“Oh, what a beautiful day.” Gordon MacRae’s voice from Oklahoma keeps running through my head. I woke this morning to bright sunshine, the twittering of birds and the chattering of squirrels. As I was pouring my morning coffee, delicate pink blossoms smiled at me from the terrace.
This particular rose bush is a rescue. One of my accounting clients was re-doing her garden and decided she didn’t like the climbing rose up the garage wall. She had the gardening people uproot the bush and was going to throw it out! Since I eventually want to have the terrace planted in roses, I brought it home with me and put it in the center of that terrace, hopefully to be joined by friends at some point (my list of things to plant is a mile long!). It’s taken almost three years but it finally seems to be happy. I know it should be espaliered (it is a climber, after all) but to have the tall canes peeking over the top, giving me a glimpse of the flowers from the kitchen window is just too enjoyable.
The Rose has a long history in poetry, lore, herbalism, magic … you name it. It is the flower of love and if you do an Internet search, you’ll see that different colors of Rose have different meanings: Red for Love & Romance, Pink for Friendship, White for Purity …
Medicinally, Rose is most often associated with skin care. It is astringent, which means it tightens the pores. It also has other chemical compounds which prevent the elastins in the skin from degrading, strengthen the capillaries (tiny blood vessels right under the top layer of skin), and help with hydration. This is probably one of the reasons Rose is associated with anti-aging.
Because of its aromatic properties, it is used frequently to calm tension headaches and in some treatments for depression. It has been used for centuries in preparations for sore throats, stomachaches, and toothaches. (Maud Grieve devotes 11½ pages to Rose in her “A Modern Herbal” – more than any other herb in the two-volume set.)
Rose essential oil is the most expensive essential oil on the planet. Depending on the market, one ounce of good Rose essential oil will set you back around US$200. There’s a reason. The volatile oil component of the flower is so delicate that it takes around 60,000 roses (about 180 pounds) to make that ounce. To take that stat a step further, how about 30 roses for one drop!
So, most of us paupers content ourselves with using Rose Hydrosol. A hydrosol is what is more commonly known as “flower water”. It is a byproduct of the distilling process that produces the essential oil and while Rose isn’t cheap compared to some, is considerably less expensive than the essential oil. It makes a great ingredient in your homemade lotions or creams, or you can use it directly on your skin as a facial toner after cleansing.
Magically, Rose has plenty of applications. I know everyone knows it can be used in spells to attract love. However, it’s also a good addition to your healing and protection spells (think of the thorns). If there’s been an argument in your house, sprinkle rose petals around to calm all the agitated energy that’s built up.
“That which we call a Rose/ By any other word would smell as sweet.” Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, Act II, Scene 2.
And now for the commercials (as Pat Sajak says on Wheel of Fortune, “we’ve gotta pay for all this”):
I’d like to thank Tammi Rager for having me on her radio show Living in the Now Age last night. It was a blast! We talked about all sorts of herbs and herbal applications. I just looked and they don’t yet have the show posted in the archives but if you missed it, check back in a couple of days – it should be there.
And, if you’re going to be anywhere near Nashville, TN this weekend, join me in booth #82 at the Galactic Expo. Yes, Nashville has been devastated by floods but the fairgrounds are just fine. I assume Katherine will have a collection box at the door to help the flood victims, as well.
And now I think I’ll go pour another cup of coffee just to look out the kitchen window at the Rose.