Rose (Mei Gui Hua)
Botanical Name: Rosaceae. Western – Rosa gallica officinalis, R. damascene, R. rugosa, R. canina, R. centifolia. Eastern – R. chinensis.
The rose was one of the most valued medicinal plants in the monastery gardens of Medieval Europe. Rose petals are very astringent, making them excellent for washing skin and bruises. Roses are also classically considered a strong aphrodisiac and antidepressant. The Persians are credited with the development of rose oil.
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Below is an overview of rose, combining the best of Western Science, Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore, and a wide range of healing modalities. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of rose.
How to take FULL advantage of Rose's healing powers...
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Western Name: Rose
Also Known As: Provence Rose, Apothecary Rose, Dog Rose
Organs/Systems: Nervous, Skin, Uterus, Intestines
Key Actions: Anticancer, Antidepressant, Antiscorbutic, Antispasmodic, Aphrodisiac, Aromatic, Astringent, Antiviral, Antiseptic, Coagulant, Hemostatic, Cordial, Depurative, Emmenagogue, Hepatic, Laxative, Nervine, Refrigerant, Sedative, Skin tonic, Vulnerary, Stomachic, Uterine tonic, Blood Tonic, Kidney Tonic
Medicinal Uses: Aromatherapy, beauty, cuts and wounds, nutrition, skincare, bruises, rashes, blood cleansing, anxiety, menstrual cramps, fevers, lowers cholesterol, balances the endocrine system, asthma, wheezing, coughs, intestinal cramps, stomach cramping, rosacea, acne, eczema.
Pin Yin: Mei Gui Hua
Also Known As: China Rose
Meridians: Heart, Liver, Spleen, Stomach
Key Actions: Cool Astringent, Decongestant, Moves Qi, Disperses Stagnation, Clears Heat, Calms Shen (Spirit) and the Heart, Harmonizes Blood, Reduces Inflammation, Alleviates Spasms
Medicinal Uses: Moves Liver Qi Stagnation, treats constipation, headaches, nausea, belching, poor appetite, irritability, depression, infertility, insufficient semen, dry phlegm, bruises, cuts, rashes, mouth sores, irritated eyes, diarrhea, dysentery, painful stool, ulcers, sore throat, sinus disorders, cysts, edema, poor circulation, asthma, coughs, insomnia, palpitations, regulates menses, stops bleeding, promotes urination.
Basic Habitat / Botany:
A rose is a woody perennial of the genus Rosa, within the family Rosaceae. There are over 100 species and thousands of cultivars. Roses form a group of plants that can be erect shrubs, climbing or trailing, with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles. Flowers vary in size and shape and are usually large and showy, in colors ranging from white through yellows and reds. The flowers of most species have five petals. The aggregate fruit of the rose is a berry-like structure called a rose hip. The gallica (Provence Rose), eglanteria (Eglantine Rose) and damascene (Damask Rose) varieties are the three oldest roses in cultivation.
Most species are native to Asia, with smaller numbers native to Europe, North America, and northwestern Africa. Persia is considered the likely origin of the flower.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Rose Hip, Flower Bud, Petal, Leaf, Bark, Root
Flavors/Temps: Astringent, Slightly Bitter, Sweet, Cooling
Caution: Safe and edible. Some people may experience nausea, fatigue, or headaches from overusing rose hips.
Key Constituents: Flowers – Vitamin C, Vitamins B, E, and K, Nicotinamide, Organic acids, Tannins, Pectin, Glucose, Fructose, Citric acid, Malic acid, and Carotene. Rosehips – Vitamin C, A, B1, B2, B3, K, and E, Bioflavonoids, Polyphenols, Rugosin E.
History/Folklore: Roses are an ancient symbol of love and beauty, with “rose” translating to the words “pink” or “red” in many languages. The rose was sacred to the goddess Isis, Aphrodite, and Venus (goddesses of love and beauty). The rose is often called the King of Flowers.
In ancient Rome, a wild rose would be placed on the door of a room where confidential matters were discussed. Hence the phrase “sub rosa” (under the rose) which means secretive. “Passing under the rose” meant giving your word to not repeat anything discussed in the room or at the table. In later decades, roses would be plastered onto ceilings in reference to this custom. Romans also scattered rose petals along funeral routes for protection and as a symbol of rebirth.
