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  • Writer's pictureCynthia Killingbeck CH, CN, FEP

The Humble Rose

Updated: Feb 6

On the first day of herb school we all ate a rose bud. Honestly, I was a little shocked at the time. But then we were instructed to use our senses, intuition, and listen to our bodies while we tasted the aromatic, astringent, and dry rose bud. I’ll never forget such an immersive experience into how to taste and take in herbs into our bodies to learn and allow the herb to teach us through our senses and the resonances within the body. It was our first lesson in the organoleptic [involving the senses] process. It is the foundation of how we connect and learn from all the herbs and what they have to tell each of us. It is the foundation of finding your own relationship with herbs and how you find your herbal allies. Each one of us is different and we have different experiences with the herbs. Regardless of the historical use of something, many herbalists find something new to incorporate or do differently. I can tell you my relationship with, say, Prickly Ash is not the same as another’s; I find it way too pushy and diffusive. One drop of tincture had me saying, ‘nope, never, not for me,’ but it’s a pretty powerful circulatory stimulant and a very useful medicine for some. The plant kingdom is wide and varied there is always something else you can use that may speak to you much more deeply and specifically. If Rose isn’t your thing there are many options to choose from depending what you need.

Latin Name: Rosa spp., Rosa damascena, Rosa canina etc.

Common Name: The Red Rose, Pink Rose, Wild Rose, Persian Rose, etc.


The Humble Rose. ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’ Shakespeare. The rose you think you know is so much more and then some. My wild roses bloom in late May. and are so sweet and delicate. All of the pictures above are from my garden, the two on the right are wild roses native to Colorado a flower and a hip. The one on the left is a climbing rose from my back yard and isn’t flowering yet. I think the rose is my favorite flower. I don’t care if that makes my pick slightly common, I can’t help loving the smell, the sight, and the addition to my formulas for beauty, emotional, and medicinal support.


The Vitalist Energetics of the Rose are: Cool and moist (used fresh) cool and dry (used dried), relaxant, and a vital stimulant. According to Master Herbalist Mathew Becker, Rose is specific for the energetic heart, and it provides emotional wisdom particularly for feminine energy. It is healing to the wounded heart and emotionally wounded states, it brings strength in vulnerability and is warm and loving for our inner feelings of shame and in situations where there has been an abuse of power.  Combine with rosemary in an infusion for grief. Rose lifts the darkness and brings in the sun.

If rose just isn’t for you then an analogue for rose would be the beautiful hawthorn as it is also specific to healing the heart physically, spiritually, and emotionally. It brings unconditional love when you feel wounded and hurt, it has a light psychoactive astral affect for hurts involving love. Best as an infusion of the leaf and flower, the berry is more physically nutritive, a cardio tonic, and trophorestorative for the physical heart. (Trophorestorative means it restores function through nutrition and gradual restoration; it nurses a tissue, organ, or system back to health.)

Clinical actions for Rose: cardio-tonic, nervine tonic, intestinal tonic, astringent, aromatic, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, uterine tonic, liver decongestant, stomachic, cholagogue, antidepressant, styptic, vulnerary, antiseptic (topical), Tonic for mucus membrane conditions.

The Rose Hip: antioxidant (supports normalizing when microvascular permeability and fragility is increased), Vitamin C, mild stomachic, laxative, diuretic.

Rose Essential Oil: Aromatic, Antimicrobial


‘Red roses are tonic and mildly astringent. They have been used in passive hemorrhages, and excessive mucous discharges. They have also been found to beneficial in bowel complaints, and are more commonly used in ophthalmic diseases as a poultice…and infusion collyrium [eye wash] in acute ophthalmia.’

King's Dispensatory Vol 2 published in 1905 referencing Rosa gallica


Primary uses for Rose:

Rose Hip: Vitamin C, antioxidant, vein wall integrity, beneficial for feverish states, impaired digestion, minor constipation, diuretic (infusion).

Rose Flower: Externally as a gargle, mouthwash, paint for inflammations and antiseptic for the mouth, eye wash. Long infusion for vaginal infections or simple discharges. Benefits the skin as an ointment, sun oil, wash etc. Moisturizes the skin, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic.

Internally it is tonifying to the reproductive organs, vitalizing to the blood, hemostatic for bleeding, anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, liver tonic detoxicant relieving heat and irritability, anti-inflammatory and astringent/tonic to gastrointestinal tissues, anti-diarrheal, and acute bronchitis, helps in formulas with hemorrhoids, and other vein compromised conditions.

Flower Essence Wild Rose: From apathy to motivated

‘Positive qualities: Will to live, joy and commitment to life despite trials or pain.’ Brings back vitality.

‘Patterns of imbalance: Resignation or apathy, one has an inability to embrace life, from pain or suffering that paralyzes the body and soul, or a lingering illness which does not resolve itself. So apathetic they don’t know they are apathetic.’ (Not trauma based).


From Edward Bach ‘Those who without apparently sufficient reason become resigned to all that happens, and just glide through life, take it as it is without any effort to improve things and find some joy. They have surrendered to the struggle of life without complaint.’


Flower Essence Rose: ‘It's supportive for the healing of grief, heartbreak, nervousness, feelings of panic, sadness, emotional trauma, apathy, disconnection and daily stress. It energetically strengthens us, supports emotional equilibrium, helping us to feel safe and contained.’

Flower Essence Rose: ‘One of the best flowers for healing the heart, Rose cools the temper and triggers forgiveness, healing emotional wounds and scars. Rose magnifies unconditional love, promotes a gentle strength and inspires us to nurture and care for ourselves and others. As you soften your heart and offer compassion to yourself, it will naturally be returned to you’.

I am a certified Nutritionist and Clinical Herbalist please email me if you're interested in scheduling a consultant session, full or Flower Essence only. Due to COVID-19 I do remote sessions via phone, FaceTime, or Skype. or Reference code: Roseblossom2020 in your email and receive 30% off your first consultation visit!

Resources Cited: Herbal Vade Mecum Pg. 321-322, Energetics of Western Herbs Vol 1 Pg. 332-334, Herbal Actions Database Pg. 97, Personal class notes, Materia Medica Intensive Paul Bergner Disk 6-7 Nervines Mathew Becker, Fundamentals of Medical Herbalism Notes 2014 Bach Flower Essences Pg. 5

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