Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012 Herb of the Year - Rose

2012 Herb of the Year – Rose
Betty Pillsbury

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
Abraham Lincoln

Rose 'Alchymyst' growing in my garden

Think for a moment of standing in the garden on a warm June day. The sky is a stunning blue, the sun is warming your back, bees drone lazily in the background and roses are blooming with wild abandon. You approach the rose bush, first taken in by the beauty of the flowers. Just standing next to a rose, you catch the delightful aroma of its gorgeous blossoms. Leaning in to take full advantage of this olfactory delight, you inhale deeply. Immediately, a sense of peace and comfort envelops you. That is the magic and medicine of rose.

Roses are necessary in a garden for no other reasons than their beauty and that emotional response of comfort. There is healing in the witness of beauty. It’s a balm to the psyche. The momentary pleasure of the sight and scent of roses really isn’t momentary. If you allow, you can recall that moment in the sun later when you need a sense of calm. “God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December”. – J.M. Barrie

In herbal medicine, roses are considered to be cool and dry by some and slightly warm and moist by others. Sounds confusing, doesn’t it? Roses have a gentle, but powerful action. I find roses to be physically slightly cooling while simultaneously warming the “cockles of the heart”. Rose petal infusion makes a lovely, soothing anti-inflammatory for irritated skin.

My embroidery for an herbal thesis quilt.

Roses are most definitely antidepressant. Recall inhaling a fragrant rose and the sensation of calm and contentment that envelops you. The effect is also achieved by ingesting tea, tincture, acetum or glycerite of roses. Or, perhaps by enjoying rose petal jelly on your morning toast. Rose petal honey is lovely, as are candied rose petals. The uplifting sensation is welcome to me especially in the winter when fresh roses in the garden are a memory of last season.

My granddaughter, Salena, helping me harvest rose petals in my garden.

“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.”

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