Is there anything more symbolic of love than the rose? Coveted and esteemed throughout history, even inhaling its sweet aroma can be a transcendent experience. Roses have had cultural significance dating back to the days of ancient Greece. They since have found their way into religious symbolism, paintings, prose and other forms of artistic expression.
Through love, thorns become roses.
In Greek mythology, the rose acquired its red colour when Aphrodite, the goddess of love, cut herself on a rose thorn and stained the petals of the flower with her blood. Represented in poetry as well, the 13th-century poet Rumi wrote, “Through love, thorns become roses.”
It may be fitting then, given their connection with expressions of love, that roses are known in herbal medicine as an ally for their effects on healing the heart. The shape of the petals themselves mimic the shape of the human heart and are soft and plush to the touch. These symbolic qualities impart elements of tenderness to your emotional well-being, along with protective attributes from the rose’s thorns.
In the practice of aromatherapy, the essence of roses assists in the process of alleviating grief, heartache and sadness. The oil can also ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. These principles align with TCM teachings, where the rose belongs to a category of heart-helping herbs called exhilarants, which help lift your mood and ease the feeling of heartbreak.
Roses offer some pretty amazing beauty-enhancing effects to the skin. The petals have astringent qualities, which provide a tightening effect on the tissues. A distillation of its petals (rosewater), gently shrinks the pores while bringing down the inflammation. Using a rose-rich cream can provide additional benefits. Our anti-oxidant face cream contains rose distillate to hydrate and soothe all skin types for a fresh and healthy appearance. If you prefer facial oils, rosehip seed is a fantastic choice. A potent anti-oxidant with cell rejuvenating properties, the oil brightens the skin while healing damage.
The rose plant bears fruit in the warm temperatures of late summer. Berry-like in appearance, rosehip fruit contains some of the highest naturally occurring sources of Vitamin C. Packed with health-imparting nutrients, rosehips maintain your vitality during cold and flu season. The hips help with blood flow and energy and can be used as a general tonic when one is feeling low in energy, debilitated or exhausted. These attributes, along with their heart essence, make the rose a well-known and beloved aphrodisiac.
It’s no surprise the rose is so significant on the day of St Valentine, the patron saint of love. This beautiful bloom holds such a special place in my own apothecary and of course, in my heart. I hope this Valentine’s Day is heart-opening and enjoyed with good health, well-being and coloured with love and affection for yourself and your favourite people.
I’m re-sharing one of my favourite recipes from a previous post – sweetened nut milk infused with the essence of rose petals. It can be added to your favourite hot beverage, but here we’ve created an adaptogenic tea with chocolate.