By: Jo Franks, MH

The International Herb Association has named Rose the herb of the year for 2012. Rose is one of the herbs on the School of Natural Healing’s 100 herb list.

Rose petals have long been used as an infusion, used for the cooling and astringent properties, in the relief of uterine and other hemorrhages, and as an application to ulcers affecting the mouth, ears, anus, etc. The fresh bruised petals were applied to inflammations of the eyes. Rose buds are said to be one of the safest and most widely used eyewashes, acting as a mild astringent, giving tone to the tissues and shrinking capillary inflammations and redness. The petals are mildly astringent and slightly laxative; they are considered a good nightly antidote to take for sluggish bowels.

Rose hips are a good source of vitamin C. They are said to have twenty five percent more vitamin C than an orange. They help to fight infection and have a diuretic effect. When gathering rose hips, it is best to wait until after the first frost. The vitamin C content rises considerably after that first nip. Refrigerate them unless you plan to process them immediately.  If you wish to dry them, do so in a dehydrator below 135 degrees. Don’t let them dry too slowly or you will lose the C content, but don’t let them get hot or the “C will flee” away.

In the book Herb Syllabus by Dr. John R. Christopher, it tells us that the Rose is a symbol of love. The bridal rose is the symbol of wedded bliss. The cabbage rose is the ambassador of love, and a rose sent daily to a person communicates that you aspire to his/her smile. The damask rose communicates admiration for a beautiful complexion. A deep red rose lets someone know that you are embarrassed about something you did. A single rose communicates simple love. A thorn-less rose means that you began to love someone early in your relationship. A withered rose means that your love is decreasing or that you are jealous. White and red roses given together suggest that you wish to enhance unity. A rosebud when red means that you think someone is pure and lovely, while a white one communicates girlhood love and a moss-colored rosebud means that you are confessing your love.

Looking over that list, I hope none of you sent the wrong message with the roses you sent for Valentine’s Day.