Herb of the Month: Rose

HW notes on rose. #healingplants #herbalism #hw #healthwitch #naturalbeauty

Rosa spp.

Plant properties: Astringent, analgesic, nervine, aphrodisiac, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant

Energies: Cool and dry


  • Rosewater/hydrosol to soothe skin irritation and accelerate wound healing; skin astringent

  • Rose oil concentrate contains the antioxidant gallic acid, linoleic acid to nourish, hydrate, and protect and has pro-vitamin A to encourage skin cell turnover (a good thing to stock in your “aging gracefully” tool-kit, just be sure to store someplace cool and out of direct sunlight).

  • Pain relief with the ingestion of rose hips byway of decreasing inflammation within the body

  • Rose petals/aroma for stress relief, depression, trauma

  • Rosehips can aid cardiovascular and bone health

  • Bladder infections

  • Fancy garnishes for desserts, drinks, and salads!

This is just a small list of what rose can do, and is by no means exhaustive.

Personal note & observations:

Tis my birthday month, and a flower closely affiliated with the Twins. Like Geminis rose is multifaceted, and adaptable to a multitude of situations. Rose reminds us of our beauty and strength, the sensual softness and beauty that is meant to be revealed – worth protecting with thorns. The petals of rose and the fruit are most commonly used, but the inner bark, leaves, and roots can also be used. The rose hips are best when gathered after the first (light) frost, and can be used in teas, tinctures, honey, and vinegars, or a bit combinative in oxymels to up vitamin C intake. The rose hips can be cold-pressed to make a luxurious face oil.

You can find organic dried rose petals and hips, rose powder, essential and absolute oils, and hydrosols at most specialty shops, or your local co-op. Rose petals can be infused in skincare oils, baths, and water or ingestibles like teas or desserts sweetened with honey and cardamon. I have also seen fresh wild rose (Rosa acicularis) petals (free of pesticides) wrapped in cheesecloth, warmed in warm water, and used as a menstrual pad to help ease inflammation and provide soothing support for a range of pelvic/vulva discomfort. Rose powder can be mixed into a berry smoothy or an evening golden milk with turmeric and spices for a bit of a cooling effect, to promote rest. When it comes to essential oils mixed in skincare, rose otto (Rosa damascene) is a good choice. Favorite carrier oils like jojoba, rosehip, prickly pear, and raspberry seed work well with a 1% addition of rose otto, then patted into the skin after a spritz of rosewater (or rose hydrosol). In case you are wondering, the Queen Rosa essential oil will set you back roughly about $120 for a small bottle, and it is most commonly harvested in Bulgaria.

History: Rose is thought to have originated from Central Asia, and throughout the ancient world has been associated with ancient deities and figures of love, beauty, and fertility. A sacred plant used in medicine and temples recorded since 9th century Middle East, eventually making its way west, promoted by Charlemagne. Trend-setting historical figures such as Cleopatra and Marie Antoinette used rose extensity in their beauty care regime.

Perfumery: Commonly used as the middle note in perfumery, it has largely a floral scent, that depending on the preparation can lend more floral, green, or fresh notes (just to name a few). Perfume preparations of rose can be made by tincture (just source perfume grade alcohol or Everclear 190 U.S. proof to avoid the boozy smell), infusion, distillation, or enfleurage. So, depending on form – solid, oil, or spray – the rose is versatile.

Witchery & plant essences: Flower essences made with rose are known to help those suffering from grief (afflictions where the heart needs mending) and post-partum. In witchcraft, it is a plant associated with clarity. The kind of cleansing and revival to see through our heavy emotions, and to bring soothing comfort so that we may once again find the strength to become vulnerable to experience love, joy, and the self.

Note of safety: Rose petals and fruit can be consumed as a food might be, as with anything, enjoy in moderation. For internal medicinal benefits do not exceed 45 grams of rosehip per day. When sourcing your roses be sure they are not sprayed with pesticides, and veer away from conventional roses sold at the grocery store as they also contain pesticides. Look for wild roses, or buy a five-petal wild rose bush from a local greenhouse to plant on your property if you want it fresh. When it comes to essential oil: rose essential oil and absolute are expensive. If it is sold on the cheap – it is diluted, adulterated, or just plain synthetic and will not have the intended therapeutic properties you are seeking.

Written by Ashley Bissonnette-Murphy, PhD, MPH, CHES, herbalist

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease *