Herbal Profile: Roses |

Herbal Profile: Roses

Sarena-Rae Santos February 27, 2023

What are Roses

Rose, also known as Rosa, is a beautiful, woody, multi-petal perennial grown worldwide but originating in China. There are 100-150 species of roses grown in various colors, from white to red. Some varieties are known for their thorns along the plant’s stem, which are used to deter predators. Roses thrive in sunny, well-drained soil (1). The green bottom, below the petals of a rose, is often referred to as rose hips. Rose hips are frequently used for medicinal purposes, especially rose water, created by distilling rose petals with steam.

Health Benefits of Roses

Rich In Antioxidants

Rose petals have been found to contain several potent antioxidant compounds. Antioxidants help fight damage from harmful free radicals. The buildup of free radicals has been linked to chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease (2). One study found that the antioxidants in rose petals had potential lipid peroxidation inhibitory effects, which can provide powerful cell protection (3).

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Roses are well known for their anti-inflammatory properties. The rose’s antioxidant compounds reduce inflammation, especially from free radical damage. Chronic inflammation has been linked with many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, asthma, and certain cancers (4). The anti-inflammatory properties of roses can help treat multiple ailments, both internally and externally. One study found that flower extract from Rosa hybrida had significant anti-inflammatory activity and successfully relieved inflammatory pain (5). 

Antibacterial Properties

A substance or herb that destroys or suppresses the growth and reproduction of bacteria have antibacterial properties (6). One study found roses contain several components, including terpenes, glycosides, flavonoids, and anthocyanins. These compounds have beneficial effects on human health and antibacterial properties (7). Another study found the rose extract to exhibit inhibition and minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of Streptococcus mutans and Candida albicans. These studies concluded rose extract has both antibacterial and antifungal properties (8).

May Prevent & Treat Infections

A substance or herb that stops or slows down the growth of microorganisms, which can prevent and treat infections, has antiseptic properties (9). Their antiseptic properties are notably powerful when roses are turned into rose water. The antiseptic properties of rose water are often included in various natural and medicinal treatments. For instance, one study found that when rose water was used in eye drops to treat conjunctivitis cases, its antiseptic and analgesic properties aid in treating the disease (10). The combined antiseptic and antibacterial properties of rose water can help wounds heal faster, support cleanliness, and fight off infection of cuts and burns while encouraging them to heal faster.

May Soothe Sore Throats

Traditionally, rose water or tea has soothed sore throats and coughs for thousands of years (11). One study demonstrated that the ethanolic and aqueous extracts of roses significantly reduce the number of coughs in guinea pigs (12). Another study investigated the effect of ethanolic extract and essential oil on the tracheal smooth muscle of guinea pigs. The study showed that extracts and essential oils had a potent relaxant effect compared to theophylline (13). Theophylline is a pharmaceutical medication that prevents and treats wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness caused by asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and other lung diseases (14).

May Relieve Headaches

Approximately 45 million (one in every six) Americans struggle with headaches resulting in more than 8 million new doctor visits and headache complaints annually (15). Rose water and rose essential oil is commonly used in aromatherapy to help relieve headaches due to their antidepressant, anti-anxiety, and de-stressing effects. One study found that the topical application of rose water can soothe headaches and migraine types (16).

May Improve Mood

Rose water can improve our mood thanks to its powerful anti-depressant and anti-anxiety properties. One study observed that the extract of rose petals could relax the central nervous system in mice. The nervous system’s relaxation resulted in flavonoids, a rose compound resulting in anti-depressant activity (17). Another study confirmed that rose inhibits the reactivity of the hypothalamus and pituitary systems in rats and can suppress the central nervous system’s reactivity (18). It is suggested that the rose’s flavonoids contribute to the hypnotic effect.

May Soothe Digestion Problems

Traditionally, rose water or rose tea has been used to aid digestion and reduce digestive upset. One study uncovered evidence that rose water can positively influence digestion and relieve digestive upset (19). Modern research implies that rose tea’s ability to increase our liver’s bile production encourages our body to digest food easier, prevent constipation, and enhance nutrient absorption (20).

