January’s Herb of the Month: Rose

When is a rose more than a rose?
Written by Amy Baker

The rose has been prized for its beauty, perfume and medicinal value for thousands of years. One of the most recognizable flowers, it has long been cherished as a symbol of love and friendship, and is often used by herbalists to support someone experiencing grief and sadness. In terms of healing properties, roses are astringent (tightens and tones tissue), calming to the nervous system, anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, and antioxidant.

Though fresh garden roses are lovely to behold, our enjoyment of them doesn’t need to be limited to summertime. Dried organic rose petals and rose hips (high in vitamin C) are easy to enjoy in a number of everyday recipes, and are available by the ounce at Community Pharmacy. Rose essential oil and hydrosol, as well as rose hip seed oil, are also available.

Experiment on your own, or consider trying these recipes for yourself or as lovely homemade gifts.

Green & Rose Tea
2 oz Rishi Jade Cloud tea
1/2 oz organic rose petals

Mix thoroughly and store in an airtight container. To steep, use 1 teaspoon of the tea blend per 8 ounces of water, cooled to 185 degrees. Steep two minutes, then strain and enjoy!

Soothing Bath Salts
1 c sea salt
1 c Epsom salt
1 c baking soda
1/2 c organic rose petals
1/2 c organic lavender buds

Mix salts and baking soda together. Use a clear, quart-size jar to display this lovely mixture. Either create a stratified look by adding alternating layers of each ingredient to the jar, or create a festive, confetti-like look by mixing all ingredients together first. Use 1-2 c/bath.

Immune Booster Tea
2 quarts water
1 c dried elderberries
1 c dried rose hips
1/2 c dried lemon balm
1 -2 sticks cinnamon
2 cardamom pods
2 T dried orange peel or a few ribbons of fresh
Organic honey

Bring all herbs and water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Turn off heat, add honey to taste and let cool. This will yield a concentrated tea that can be enjoyed as-is or diluted with hot water or with cold sparkling water for a festive spritzer.

Antioxidant Face Mask
1/4 c green or white clay
2 t macha or powdered green tea
2 t powdered rose petals

If powdering your own tea and petals, use a clean coffee/spice grinder and pulverize until smooth. Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight jar. To use, mix 2-3 t of dry mixture with enough liquid to form a thick paste (try honey or cream to moisturize, yogurt to brighten, or use water, leftover tea or a plant hydrosol). Let sit until dry, then cover face with a hot, moist cloth to allow botanicals to work. Rinse with warm water.

rose bush

Amy Baker is a gardener, teacher, wildcrafter, herb enthusiast and an award-winning writer.  She has studied herbal medicine with various teachers in Chicago and Madison, and earned her certification as a Culinary Nutrition Expert and Instructor through the Academy of Culinary Nutrition. Amy has enjoyed creating plant medicines, natural beauty and cleaning products, and all manner of tasty, nutritious, healing recipes for decades.