Common Names: Rose, Sweet Briar
Botanical Name: Rosa species
Plant Family: Rosaceae, Rose Family
Parts Used: Hips, Buds and Petals (Flowering and Fruiting parts)
Actions: Anti-Inflammatory, Astringent, Relaxant nervine
Habitat: These commonly identified five-petal flowers and stems of prickles (a.k.a thorns) can be found in various altitudes. The straight growing stems (great for arrow shafts) have compound leaves with five to nine leaflets growing off of them. The wild flowers are commonly pink in color, varying in dark and light shades and richness of smell. Rose may form thickets that can be 2-3 feet tall. Depending on the species, you can find wild roses in the foothills, along streams, in moist meadows and near timberlines. Here, in the PNW, we most commonly find Rosa nutkana with plump fruit growing within the northern mountains.
Collection: Wild roses and cultivated roses (if not sprayed) can be collected. The flowers and buds are found in the spring to early summer and can be picked accordingly. If the petals have been open for a long period of time and are beginning to wilt or brown, I would avoid harvesting them. The hips are best collected after the first strong frost (sometimes that never happens in Washington, so it’s best to harvest in the late Fall before the winter rains create mold and mildew on the hips). The hips (if not moldy) can be collected until the early spring.
Do not harvest the hips in really harsh winters, for they serve as a good food source for mule deer, squirrels and other animals.
One of my favorite ways to take rose, is to eat the rose hips right off the plant. At the NW Herb Symposium Susan Weed had a class go out and eat one wild thing…for those drawn to the wild rose hips, she said eat 3 fresh hips a day to get your daily Vitamin C intake. Be careful not to eat the seeds, fine hairs surround them, which makes for an itchy bowel movement!
Rose Hips- High in Vitamin C, rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, Niacin, K, E, Bioflavonoids and pectin. You will obtain the most vitamin C from eating FRESH rose hips.
Rose Petals- Rich in B vitamins, polyphenols and Bioflavonoids.
Whole Plant (foliage and flowers)- Rich in anti-oxidants
Infuse or use roses in Teas, Honeys, Jellies, Wine, Vinegars, Oxymel and bits of taste in muffins, muesli, cereals and such!
Vitamin C for Colds/Flu
The high amounts of Vitamin C found in this plant can help boost the immune system. Wherever vitamin C is required, rose hips (especially) serve as a natural and freely available source of vitamin C. In this case, it helps defend the body from infections and specifically colds. I have used rose petal tea specifically to help rid sinus congestion, a runny nose and damp heat within the lungs.
Rose hips can aid in heart health. Studies have shown that taking rose hips daily for a couple of months can improve blood pressure and plasma cholesterol. Individuals feeling a sense of coldness, fatigue or vertigo, can combine rose hips with blackstrap molasses (in aa muesli?) to help tonify any blood deficiency. Rose hips can also help regulate menstruation and cramps due to blood stagnation. In TCM, rose helps harmonize the blood. This combination of increasing blood circulation and opening the heart has given rose a romantic reputation that also helps stimulate libido.
Applying rose petals or leaves externally can help reduce inflammation and redness, and taking rose hips internally helps with chronic inflammation. Studies are showing that rose hips can reduce pain and inflammation for patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The flower petals can be used as a bandage around a burn or wound. The natural protection serves as a bacteriostatic (stops bacteria from spreading). The leaves can be made into a poultice to sooth any insect stings or bites.
The astringent qualities of rose help with burns and wounds as mentioned above. And also, rose is a great treatment for diarrhea. Michael Moore recommends 5-10 flowers or buds steeped into how water for 20 minutes, drinking as often as needed and generally every 2-3 hours. Oddly, enough rose also helps against constipation. The vitamins and bioflavonoids in this plant can help regulate bowel movements and also relieve an overworked liver. Rose cools and supports the liver, which helps with the flow and function of the digestive system. Anyone experiencing uncomfortable, internal heat and inflammation or IBS can benefit from a rose petal infusion.
If there isn’t chamomile around, we turn to rose buds for a nice eye compress. When we are working outside or building, so much gunk gathers in our eyes, hence nightly eyewashes are soothing and tone the tissues, helping reduce inflammation and redness. We use 3-4 rose buds in ½ cup or so of hot water, letting it cool to body temperature before applying a wet cloth to our eyes.
Rose is emotionally nourishing. It can help those suffering from grief, anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression. Rose allows one to open their hearts and balance heat and passion in the body. Let the smell of rose support you. Take a bath with rose petals, steam yourself with rose oil, wake up and spritz your face with rose water. Take rose into your heart.
Rose Hip Wine
10 cups Rose Hips
5 quarts Boiling Water
5 cups Sugar
Juice of 1 Lemon
Juice of 1 Orange
1-quart Cold Water
1 packet general-purpose yeast
Pick rose hips after first frost and use immediately
Mince rose hips, place in a food-grade bucket and cover with boiling water, stirring with a spoon
Let stand, covered with cloth for 3 days, stirring daily
Strain into another bucket with a wine bag (or mesh strainer)
Prepare a “syrup” by combining sugar, juices, and cold water into a saucepan, then bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar
Add syrup to wine juice and pour into a 1-gallon jug
Activate yeast, then add to jug
Top up jar with water to approximately 1 inch towards the top
Fit with airlock
Leave until clear, then siphon wine into a clean container and keep for at least 3 months
Flavor improves over time.
(Home brewing without failures by H.E. Bravery)
1 lb. rose petals
1 ¾ lb. sugar
¾ cup water
1 ½ Tbsp. lemon juice
Select petals from very fragrant roses. Take off the white tips. Wash petals and dry on paper towels. Arrange petals and sugar in layers in a saucepan, starting with sugar on the bottom. Pour water over the petals and sugar; add lemon juice. Slowly bring mixture to a boil. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Test for doneness by dropping a little for the mixture onto a chilled dish. It should form a firm ball. Take from heat and allow to cool, then pour into sterilized jars. Seal. (A Feast of Flowers)
Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West by Michael Moore
Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West by Gregory L. Tilford
A Feast of Flowers by Francesca Tillona and Cynthia Strowbridge
LearningHerbs with Rosalee de la foret
The New Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman
Home brewing without failures by H.E. Bravery