The rose has a long history in Islam and Sufism, where it signifies divine love and was often incorporated into art, architecture, and landscape gardens. Medieval Christians identified the five-petal rose with the five wounds of Christ and the blood of the martyrs. Later, Catholics identified the rose with the Virgin Mary. The word “rosary” has its origins in the rose petals being compressed into beads as well as the rose’s symbolism for rebirth, the blood of Christ, and compassion.
In Medieval times, roses were cultivated more for their medicinal value than their beauty.
Native Americans used rose hips and roots to treat inflammation of the eyes and as food. Rose seeds were used to treat muscle pain. The Cheyenne used rose petals, stems, and roots to treat snow blindness and the bark to make a tea to treat an upset stomach and diarrhea. The Crow Indians used rose roots to make a vapor to stop mouth and nose bleeds and as a hot compress to treat swellings.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Rosa chinensis is used to Regulate Qi, Reduce Stagnation, and nourish the skin, and improve digestion. It is related to the Earth and Wood elements of the Spleen and Liver Systems.
Roses can help cleanse the blood, increase bile production, regulate menses, and stimulate digestion.
Rose hip is the part of the rose flower just below the petals that contain the rose plant seeds. They are an excellent source of vitamin C. Rose hip seeds can be eaten as a diuretic or ground and added to cookies, cakes, and other desserts.
Rose water can be used to treat skin irritations, sore throats, and skin redness (including rosacea, acne, and eczema), prevent infections, heal cuts, bruises, and burns, relieve headaches, and enhance moods. It is a by-product of the distillation of rose oil and has been used for centuries in Persia (Iran), India, China, Egypt, and Europe to enhance skin. In Lebanon, they have a drink called white tea, which is hot water with rose water.
Rose nourishes the endocrine system. It is rich in hormonal elements that can help ease menstrual difficulties and improve libido.
An article published in Iran Journal of Basic Medicine and Science, quoted close to 100 studies that confirmed roses’ medicinal properties as an antimicrobial, antiseptic, antidiabetic, anti-HIV, antioxidant, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory herb.
Different roses have different concentrations of active chemical components. One study of 12 rose cultivars found they had a range of antioxidants that was just below to nearly double that found in green tea.
Rosa gallica, R. centifolia, R. damascena are the three main varieties of roses used to produce rose water and rose essential oil. R. canina is used for producing rosehip oil.
Of the 300 chemical constituents found in roses, only about 100 have been properly identified. The fruit of roses, aka rose hips, contains more vitamin C than citrus fruits. However, commercial drying processes can destroy the vitamin C content in rose hip-derived “natural” vitamin C products, which have actually then been fortified with lab-made vitamin C, though their labels may not always say so.
The compound rugosin E, found in rose hips can cause blood clotting, helping to heal wounds.
Rose hips are winter food for birds, grouse, rabbits, coyotes, and skunks.
Rose incense is used in sacred ceremonies to lift the spirit and bless the environment. It can help reduce anxiety, depression, and correct hormonal imbalances. Rose incense is burned to promote courage, and fertility, attract love and induce prophetic dreams.
Rose essential oil is a highly prized preparation and is often quite expensive. It takes many thousands of flowers to make a single 5 ml bottle of rose essential oil. The oil contains the same healing properties as the herbal flowers and rose hips, but in condensed form. A few drops added to a carrier oil such as jojoba or coconut oil can be added to bath water, used as a massage oil, as a treatment for acne and eczema, and to prevent signs of aging
The color red is good luck in Chinese, so a red rose is a symbol of luck, love, and fortune. A Chinese proverb says, “A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses.”
Rose in Medicine
Rosa gallica was hybridized so much that any scented deep red or deep pink rose was used in medicine, as long as it yielded strong color and fragrance in hot water.
While the sharp objects along a rose stem are commonly called “thorns,” they are scientifically called prickles.
War of the Roses
The rose is the national flower of England, ever since Henry II introduced the Tudor rose at the end of the War of the Roses (combining the red and white roses of the houses of Lancaster and York, as a symbol of post-war unity between the two houses).
Take FULL advantage of Rose (Mei Gui Hua)!
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