Anti-Aging Properties

Anti-aging slows, prevents, or reverses the natural aging process (21). Wrinkles are a natural aging process when the skin becomes thinner, drier, and less elastic. This natural aging process leads to creases, folds, or ridges in the skin (22). A common way to obtain rose’s medicinal properties is rose water. Rose water is rich in vitamins A and C, which help alleviate aging skin (23). These two vitamins also help reduce the look of age spots on the skin and naturally aid collagen production (24).

Safety Concerns

According to mainstream sources, antacids often contain aluminum, which interacts with roses. They also warn some estrogen pills to include conjugated equine estrogens, which may increase how much estrogen the body absorbs due to the vitamin C in roses. Additionally, they state there are known interactions between roses and Fluphenazine, Warfarin, and Lithium (25). After searching many scientific databases, I could not find any studies that warranted concern, but I figured I’d share the mainstream warnings just in case. 

When it comes to rose essential oil, according to aromatherapist Wendy Robbins, essential oils should never be taken internally or applied undiluted. She forewarns that Rose Otto may contain methyeugenol and should be diluted at the recommended dermal maximum of 0.6% (26). Additionally, rose absolute is safe for children, pups, and ponies, while pregnant and breastfeeding, while rose otto is only safe for dogs and horses.

How to Use Roses

You can find roses in dried bulk, teas, capsules, powders, extracts, essential oils, and even herbal tinctures. Tinctures always contain the most concentrated amount of herbs.  Teas are also an option. If you’re a DIY person, some great starter recipes are:

Follow the recommendations of any supplement; some of my recommendations include:

  • Earthley’s Calendula-Rose Body Oil is a nourishing herbal body oil blend that is perfect for sensitive skin. It can help smooth fine lines, diminish redness and hydrate. Use it as a light lotion or massage oil. A little goes a long way!
  • Earthley’s Clear Skin Essential Oil Roller {Natural Acne Treatment} heals breakouts, relieves pain from deep-down acne, and nourishes your skin with this botanical essential oil roller. No more drying out your skin with spot treatments that are full of acids and oxides! Instead, rosehip seed oil and essential oils combine to fight acne-causing bacteria and soothe inflamed skin.
  • Earthley’s Elderberry Syrup DIY Kit (Immune Support) makes it easier than ever! No need to overbuy herbs or spend time researching the best recipe. Simply boil in water and add honey, syrup, or a sweetener of your choice.
  • Earthley’s Energy Plus {Herbal Iron} supports a natural energy boost, endurance throughout the day, and restful sleep at night. Unlike synthetic vitamins, this herbal iron provides natural energy from the earth in amounts your body can adequately absorb. Plus, there are no unwanted side effects!
  • Earthley’s Eye Serum improves circulation and reduces inflammation. Smooth wrinkles, nourish delicate skin, and banish dark circles with this all-natural and organic botanical eye serum!
  • Earthley’s Moisturize Me! is an all-natural and botanical moisturizer designed specifically for the face. Formulated with non-comedogenic and essential oils, this product hydrates and replenishes the skin. Moisturize Me is food for the face that will nourish skin to relieve concerns like acne and dry, flaky skin.
  • Earthley’s Spring Blossoms Essential Oil Blend is designed for floral lovers. The sweet aromas of rose-geranium and lavender combine with neroli’s orange blossom notes to create this delightful floral scent. This blend is relaxing and uplifting, perfect for promoting happy yet calm moods.

Disclaimer: This post is not intended as medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and nothing in this post is intended to diagnose, treat, or cure anything. If you have questions, please do your own research or seek advice from a health professional.

If you have roses in your natural medicine cabinet, how do you use them?

This is the writings of:

Sarena-Rae Santos
Sarena-Rae Santos' journey to natural health began in 2019 when she swayed away from allopathic medicine after becoming wheelchair-bound due to the side effects of 20+ medications. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and dizziness due to nystagmus were the sources of her many health complications. Sarena's symptoms diminished after adopting a healthier lifestyle surrounding whole foods and herbs, leaving her a fantastic quality of life and a passion for educating people.

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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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