Did you know that roses may hold the key to preventing Alzheimer's in old age? That they can help arthritis, gut problems, stress, soothe your skin… and treat many other ailments? So they’re not just for lovers and Valentine’s day. Monica explores the secret side of roses.
Roses are heavenly! They’ve been appreciated since ancient times and highly valued. It takes a whole roomful of petals to produce even a tiny bottle of essential oil so they’ve always been on the botanical ‘royalty list’. In fact, Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen’s legendary beauty was attributed to her daily baths in donkey milk and rose petals! I’m not suggesting you go quite that far but using rose and rose hip seed oil in skin care is wonderful for your skin.
True rose essence (not the cheap synthetic stuff) is very soothing to irritated skin. Rosewater, the secret to the traditional fair ‘peaches and cream’ British complexion when used as a skin toner, is so gentle that it can also be used as a soothing antiseptic for eyes as well. Using Napiers French Green Clay as a base, mix up a paste with Witchhazel or Rosewater for a perfect face pack that is both cleansing, soothing and uplifting. Add essential oils for a special treat. Up to 10 drops of rose absolute (the essential oil) can be added to 10 ml of a carrier oil and used as much as you like even on delicate skin. In both massage and as a fragrance oil, this will fill you with calm, peace and a sense of well-being.
This well-being is because rose doesn’t just smell fabulous but it is also mildly sedative so really calms the nerves! For that reason, herbalists often add rose to prescriptions for stress, whether in day to day life or during periods of depression, PMT or the menopause.
Rose extract – whether as rose tea or rose tincture - also helps to tone your gut, increasing the contractions of the intestinal wall as food is digestive helping to maintain bowel regularity – at least that’s my excuse for loving Turkish Delight made with rosewater so much! Rose hip tea can also be used to slow diarrhea and urinary infections. In fact its antibacterial qualities also extend to traditional uses in treating chest and throat infections. Or being added to a steam bowl for inhaling to soothe sinuses irritated by sinus infections.
Medical herbalists use rose tincture in prescriptions to relieve the uterine congestion that cause heavy periods and menstrual pain. It is also used in treatments for irregular periods and infertility.
The seeds contain an essential oil that has a very long chain fatty acid. Clinical studies have found this fatty acid to be highly promising in delaying early onset Alzheimer’s disease. The seeds (found inside the hips) are also fantastic anti-inflammatories and used by many arthritis sufferers to reduce joint pain.
Rose hips are famed for being high in Vitamin C. They were collected by children during the war and sold at school to make Vitamin C tonics. But did you know they are also an excellent source of vitamins A, B3, D and E as well? And zinc which is needed for the body to metabolise all that Vitamin C. Did I mention the antioxidants and flavonoids as well?! It is such an easy syrup to make I encourage every one to get out for a walk in the late autumn to pick the hips and make rose hip syrup.
So they smell nice, look nice, taste nice and are good for you. Truly blessed!