Roses and Longevity

Roses and Longevity

By Katrina Everhart

Roses given round the world indicate friendship, as well as love. Commonly used in perfumes, potpourri, sachets, and aerosols for their pleasant smell, roses look pretty, smell wonderful, and last longer than many flowers. Beyond their smell, roses have medicinal benefits. Used for the Persian emperor’s wedding in the 10th Century as decorations, roses were cast into the water for the smell. As the sun shone on the fountains over time, the water became more concentrated, and more fragrant. The empress noted the droplets of oil and began using the water and oil. In Egypt, Cleopatra used rose water in her facial masks, creams, and rose oil in ointments for cleansing and their anti-aging properties. Ancient Romans bathed in rose water as it both cleansed and toned the skin causing fewer irritations, and adding a slight perfumed smell to the body. During WW II, hips were gathered to make Vitamin C syrup in England because they contain 60% more Vitamin C than citrus fruit. This juice, sent to troops, helped them deal with vitamin deficiencies and avoid diseases such as Scurvy, living longer and staying stronger.

Copyright Marguerite Zietkiewicz 2001

Copyright Marguerite Zietkiewicz 2001

Roses possess health benefits when used in teas, poultices, body sprays, lemonades, tinctures, salves, creams, lotions, candies, ice cream, milk shakes, baklava, scones, cakes, buns, puddings, rice, curries, soda waters, and yogurt drinks such as Rose Petal Lassi. There is also Rose milk in Malaysia. Bandung is Rose Syrup mixed with cold milk and cream. Brands include Rooh-afza or Monin. Gulkand. Rose preserves made from rose petals and sugar is eaten with toast, in sandwiches, cookies, or as a topping for cakes and ice creams. It may also be eaten by itself.  Indian delicacies such as Gulab Jamun and Ladoos, and Pakistani biryani dishes use rose water to enhance the aromatic flavors as we eat with our noses just as much as our taste buds. In areas that were once known as Persia, a rose water is infused to make an iced tea and is drunk to soothe and calm the mind at tea time.

Rose petals contain vitamins A, B, D, & E as well as the beneficial acids – citric and malic, bioflavonoids, tannins, and fructose. Rose hips, the bulbous part after the flowers fall off, also contain Vitamin B1, B2, B3, C, E, P, K, calcium, iron, phosphorous, citric acid, tannin, zinc, and niacin. Health remedies or treatments for petals include thirst, gastro-intestinal problems, cough and congestion, diarrhea, bladder infections, runny nose, minor internal hemorrhage or swellings, and sore throats.

Rose Petal Teas, hot or cold, clean toxins from the body as well as heat whether due to hot flashes or low level fevers from mild inflammations. Rose Hips Teas are natural stimulants to help the bowels move, can help prevent kidney stones and help they thymus gland function. Rose oil in boiling water, just a few drops, inhaled can help ease the effects of asthma and congestion.  Rose teas, jellies from petals or waters, and pastes from petals, deal with low libido, fertility, menstrual and menopause issues, and of course stress.

Rose waters used in facials, astringents, creams, salves, and toners to increase blood flow, and balance sebum production as well as tightening pores. Because it balances the Ph of skin, it helps fight acne at any age. Rose water helps nourish the hair and scalp. It can help increase the blood flow, and prevent inflammations which cause mild forms of dandruff. Additionally, it can help deal with split ends, frizzy and dry hair, while keeping your hair in place like hair spray.

When combined with Cistus Hydrosol, rose water helps prevent wrinkles. Rose water, hydrosol, or rose glycerin, soothes the eyes and skin. Cooled, it reduces swelling and inflammation often due to minor injuries and/or allergies. Cooled Rose water or rose glycerin reduces puffiness around the eye in the morning. In water, glycerin, or creams, roses help dry skin, aging skin, and can be used as an anti-septic if kept sterile for minor cuts. Rose water tonics treat fatigue, nervous tension, heat-related issues from becoming overheated and/or dehydrated whether from over exertion or weather, as well as gout, rheumatic conditions, heart disease and peptic ulcers. Additionally, rose teas, tonics, sodas, and/or pastes in food help restore normal and essential bacteria to the intestines or gut to help with normal digestion and elimination.

Rose oil with a carrier oil such as almond, jojoba, olive, applied topically helps soothe sore muscles and muscles that can spasm, aka antispasmodic, due to overuse such as in running events. A small amount of oil on the stomach can help athletes who use their muscles a lot during an event such as running, climbing, or biking to reduce spasms, tremors, and soreness. Used in cream, rose oil helps deal with sunburn, insect bites, breast disorders, and mild forms of eczema.  Pastes from petals, mixed with salt, sugar, or a mud make face masks which rejuvenate the skin and help cellular turnover.

Externally, rose waters, teas, tonics, creams, and food applications play double duty solving issues and providing aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses alone include meditative and religious. As an aroma, roses in any form are considered an aphrodisiac as well as an anti-depressant, anger depressant, and a mild sedative. Roses help folks who are grieving and those who are suffering from PTSD. Anytime stress is relieved and depression issues lifted, folks live longer and better.

The smell helps relieve the tension as well as pain when used on a compress. Whether hot or cold, used on a cold cloth for swelling and hot cloth for inflammation, the compress can be placed directly on the skin. Oils can be expensive because it takes about 60,000 petals to product just 1 ounce of pure rose essential oil. Essential oil must often be cut with either another oil or carrier. It should not be ingested or put directly on the skin in its pure form.

Legend has it that a spoonful of Gulkand, a sweet preserve, every day is better than an apple a day. Rose preserves help memory and eyesight, purify the blood, and improve your mood. Gulkand can be made at home by layering rose petals with sugar and setting in the direct sun every day for at least three to 4 weeks, stirring every other day. Yet, it can be purchased commercially. Roses contain anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, thus making it perfect for disinfecting your home and workplace. Combined with Epsom salt in a spritzer or sprayer, the rose concoction can be sprayed on kitchen and bathroom counter tops.

Roses, whether used for their aroma, used topically to soothe skin, used internally to help deal with various issues, eaten in foods to enhance the aromatics, or used as home cleaners, roses help you live longer while improving your mood, relieving stress, and tension. Roses make a difference in our lives, while beautifying the roads, gardens, and homes. Cultivated for centuries, look beyond the thorns, roses have medicinal properties that help us live longer and better at the same time.

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