 drachms (1 drachms is an eighth of an ounce) of white sugar. The tincture when strained is of a beautiful red color. Three or four spoonsful of the tincture taken two or three times a day are considered good for strengthening the stomach and a pleasant remedy in all hemorrages.

Rose Oil

The composition of rose essential oil is not quite uniform. The variation is due to a number of factors, the chief being the kind of flower and where it has been grown. The Rose oil from plants grown in colder climates contains a very high percentage of the waxy substance stearoptene, odorless and valueless as a perfume.

Rose is considered the premier essential oil for opening the heart chakra. It is harmonizing, balancing, helps soothe anger, fear and anxiety; it restores conidence.

Rose water is the by-product of the rose oil used in perfume. Rose water is used as a flavoring agent in the Middle East and Southern Europe. It is a popular skincare ingredient in America, where it is often found in astringents and toners. These products are designed to remove traces of makeup and impurities, and leave the skin looking even pored, firm, and fresh.

Milky Pink Complexion:  Take a generous handful of lily and rose petals (dried or fresh) and place them in a 10 ounces of boiling water. Simmer for 15 minutes. Filter and allow to cool before washing your face in the preparation.

Rose Hips


Rose hips are very nourishing to the skin and contain a high amount of vitamin C. It is used as a blood purifier, and for treatment of infections, colds, and flu. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy to treat depression and stress. The oil is also used in a carrier oil as a beauty aid in massage, bath, and facial products.

Rosehip, which is high in Vitamin C, plays a key role in building the body back up to optimal levels. In fact, there is a correlation between individuals deficient in vitamin C and depression.

Did you know?

Some say the Rosary derived its name from rose hips, which were strung as prayer beads by the monks. Later, rosary beads were formed from the fragrant paste of crushed rose petals.

Rose petals were steeped in wine 1200 years ago by the Romans as a cure for a hangover.

The rose in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream was actually Rosa arvensis, a native English species.

Culinary Uses of Rose

Rose sugar. Rose infused sugar adds joy and delight to baked goods, toast, fruits, yogurt and beverages. Sprinkle on cookies, muffins, cakes & breads. Add wonder to your home pantry with Ajika sugar botanicals.

Petals are used in salads. Dried petals and hips are used for tea. Rose petals have been used to flavor butter.

Rose Vinegar: Steep petals in white wine vinegar for 2 weeks in a warm place out of direct light. Rose vinegar is cooling, refreshing, and aids digestion. It can also be used to make a mild dressing for light salads or fruit salads.

Martha Washington's Recipe for Honey of Roses
Note: Copied exactly as printed...
Take a pinte of honey, boyle and scum it, and add as many bruised leaves of red roses buds (ye whites being cut of) as you may easily stir in. Yn cover it close and boyle ye pot in water, till you think ye goodness of the roses is in ye honey. Then change ye roses once or twice in ye same manner, and at ye last, strayn out ye roses and keep it for yr use.

Rosehips Extract. For each cup of hips, bring to boil 1-1/2 cup water; add hips and cover and simmer for 15 minutes; let stand for 24 hours in crockery; strain and bring to a rolling boil; add 2 tablespoons lemon juice per pint; pour into jars and seal.

Rosehip Syrup: 1-1/4 cup boiling water, 1/4 pound rose hips, 1/2 cup sugar; pour boiling water over rosehips; cover and leave to get cold. Strain, add sugar and bring slowly to a boil; simmer gently until syrupy. Cool and bottle; use as topping or with sparkling water as a beverage drink.

Rose Geranium Tea

Rose Tea 6 cloves
1-inch cinnamon stick
1 sprig about 3-inches long of fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon or one tea bag of plain orange pekoe tea

For a six-cup tea pot Use about 4 to 6 rose geranium leaves. Cover with boiling water and steep at least ten minutes.

Rose Geranium Tea With Orange Mint

1/2 cup firmly packed orange mint leaves
4 rose geranium leaves
4 cloves and boiling water to fill a 6-cup teapot

Brew for 15 to 20 minutes. Add an Oriental tea bag for additional flavor. Sweeten with orange marmalade.

The Persian word gul for rose has some extra interest for herb enthusiasts from the state of Kentucky. In their celebration of horse racing and especially the Kentucky Derby or "Run for the Roses," a ritual involves the herb Mentha in a libation known as a "mint julep" .

Roses in Myth and History

Myths about roses abounded in ancient Greece and Rome. One was that roses were originally white until Venus, the goddess of love, pricked her foot on a rose thorn as she hurried to save her imperiled lover. A drop of her sacred blood fell on the bush's flower, dying it forever red.

The rose gave its name to the cycle of prayer known as the rosary, literally "a rose garden." Rose petals may actually have been joined together to form the first rosary "beads".

The 15 century conflict between the English royal houses of York and Lancaster is known as the Wars of the Roses because the men of York supposedly wore a white rose as their badge while those of Lancaster wore a red one. But, in fact, Lancaster did not adopt the red rose as its badge until the wars were over.

In 1986 Congress adopted the rose as the official flower of the United States, despite Senator Everett Dirksen's long campaign for the marigold.

Folklore & Magickal Uses

Roses are used in many love mixtures and spells. Drink rosebud tea to induce prophetic dreams. Rosebushes grown in your garden will attract faeries. Use rosehips in healing mixtures.

Another bit of folklore suggests that an emperor had his city's water canals filled with rosewater to fill the air with the scent for his bride on their wedding day. Upon walking around the waterfalls and canals, his bride noticed an oily film on the surface of the water and dipped her hand in. She fell in love with the aroma and the emperor began bottling rosewater in her honor.

Note: Many people swear that rosewater positively alters their mood. It would seem it has the ability to muster an emotional strength from within.


No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages.

Vitamin workers have reported asthma like symptoms induced by inhalation of powdered rose hips.

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