Rosa spp.

By Steven H. Horne

As many men know, roses are a wonderful healing plant. A dozen roses after you’ve done something stupid goes a long way towards healing “wounds” to a relationship.

It’s obvious that roses have a strong affinity for the heart, both on an emotional and a physical level. The flower essence of rose is used to invigorate the forces of the heart drained by grief and sadness, which is why roses are often given to the grieving. Rose opens the heart, too, which is why roses are a symbol of love.

The most commonly used part of the rose in modern herbal medicine is the rose fruits, known as rose hips. Rich in vitamin C, the hips are also a source of bioflavonoids, tannins, pectins, carotenoids and polyphenols. This gives them an anti-inflammatory and toning action upon the tissues.

As an herb, rose also has an affinity for the heart—or at least the cardiovascular system—because rose hips are particularly helpful for toning blood capillaries. This makes them useful for people who bruise easily, have spider veins, get frequent nosebleeds or have other signs of fragile capillaries. Like hawthorn, rose hips are able to reduce inflammation in the cardiovascular system, thus helping to prevent heart disease.

Although rose hips have a high content of vitamin C, don’t think that rose hips are going to provide you with a megadose of vitamin C. According to Mark Pedersen, author of Nutritional Herbology, there’s only about 1/2 milligram of vitamin C per capsule, which means you’d have to take every capsule in a 100 count bottle to get 50 mg. of vitamin C.

Rose hips are a mild astringent and can be helpful for mild diarrhea in children. They have also been used as an ingredient in formulas for colds, such as CC-A, but their benefit here isn’t a high vitamin C content, it’s their astringent and anti-inflammatory properties that make them useful.

The leaves and petals have also been used herbally, but a more common way to use rose is as an essential oil. Like the flower essence, rose essential oil has a strong affinity for the heart. It is a powerful fragrance to help lift people out of sadness, grief and depression.

Rose essential oil brings joy to the heart. It opens the heart, rebuilds trust and love, while soothing feelings of anger, fear and anxiety. It also serves as a physical remedy for the heart, and is beneficial for heart palpitations.

Rose essential oil helps to regulate hormones associated with the female reproductive system. Both the hips and the essential oil can help stop heavy menstrual bleeding and strengthen the uterus. The oil can also help relieve muscle cramps, irritability and hot flashes.

Topically, rose oil possesses rehydrating and emollient actions. This makes it useful as an application for inflamed or dehydrated skin, boils, rashes, herpes zoster and herpes simplex infections and sensitive skin. Rose oil can be applied neat (undiluted) to the afflicted areas.

Rose hips are available as a single from NSP, as is Rose Bulgaria essential oil. Rose hips are also found in Super Antioxidant, Capryllimune, CC-A, ENERG-V, Intestinal Soothe and Build, THIM-J, GreenZone, LIV-J and Vitamin C products. So, the next time you see the beauty of a rose, you can be thankful not only for its healing effect on your soul, but also on your body.


Selected References

The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants by Andrew Chevallier

A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve

The Comprehensive Guide to NSP Products by Tree of Light Publishing

Flower Essence Repertory by FES Services