Healing Herbs: Rose
Rose (Rosa acicularis) brings to my mind thoughts of budding love, matters of the heart, softness, beauty, and desire. fIn herbal medicine, both the petals and fruit (rosehips) of the rose are used. Not surprisingly then, rose petals are a good supportive tonic for the heart, and the scent of rose contains phenylethylamine-related compounds making it an aphrodisiac. Phenylethylamine (PEA) is what I like to call the LOVE molecule, because it acts as a releasing agent of norepinephrine and dopamine, which are chemicals that get released in large quantities during sex and first (or even long-term) attraction. This is what causes those dizzying and heart-palpitating feelings associated with romantic love! On a sidenote–PEA is even more present in cocoa, which is why chocolate, roses and romance go so well together. Rose has many other incredible medicinal qualities. They are also mildly sedative, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-parasitic. They’re also mild laxatives, and great for lowering cholesterol (romantic, right?). The antiseptic nature of rose petals makes them a wonderful treatment for wounds, bruises, rashes, and incisions. Taken internally, their anti-inflammatory properties make them a wonderful treatment for sore throats or ulcers. They can stimulate the liver and increase appetite and circulation. Both rose hips and rose petals (although rose hips are higher) contain incredibly high amounts of vitamin C! You can drink rose petal tea, just make sure the water is not quite boiling when you pour it over the petals. The hips can be made into a decoction by gently simmering for 10 min, or keeping it just under boiling temperature for about an hour. You can also buy rose in powdered form which is great for adding into smoothies, chocolates, or other dessert recipes. Use your creativity with this one!
Also know that this is referring to wild rose varieties that have a single layer of petals, not cultivated or artificially selected varieties. Any flower that has many layers (known as whorls) of petals, like cultivated roses, are bred to look that way through artificial selection, and will never be found in the wild.