The Spirit of the Rose
It takes a village they say. My village, at one time, was my mother: strong and stubborn but had an unyielding heart-centered approach to life. We had a strong connection and, at one point in my late twenties, I remember her saying that I was her best friend. At the time, I couldn’t process that my mother didn’t have friends that supported her desires, her goals, her needs and above all her self care but she didn’t even give it a second thought. She merely did what needed to be done and found her escape in murder mysteries and historical romance. She is the reason I moved towards herbal medicine because she had multiple heart attacks in her sixties and they deflated her. My mother passed very suddenly when I was about 11 weeks pregnant with my son and it was devastating to say the least. Her being was gone and her spirit that resonated amongst all of our family, ping-ponged along claiming stubbornness and escapism in some of my family and, thankfully, resolution to heal and rise in my case. Today is the 10th anniversary of her passing, I still can’t believe it.
It was a calling from beyond that I would change my life and live my passion by my hands. This is where Rose comes into my story: the plant and her abilities are strong, resolute, calming, cooling and infiltrating. It is one of those smells that stays with me... if I tuck my head in a flower or pour a cup of rosebuds in my bath, they permeate.
Ways to Work With Rose:
I love the rose family and use it often in my work both aromatically and for its astringency. Rosewater is still one of my favorite mists to spray during this humid season of summer because it tightens and tones, and thankfully lifts my spirit against the oppressive humidity in Virginia.
I use Rose often when the season changes and I need more strength and resilience. I also use it for moving grief and heart opening.
One of the easiest ways to work with Rose is to add a cup or two to a bath. I don’t mind floating petals, but for those who do, put it in a little bit of cheesecloth or muslin bag. Your skin will thank you with it’s tonifying properties for skin and hair along with the sweet aroma and the beauty.
I also love it as an infusion: I make a beautiful Rose Syrup when the rose petals are flush and completely clean of nothing but rainwater. Simply combine 3 cups of fresh rose petals and leaves (harvest the top petals and first set of leaves) with 3 cups of honey. Mix all together in a mason jar and shake every couple of days for at least 3 weeks. Strain if you'd like and enjoy. The roses will release their water and essence and, low and behold, you will have a rose scented honey that will last for months.
Cultivation: Prefers full sun to part-shade. It has natural tendencies to create a hedge (have you ever been to Ireland?). Tolerant of many soils even our Virginia clay but prefers the river edges.
Description: Medium-sized, thorny shrub that can form a thicket in great strength. Has compound leaves with 5 to 9 leaflets. Multiple white to pinkish flowers arise on corymbs in early to mid-June, are 2-4 cm in diameter, and have an incredible fragrance. They have the classic Rose Family 5 petals and numerous yellow stamens.
Collection: Flowers bloom in early-mid June. Harvest well after it rains to prevent molding. Each cluster will have flowers in varying stages of flowering, therefore, it is fine to harvest as long as some of it is in flower and has a full scent. I like to collect a full cluster of flowers and 1-2 leaflets. I collect the leaves anytime before frost. Collect the rosehips after a strong frost in Virginia. I do love gathering the beach rosehips from the Northeast.
Taste: Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Astringent
Energetics: Cool, Dry/Contracting
Herbal Actions of the Flowers & Leaves: Anti-inflammatory, Vulnerary, Relaxant Nervine, Astringent, mild Anti-Infective (especially topically), Hemostatic/Styptic, Cardiovascular Tonic, Blood Tonic (especially Rose Hips), Liver Relaxant, Aphrodisiac, Blood-Mover, Blood Tonic, Astringent, Vulnerary
Constituents and details: Flowers: B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Carotene, Calcium, Potassium, Anti-Oxidants, Bioflavonoids, Polyphenols. Hips- Vit C, Vit A, Vit B1, Vit B2, Vit B3, Niacin, Bioflavonoids, Vit K, Vit E, Polyphenols, Pectin
How I use Rose for Wellness:
Leaves and Flowers: Gut Inflammation and food intolerance, pain reduction, heat and inflammation from wounds and skin abrasions, rashes, bites and stings. One of my favorite First Aid uses is to use Rose to take the heat out of the wound or abrasion, including sunburn.
It is one of my FAVORITES as a Heart Tonic for the physiological heart and spiritual-emotional heart.
I hope you enjoyed my love for rose. I would love to hear about your experiences with this energetic gem.
Colleen O’Bryant is a trained herbalist and not a licensed doctor or registered healthcare practitioner. She cannot and does not claim to diagnose health conditions, nor prescribe medicines. Colleen O’Bryant does not claim that the information and products she provides to Client will prevent, alleviate, or cure any diseases or medical conditions. The information and products Colleen and Wild Roots Apothecary provides is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment. Please consult your medical care provider before using herbal products, particularly if you have a known medical condition, allergy or if you are pregnant or nursing. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises. Wild Roots Apothecary statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA and they are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Client understands that Colleen is not yet certified by the American Herbalists Guild, but by working with clients such as yourself she is gaining the required hours of practice to apply towards her certification.
Wild Roots Apothecary does not claim to be a pharmacy or prescribe medicines. Additionally, Wild Roots does not claim to be able to cure or relieve the client's specific condition or illness with the herbal formulations or recommendations provided.