The Queen of Flowers
Thousands of years ago, when poets and lovers were just beginning to flirt with the rose, ayurvedic healers were crushing, juicing, grinding, drying, and preserving it for herbal remedies, teas, and aromatic oils. Grounded in an ancient, oral tradition, these healers used the rose to cool a blazing pitta dosha—the mind-body force associated with fire, heat, anger, ambition, and stress. Although some people are prone to pitta imbalances all the time, most feel its effects in summer when this dosha is the strongest. In moderation, however, the rose is a tridoshic flower; it’s beneficial for everyone all year round.
A Healing Dessert
In India, parents feed their children delicious spoonfuls of rose petal conserve, because, according to ayurveda, it nourishes brain tissue and improves memory. It’s also a great source of water-soluble fiber, so it relieves constipation. Try a spoonful alone or on toast, with fruit, in milk or a yogurt-based lassi drink.
Recipe: put 4 ounces each of organic rose petals and granulated sugar in a blender and churn them. Place the mixture in a glass jar and leave out in the sunshine for 10 to 15 days.
Pamper your skin
Roses play a starring role in ayurvedic beauty care because they regulate the functioning of brajaka pitta, a sub-dosha that controls the biochemical processes in the skin. Among other things, roses reduce wrinkles, improve complexion, and slow the signs of aging. To reap these benefits, use natural, rose-based soaps, moisturizers, and lotions; add a few drops of rose essential oil to your massage oil; or make your own skin care products. Below is a facial mask you can try at home.
Soothe your burning eyes.
Soak two pads of cotton wool in organic rosewater at room temperature and then place them over your eyelids for 10 minutes.
De-stress in the bathtub.
Add some organic rosewater to your bath for a fragrant, rejuvenating experience. Afterward, spritz all over to refresh your skin and protect it from the elements.
Sweeten your mood.
Breathe in rosewater’s uplifting aroma.
Organic rosewater can be hard to find. To make your own, boil 6 cups of organic red rose petals in a quart of water for 15 minutes. Cool, strain into a glass bottle, and refrigerate.
Make a Rose and Saffron Facial Mask
Saffron’s warmth, combined with the cooling quality of rose petals, will coax all skin types into balance. Use twice a week.
1/2 cup organic red
1 tablespoon honey
a pinch of saffron
Crush the rose petals into a paste with a mortar and pestle and mix with the honey and saffron. Apply all over your face and neck for 10 minutes before your shower. Wash off with cool or lukewarm water.
Improve your meditation by applying a drop of rose essential oil to your forehead between the eyebrows before meditation.
Deepen your sleep by sprinkling a few drops of rose essential oil on your pillow.
Calm down by spritzing some rose essential oil on a clean handkerchief. Inhale when you are feeling anxious or upset.
9 (More) Reasons to Love the Healing Rose
The sweet, astringent qualities of this flower:
Soothe the digestive system
Balance the emotions
Cleanse the body of toxins
Soothe inflamed skin
Nourish all seven dhatus (body tissues)
Pacify heat in the blood
Balance the hormones
Promote deep, restful sleep
Warm your heart
Most rose products contain pesticides and toxins that can be absorbed internally or through the skin or eyes. It’s best to buy organic roses and make your own rosewater, rose conserve, and essential oil. But if you’re too busy, try these commercial products:
Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What It Is and What It Can Do for You and Radiant Body, Restful Mind.