*image credit in reference section
Part: Flower petals
Energy: warm (Chinese), cooling (Ayurvedic)
Latin name: *not an exhaustive list: Rosa chinensis, Rosa rugosa, Rosa canina, Rosa damascene, Rosa centifolia and spp.
Western herbalism use: constituents include; anthocyanins, terpene alcohol, glycosides; pelargonidins, peonidins and cyanidins, flavonols; quercetin, kaempferol, procyanidins which are derivatives of flavan-3-ols, polyphenols; ellagitannins, etc.
Actions: slightly carminative (calming flatulence), aperient (relieves constipation), emmenagogue (increase uterine circulation), antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, kidney tonic, sedative, etc.
“Anthocyanins have been categorized as the largest group of water-soluble pigments present in flowers. These natural pigments are of great interest in the food industry, due to their attractive colors and beneficial health effects, including anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antidiabetic, and antioxidant activities.” (Prata, G. G. B., et al. 2017)
“Rosa damascena mill L., known as Gole Mohammadi in is one of the most important species of Rosaceae family flowers. R. damascena is an ornamental plant and beside perfuming effect, several pharmacological properties including anti-HIV, antibacterial, antioxidant, antitussive, hypnotic, antidiabetic, and relaxant effect on tracheal chains have been reported for this plant.” (Boskabady, Mohammad Hossein, et al. 2011)
Rosa rugosa – “significant cytotoxic (up to 100% of dead cells) and antiradical properties (IC50 1.33 – 0.08 mg mg(-1) DPPH(•) ) were demonstrated. Moreover, notable antimicrobial activity against eight bacterial (i.e. S. epidermidis, S. aureus, B. subtilis, M. luteus, E. coli, K. pneumoniae, P. aeruginosa, P. mirabilis) and two yeast strains (C. albicans, C. parapsilosis) was showed.” (Olech, Marta & Pecio, et al. 2014)
“It soothes mind and heals depression, grief, nervous tension and stress” (Nikbakht, A., and M. Kafi, 2004)
“It helps in problems with digestive system so many Iranians add the powder of dried petals to yogurt and use it with their meal.” (Nikbakht, A., and M. Kafi, 2004)
Chinese name: Yue Ji Hua
Traditional Chinese Medicine use: effecting the Liver Organ, it is considered to counteract swelling, regulate irregular menses, used topically for boils, and considered to create an uplifting effect for use on depression/anxiety (disturbances to the Shen or Spirit of the Heart)
“Chinese rose tea ‘Yue Ji Hua’ (Rosa chinensis) had higher antioxidant property values than green teas.” (Jin, Liang, et al. 2016)
Ayurvedic use: used to balance Pitta (Fire) dosha, some books say that it has an equalizing effect on all doshas, considered to help anxiety, anger, depression, diarrhea, high cholesterol, exhaustion, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
Cautions: potential for seeds to cause “toxicity” (nausea) (Western), not to be used in pregnancy as it increases uterine circulation and can cause uterine contractions, not to be used with weak digestion (Ayurvedic- cooling effect decrease digestive energy and is used as a mild laxative)
Preparation and dosage: 3 to 10 grams
-tea infusion (steep covered for 5 minutes) blend with other herbs
-topical oil/salve, decoction (strong tea for more medicinal effect)
-mix into sugar or honey for tasty use for depression/anxiety
*Always consult a qualified health professional before using herbal medicine, especially in conjunction with pharmaceuticals
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Images: (dried rose with spoon, left) Suncore Foods Inc. 2019, (fresh Damask rose, right) Eroma Store Pty Ltd. 2019
1) Prata, G. G. B., et al. “Nutritional characterization, bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity of brazilian roses (Rosa spp).” Embrapa Agroindústria Tropical-Artigo em periódico indexado (ALICE) (2017).
2) Boskabady, Mohammad Hossein, et al. “Pharmacological effects of Rosa damascena.” Iranian journal of basic medical sciences 14.4 (2011): 295.
3) Olech, Marta & Pecio, Łukasz & Oleszek, Wieslaw & Los, Renata & Malm, Anna & Rzymowska, Jolanta. (2014). Cytotoxic, Antioxidant, Antimicrobial Properties And Chemical Composition Of Rose Petals.. Journal of the science of food and agriculture. 10.1002/jsfa.6294.
4) Nikbakht, A., and M. Kafi. “A study on the relationships between Iranian people and Damask rose (Rosa damascena) and its therapeutic and healing properties.” VIII International People-Plant Symposium on Exploring Therapeutic Powers of Flowers, Greenery and Nature 790. 2004.
5) Jin, Liang, et al. “Antioxidant properties and color parameters of herbal teas in China.” Industrial Crops and Products 87 (2016): 198-209.