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The Rose - so much more than just a symbol of love


It’s estimated that around a billion roses might be sold and given in the UK on Valentine’s Day. Whilst we all know that the rose has always symbolised love, it has so many other benefits for our emotional and physical wellbeing. Rose can be used in the form of tincture or tea, essential oil or flower essence.

The Rosa species comes from the Rosaceae family. Herbalists use the petals, leaves and the fruit (or hips).

Energetically roses are cooling and drying which makes them effective for calming down various conditions in the body and mind. Rose can help with anxiety, sadness and grief, heart palpitations, respiratory conditions, wound healing, arthritis, diabetes and digestive issues to name a few. Here’s how:

A cooling nervine

As a cooling nervine, rose is a gentle antidepressant and sedative. Combined with other herbs, rose tincture can be effective in treating anxiety, heart palpitations, grief and mild depression. I always add rose to the medicine of anyone who is in need of a bit of TLC. Rose essential oil in combination with Lavender has been shown to help improve anxiety and depression in women with postpartum depression. Burning or spritzing rose essential oil can help lighten and uplift the mood in any environment.

Astringent and Antiseptic

Rose oil contains tannins which are astringent. This constricts body tissues to stop the flow of blood and other secretions. Teas and gargles from the petals are used for allergies and respiratory conditions where there are excess secretions such as running eyes, nose and wet coughs, diarrhea (especially in children) and heavy menstrual bleeding. The oil also contains geraniol, which is antiseptic, so used for sore throats, cold sores and mouth ulcers. External rose applications can stop bleeding, promote wound healing, and prevent infection. When combined with Melissa essential oil, it helps clear cold sores and other skin issues.

Anti inflammatory

The cooling effects of rose make it useful for any hot conditions such as fevers, headaches and respiratory inflammation and helps dry out mucus secretions. Used externally on the skin, rose oil calms the inflammation of acne and rashes. A diluted preparation of rose petals infused in vinegar soothes sunburn. Studies show that Rose hips help reduce pain and inflammation for osteoarthritis in hips and knees and also benefits rheumatoid arthritis. This is because rose hips contain polyphenols and anthocyanins which ease joint inflammation and prevent joint damage.

Anti oxidant

Rose petals and hips are very high in Vitamin C (more than oranges) which reduces the severity and frequency of colds and Vitamin A which boosts immunity. They are also high in iron, required for the body to assimilate Vitamin C and bioflavonoids which enhance vitamin C action. This is why Rosehip tea and syrup has traditionally been given for colds and to improve anemia. Bioflavonoids also help blood circulation. Rose hip powder has been shown to lower blood pressure and plasma cholesterol. Antioxidant action also helps prevent diseases related to oxidation, such as heart disease, arthritis and cancer.

Antidiabetic, lipid lowering and anti obesogenic activity

Rosehip has been found to possess hypoglycemic effects and inhibit weight in diabetic rodents. It has also been found to produce modest lowering of total cholesterol in humans.


Rose delivers balancing effects to both the body and the mind.

Digestive aid

As a cool bitter herb, rose tincture supports the liver and gall bladder because it promotes bile flow which helps elimination.

Side effects?

No adverse side effects are reported for rose. However, over 5 cups of rose tea per day may cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or headaches due to too much vitamin C and too much rose before bedtime may affect your sleep.

Due to its astringent action it can hinder blood clotting and is not suitable for people with a bleeding disorder.

Always seek a qualified therapist before using herbs, oils and essences.

An uplifting rose tea

1 part rose hips

1 part hibiscus flowers 1 part lemon balm leaves ¼ part orange/ lemon / grapefruit peel

Place 2-3 tablespoons of the mix into a teapot / cafetiere and pour over boiling water. Allow to steep for at least 5 minutes. You can add a little bit of honey if needed.

This is also lovely as an iced tea.

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