Rose Monograph

This is a working monograph, meaning it is not complete and will continue to have information added. Please share any of your thoughts, experiences or wisdom around Rose in the comments!

Rose (Rosa spp.)

Rosa rugosa, Rosa centifolia 

Rosa canina “Dog Rose:” found in the wild, more delicate stems, sharp thorns, sweet-scented white or pink flowers

Note: Wild Rose spp. all have similar healing properties. Cultivated garden varieties have lost some properties due to hybridization

  • Family: Rosaceae 
  • Parts used: 
    • Flower
    • Hips
  • Taste: 
    • Slightly Bitter
    • Astringent
  • Affinities: 
    • Nervous System: Nerves
    • Cardiovascular System: Nerves, Blood Vessels
      • Strengthens the Heart physically, emotionally and spiritually
      • Tonifies the blood vessels
    • Female Reproductive System:
      • During damp relaxed tissue state due to drying energetics and astringent action
  • Actions: 
    • Astringent
    • Gentle Nervine
    • Cardio Tonic
    • Anti-depressant
    • Aphrodisiac
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Antioxidant
    • Anti-viral
    • Aphrodisiac
    • Digestive
    • Antiseptic (hips)
    • Vulnerary (wound healing)
    • Antibacterial
  • Energetics: 
    • Cooling
    • Drying
    • Aromatic
  • Specific Indications:
      • Nervousness, Anxiety, Worrying, Mental/Psychological Excess, Overworked nervous system, Overthinking
        • Moves perceptual faculties from the head to the Heart activating parasympathetic nervous system
        • Relaxing without feeling tired due to the shift in nervous system, no longer expelling energy on worry, overthinking, etc.
        • Mindfulness Cognitive Therapy (aromatherapy) (Your Brain on Plants)
          • Increase measures of parasympathetic activity
          • Reduce anxiety during labor
          • PTSD
          • PMS depression
          • Clinical depression
          • ADHD
      • Trauma, Emotional Healing, Grief, Depression
        • Move through and turn into teachings leading to transformation
  • Transform perceived weakness into strengths
        • Develop compassion, understanding, vulnerability
        • Set healthy boundaries
        • Postpartum depression + anxiety (aromatherapy) (Your Brain on Plants)
      • Colds
        • Prepared as a tea (+ honey) dries mucus, relieves runny nose, bring down fever (due to cooling energetics)
        • Hips support immune system due to Vitamin C
      • Asthma and Bronchial Infections (The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies)
        • Hips and Petals (tea)
        • Fever reducer
        • Remove bronchial spasms of coughs and asthma
        • Congestion
      • Inflammation in Digestive Tract⁴
        • IBS, infection, leaky gut (cooling and astringent properties)
      • Female Reproductive System⁴ (dispersive and aromatic properties)
        • Pain, cramping, heavy periods from uterine congestion
        • Irregular menses from blood stagnation
        • Supports mood swings related to PMS
        • Menstrual cramps (tinctured)
      • Arthritis pain relief (aromatherapy) (Your Brain on Plants)
      • Dosha(s):
        • Pitta/excess Pitta
        • Vata imbalance
  • TCM:
      • Rose Hips for Liver Qi Stagnation
        • Stiff neck, hips that are worse in the Spring
        • Dispersing quality, moves Liver Qi to help resolve emotional frustration, physical stiffness and pain
        • Relaxes the mind in the face of impatience and life’s pressure
        • Free the body from stagnation that keeps us tight
  • Primary Clinical Patterns:
    • Stagnation in the Female Reproductive System (blood and energetically)
    • Overactive Nervous System/Chronic Sympathetic Mode
  • Physiological Side Effects:
  • Herb-Drug Interactions:
  • Constitutional/Energetic Aggravations:
    • Drying and Cooling properties can lead to excess dryness and/or cold states when used over long periods of time
    • Energetically can leave the heart too open if  ‘overuse
    • Use caution in cases of iron deficiency and with use of pharmaceuticals containing alkaloids due to the potential for tannin presence to reduce absorption levels of iron and alkaloids

  • Key Constituents, Solubility  & Association with 5 Keys (Tastes, Affinities, Actions, Energetics & Psychological/Emotional/Spiritual/Esoteric Specific Indications):
    • Essential Oils: Aromatherapy
      • calming and uplifting terpenes:
        • Citronellol
        • Geraniol
        • Linalool
        • Nerol
    • Hips:
      • Flavonoids
      • Polyphenols
  • Mechanisms of Action:
  • Preparations & Dosage:
  • Tea (Infusion or Decoction)
  • Amount of Herb:
  • Amount of Water:
  • Instructions/Dosage:
  • Tincture (fresh or dried)
  • Strength ratio (g:mL):
  • Percentage alcohol/glycerin: 
  • Dose/Frequency:
  • Aromatherapy:
      • Mindfulness Cognitive Therapy with Rose Otto EO
        • Concentrate on sensations– sounds, colors, shapes– when the mind wanders bring it back to the breath and to the sensations again and again
          • Concentrating on the here and now to slow continuous circular thoughts


