Roses are found on nearly every continent in a variety of species and cultivars, and have a long history of significant use for medicinal, culinary, and religious purposes in many cultures. A vast number of rose hybrids have also been developed in the last two centuries.
This huge variety results in many phytochemical differences between different kinds of roses, whether they are climbing roses, trailing roses or even the common shrub or bush. Sadly, the hybridization process which has created so many of these beautiful varietals has also diluted their phytochemical properties to the point that most roses commercially available to grow are now virtually useless for medicinal uses.
Through the centuries, parts of the entire rose plant—petals, hips, thorns, and stem—have been used in the production of essential oils for relieving many common ailments. However, rosehips and rose petals are best suited when using roses for herbal healing at home, as the beneficial phytochemicals are most easily extracted by home methods.
Roses are a good source of zinc, iron, selenium, and vitamins A, C, D, and B-complex, which are the source of many of their healthy benefits. For medicinal purposes, try to find either the Rosa Canina variety, commonly called the Dog Rose, or the Rosa Rugosa variety. Both produce rosehips that are higher in vitamin C than those of most other varieties.
The petals of the rose contain sedative, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, and mood-enhancing phytochemicals. Because of this, you can use rose petals to help soothe sore throats, nervous tension, anxiety, headaches, peptic ulcers, hypertension, fluid retention, bronchitis, urinary tract infections, and heart disease. Rose petals are also an excellent addition to your bath and can help provide relief for dry, itchy skin, bug bites, sunburn, acne, and eczema. Make sure to always seek out organic or unsprayed roses since conventionally grown rose petals often contain harmful pesticides.
One way to enjoy some of the benefits of rose is by making a simple rosewater. Place 2-4 cups of rose petals in a pot and pour just enough water to cover them, simmer for about 45 minutes and then allow to cool. Strain and store rosewater in the fridge, where it will be good for 7-10 days. Rosewater works as an astringent and as an anti-aging and beautifying tonic for the face and skin. Rosewater is also used often in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and South Asian cuisines for both sweet and savory dishes, to add flavor and benefits. Personally, I love to use a few drops as the secret ingredient in chocolate chip cookies!
Our Rose Black Tea has had fresh rose petals and rosehips added to the tea leaves while they are being withered, allowing the oils to dry into the tea leaves. This provides an amazing flavor and scent to our Rose Black Tea and our Rooibos Provence, as well as to house blends such as our Blooms That Brighten, Mother’s Love, and Pastille.
If you want to combine the benefits of rose with those of green tea, our Kyoto Cherry Rose Festival is a great choice both hot or iced. You can even enjoy the benefits with rose with the metabolic and probiotic powerhouse that is dark tea in our Dark Rose Tea. So don’t just bring roses to the table for decoration; roses can also be a beautiful addition to your cup for their natural wellness benefits, and, of course, for their intoxicating aroma and taste!