Rose the Self-Love Herb
Sappho, the Ancient Greek poet and timeless queer icon, is said to have written the poem, “The Song of the Rose.” She writes, “The rose breathes love!” and ties the meaning of the rose tightly to experiences of love, writing of blushing meadows and glowing lovers. Roses have long been associated with love. Red roses are the symbol of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty who shares her name with the lusty term aphrodisiac. In one telling of her myth, she runs through a field of thorny white roses out of grief from losing Adonis, bleeding over them and staining them red. Roses are dramatic, bittersweet, and romantic AF flowers. It’s not just their beauty that invites the rose’s popularity. Their uses extend further than simple symbols.
Using rose as an herb
As herbalists know, roses aren’t only related to romantic love. Many species of rose are used traditionally as powerful medicines to heal the body and the mind– and healing is the ultimate act of self-love! The roses we’re using in herbal medicine aren’t your garden-variety rose hybrids that are known to be delicate and fussy. Medicinal roses are wild roses– hardy, thorny, pungent, and bursting with vigor. They can be consumed in any number of ways. This includes rose tinctures, teas, water infusions, and oils. They can be used both on and in the body, depending on the concentration and source.
This herb’s lengthy popularity throughout the ages may be due to its medicinal properties. When smelling the strong aroma of a rose, one feels uplifted and soothed. As we introduce these aromatic oils into our body, they affect the nervous system by relaxing it and releasing tension. Rose proves especially helpful to calm the emotions and release stagnant resentment or grief. (Maybe that’s why Aphrodite ran through that field!) Roses are anti-inflammatory for the digestive system, and they also help to reduce redness and inflammation of the skin, especially when applied topically. While they soothe agitation and emotions, they can also tone the tissues of the cardiovascular and reproductive systems as well. Rose tea contains high levels of antioxidants. Rosehips, the fruit of the rose plant, are a great source of vitamin C.
Self-love rituals with roses
Practice self-love by incorporating rose as an herb in your daily wellness routine. It could be running a bath with drops of fragrant oil, drinking a warm cup of rose petal or rosehip tea, or indulging in a tincture meant to calm and cool your system. Roses have many meanings and uses, so you’ll be able to engage with this herb in the way that most suits your own situation.