  • Formulation Strategies (pairs/triplets, include: percentage ratio, unique strategies):
    • Rose and Motherwort
      • Vata imbalance
    • Rose and Rosemary
      • Energetically for protection, specifically with matters of the Heart
    • Rose Hips + Elderberry
      • Cold tonic
  • Esoteric Significance:
  • Planet: Venus
  • Element:
  • Philosophical Principle: 
  • Chakra(s): Heart, Sacral
  • Lore/Historical Use:
      • Gods/Goddesses: Aphrodite, Bacchus, Dionysus, Oshun
      • Represents sensuality, love, secrecy
      • Believed to get its red color from Aphrodite cutting her foot on a thorn
      • Cleopatra used Rose to seduce Mark Antony
      • Hung by the ceiling in confidential meetings and placed by the confessional in roman catholic churches
      • Represents all aspects of the Goddess: to love and nurture, see beauty in all things
      • Emeralds
        • Dress emeralds in Rose oil
      • Seven of Cups card
      • Joy
      • Hand-fasting, rituals of union
      • White for Autumn Equinox, Yellow for Eostara, Red for Midsummer, any color for Beltane
      • Make or mend alliances
      • British Herbalist John Gerard: “The distilled water is good for strengthening the Heart, and refreshing the spirits, and likewise for all things that require a gentle cooling.” (Your Brain on Plants)
  • Doctrine of Signatures:
    • Thorns protecting the beautiful and delicate flower > protecting the Heart, vulnerability with healthy boundaries
      • Supports in opening the heart to share beauty and love with the world without fear, by setting healthy and strong boundaries
      • Rose says “if you want to experience the beauty my flowers have to share, you must respect my thorns”
      • “…reminds us that blooming into our most radiant selves requires protection as a baseline.”
      • “…restoring vitality and joy. Rose medicine is needed now, in our revolutionary work of loving the self. It calms the fire of an overused heart, allowing us to hold energy for ourselves and, from there, extend to loving others.”  (The Art and Practice of Spiritual Herbalism, Karen M. Rose)
      • Beauty, Joy, Resilience, Restoring Vitality
  • Growing: 
  • Harvesting: 
    • Identification: (The o
      • Wild Rose spp. have 5 petals (unlike garden roses) and many stamen
      • Pink or white flowers
      • Compound leaves, alternate, 5-9 toothed leaflets
      • Thorns are wide at the base
      • Hips: pear shaped, orange or red
    • Growth habitat:
      • Open, dry or moist locations
      • Woodlands
      • Low to middle elevations
      • May form dense thickets
    • Harvest hips in the late Fall/early Winter
      • Avoid mushy or spotted ones


Personal Note 

After working with rose in various forms (my Divine Relaxation Tincture, Divine Tokes Herbal Smoke Blend, Creatrix’s Honey, Rose teas and elixirs) for a few weeks to a few months I noticed a subtle but strong change in my ability to live a more heart-centered life. It truly works on the emotional body in ways that someone who is not very in tune with their internal being may easily overlook (and supports you in being more in tune as it supports you to move from the heart).. I found that the “hard” times don’t seem as hard and I am more understanding. This is a reflection of the delicate flower, with the strong and guarding thorns. It has allowed me to remain open and vulnerable, to share my beauty with the world, knowing I am still protected. I continue to be drawn back to rose and want to continue to work with it in many more ways. It is truly a symbol of the strength in vulnerability.

Others’ Words

“through the way that they (Rose and Motherwort) penetrate into our hearts, not just on a physical level but also on a subtle emotional level, can help us to move through those traumas and help us to understand how those traumas can be our teachings and how they can become our transformation. Through this shifting in our orientation—of taking our trauma and turning it around and turning it into our strength, turning it into our gift, turning it into something that is our unique perspective and our unique orientation— we can then help someone else with similar trauma.” – Sajah Popham

“‘If you’re not really quite sure where to start with someone, start with the heart.’ You really can’t go wrong. We all have healing that we need to do in our hearts.” – Sajah Popham

“racism, discrimination, excess ego, feeling better than another, etc. all has to do with healing that needs to be done in the heart. In this way, Rose is a remedy for everyone. “…it shows that there is a lack of connection to their own heart, because there’s a lack of compassion. There’s a lack of understanding. There’s a lack of being able to see someone in their humanity.” – Sajah Popham


Rose/Hip Syrup, Jam, Petals in Salads



The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies

Evolutionary Herbalism: Blog: Herbs for the Emotional Heart

Tonic Herb Shop: Materia Medica: Rose Petal

Organic Olivia

Appendium of Herbal Magick, Paul Beyer

Your Brain on Plants, Nicolette Perry, PhD and Elaine Perry PhD, Note: specifically Apothecary’s Rose (Rosa centifolia) and Dog Rose (R. canina)

The Art and Practice of Spiritual Herbalism, Karen M. Rose

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