Rose, such a beautiful sound. Almost like a purr. So soft and silky. Roses are ancient, and their presence on the North American continent has been dated to 20,000 to 40,000 years ago.
People all over the world have known and used the rose as a soothing balm, a skin softening agent, an aphrodisiac, a hormone balancer, a heart tonic, an antidepressant, and a nerve tonic throughout millennia. Roses are antiseptic, antiviral and antibacterial. Smelling roses makes most of us feel very good. They have a wonderful healing effect on both women and men.
One remarkable thing that roses do for men is speed up their sperm motility. You may have wondered why roses have been offered universally as a symbol of love for hundreds if not thousands of years. One reason may be as deep as survival of the species. Roses encourage procreation. They encourage, nourish and support fertility.
Think about all the art you’ve ever seen with roses depicted. They are present as a symbol of health, vitality, sensuality, prosperity, abundance, fruitfulness, fecundity, blessedness. Roses are laid at the feet of the Blessed Mother, even today. They are a flower of the Goddess, sacred to Isis, one of the flowers of Aphrodite, and are said to have sprung from the blood of Venus. One legend says Cupid was responsible for the creation of the rose. Throughout the ages, the rose has been considered the quintessential expression of love. Roses are known the world over as an aphrodisiac. The ancients used both the Damask rose, Rosa damascena, and the Gallic rose, Rosa gallica, in erotic perfumes.
Roses are renowned for their tonic and regulating effects on female and male reproductive systems. The leaves, leaf bud, flower and fruit (rose hip) of the wild roses, Rosa rugosa, and sweet briar, are rich in phytosterols and bioflavonoids. These phyto-nutrients are especially necessary for us as we age. Phytosterols act as building blocks for hormones. As long as we are supplying these essential nutrients, our endocrine system is able to do its job of producing the correct balance of hormones for our body, whether it is estrogens or androgens we need. Bioflavonoids are biologically active, brightly colored substances found in plants. Bioflavonoids maintain the health of blood vessels and are favorable to the production of estrogen. They are necessary for the absorption of vitamin C, and are also conveniently found in the inner peel of citrus fruits. With a toned and healthy endocrine system, libido is enhanced. The Chinese use the flowers of Rosa rugosa which they call mei gui hus, as a chi nourisher and a blood and liver tonic. Blood is the mother of chi, and chi commands blood, which is the essence of life. Healthy, well nourished blood means a healthy body/mind/spirit and good vital energy.
A wonderful health building and nourishing tonic is a simple rose honey or syrup to which is added a few drops of pure vanilla, ginger, and a tincture of cinnamon. This elixir is most warming and nourishing, stimulating, energizing, aphrodisiac, and tonic.
Ayurvedic healers consider rose to be cooling and astringent, and so use the flowers to poultice wounds and inflammations. Roses strained out from an infusion can be used to poultice inflamed joints. Use the infusion as a wash over surgical wounds or incisions, or use it as a compress.
Rose water or hydrosol effectively eases acne and irritated skin conditions and is wonderful splashed on your face after washing. Roses are esteemed the world over for their nourishing and healing effects on all skin types and are especially kind to aging skin. Roses are a great addition to any kind of face cream, skin lotion, moisturizer, massage oil, after shave, antiseptic spray, or healing salve or balm.
Added to the bath, roses are cooling, refreshing, relaxing, and simply luxuriant. A few drops of essential oil of rose is wonderful, but a handful of fresh blossoms floating in the tub is simply out of this world. I like to mix sea and Epsom salts with roses and lavender and put some of this into a foot bath to relax my feet after working in the garden. It feels so good!
Infused rose oil, used as a pain easing, nerve soothing, stress relieving, relaxing massage oil, can send the recipient straight to nirvana. Aromatherapists use essential oil of rose to ease anxiety and depression. Rose creates an aroma that is both sensual and relaxing.
To stay healthy through midlife and beyond, enjoy a strong, fully functioning immune system, protect yourself from heart disease and cancer, and enjoy a mind as sharp as a tack, consider integrating roses and especially rose hips into your weekly herbal routine.
Rose hips are high in vitamin C, B complex, bioflavonoids, carotenes, vitamin E, and selenium. They also offer abundant chromium, niacin, phosphorus, protein and sodium. These nutrients make rose hips especially nourishing to the brain and help enhance focus, attention, and concentration. All those antioxidants and bioflavonoids help protect us from cancer as well as heart disease. Rose hips strengthen immune function, and I use them in many of our winter time teas to help prevent colds and flu. Roses and rose hips are antiviral and so are good choices to prevent the winter flu from invading your turf. They are an excellent preventative medicine. I enjoy stringing rose hips with needle and thread into long strands that we then hang to dry. They look so beautiful hanging in the house, inviting you to use them.
Roses are nourishing to the heart and circulatory system. Make a cup of rose petal tea a few afternoons a week, or blend some rose petals with oatstraw and lemon balm and drink often to nourish and protect yourself from heart disease, or from accumulated stress. Roses and the heart have a long history of working together. Roses not only nourish our physical heart, but they also soothe our broken heart should we have one. If you are dealing with the pain of a broken heart, heart wrenching emotional pain, divorce, or the break up of a long term relationship, in the midst of menopausal depression, singing the blues, feeling down and out, lost, weary, tired, exhausted and feel you have nowhere to turn, turn to rose. She will soothe your pain, ease your fear, and help restore equilibrium. Anoint your heart area with rose oil often. It encourages awareness of the many manifestations of love and beauty all around us. Keep a potted rose in your home or plant roses around the outside of your house to enhance your ability to love and to share that love in a joyful way with others.
Rose glycerite is an incredibly delicious way to enjoy the taste and subtle properties of rose. Glycerin draws out the hormonal precursors, and so a rose glycerite is a wonderful hormonal balancer for both women and men. Try a few droppersful in a quart of cold water. Making and consuming rose mead is another fun and delicious way of welcoming the spirit of rose into your life. And it’s a great way to take your medicine! Rose flower essence helps us open our wild hearts to love in all its forms, and rose jams, jellies and syrups are fantastic!
Visit Gail’s site to find the following:
- Nourishing and delicious herb teas containing certified organic rose petals
- Rose glycerite
- Rose oil
- Rose hip syrup
- Rose Water
- Herbal Classes
- Books by Gail Faith Edwards
Gail Faith Edwards cultivates roses at Blessed Maine Herb Farm in Athens, Maine, where she grows an acre of medicinal herbs, runs a highly respected herbal products business and offers apprenticeships and herbal study programs from May through October.