Herb of the Month: Rose – Medicinal Benefits Beyond Aphrodisiac

This season, every street you walk on in Amsterdam, you pass fragrant roses. On my walk to work, I feel lucky that many neighbor’s rose bushes are at face-height. I literally stop to smell them often this season!

Rose is one of those plants deeply associated in our cultural psyche to be associated with soothing, cooling and, of course, romance. (And, yes! It is an aphrodisiac!) But I’ll leave it to the poets to help you imagine. Let’s have a look at what it can help with from the health perspective.

Rose Medicinal Benefits

Indications of Rose:

  • Rose is a rasayana, a rejuvenative. It is particularly useful in symptoms related to excess pitta-type concentration: cooling the eyes and improving eyesight strain that contributes to vision changes, and settling down all types of inflammatory conditions.

Specialty areas of action

  • Nervous system & brain: Rose clearly supports with its Medhya (nervine & brain tonic) action, and therefore helps with headaches, stress, memory, insomnia, eyesight and emotional tension from anger to anxiety to depression.
  • Gastro-intestinal tract: Anytime there is inflammation, especially in the gut, think of rose: ulcers, gastritis, diarrhea from prolonged irritation in the gut. It can help with nausea and constipation. It also does ama pachana, or reducing of accumulated undigested food, and therefore settles intestinal spasms and pain and helps with fever
  • Skin: inflammation-driven rashes, pitta acne. Improves complexion, tone & reduces effects of aging
    Women’s reproduction: easing cramps and heavy flow or congestion. Helps in irregular periods and menopause, cyclical headaches or irritability. Reduces hot flashes
  • Rejuvenative for whole body, so boosts immunity, but especially Shukra dhatu: enhances fertility, aphrodisiac
  • Lungs, sinuses and ENT: colds & coughs, sore throats, bronchitis

What you need to know about YOURSELF to use this herb Ayurvedically

  • Your constitution
  • Your vikruti – current state of Vata, Pitta, Kapha
  • Which of the 20 qualities are out of balance
  • You don’t have any contraindications: caution in kidney diseases, during pregnancy & breastfeeding. Be certain your source is spray-free. If you are anemic, use caution because rose may reduce iron absorption.

What you need to know about Rose to use it Ayurvedically:

  • Qualities: dry, light
  • Taste: bitter, sweet, astringent
  • Virya: cooling effect on metabolism
  • Vipak: “sweet” effect on the body’s tissues after the herb is digested
  • Dosha: balances all doshas: VPK
  • Dhatu: rasa, rakta, shukra
  • Channels: female reproduction, circulatory, nerve, respiratory

How to take Rose

Aside from rose leaves & flowers, rosehips are also used medicinally. Organic rosewater can be used externally as facial tonic or cleanse for mild wounds, and internal from 5-50ml daily. You can also make rose hip syrup, or decoction from the seed pods

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