I sincerely hope you have all passed a wonderful Valentine’s Day! It may be a fake, a commercial invention, but over the years Valentine’s Day became a magic day for lovers.
There are numerous myths ranking around the “queen of flowers”. In Islam the rose is a holy symbol, Confucius appraised the rose gardens of Peking. An infinity of poems and songs praise this beautiful unique flower, the rose is always a symbol for beauty, for love, but also for death, for evanescence. The Romans already build rose gardens, the so-called “rosetum” or “rosarium”.
In ancient times, rose petals were mixed with oil (“enfleurage”) as well as with honey, wine and vinegar. Those liquids were used not only for taste, but also for beauty treatments and as remedies for inflamed nerves and eyes. The Germans started to grow roses in their monasterial gardens, from there they came to private gardens. Since 1700 Bulgaria is the largest producer of rose oil, in the beginning a form of the rosa damascena was used.
There are hundreds of varieties of roses. Even Ayurveda uses the petals of the provence rose – rosa centifolia – for medicinal purposes.There is a reason why the rose is connected to compassion and love – it helps to develop these qualities.The rose especially strengthens the heart chakra (the subdosha of pitta, sadhaka pitta, which can go out of balance in hot, humid weather). Pitta is the mind-body operater, which governs heat, digestion and metabolism. The RASA (taste) of the rose is sweet, bitter and pungent, has a cooling effect, yet enhances AGNI (the digestive fire) and thus balances all 3 Doshas, and has light, oily GUNA (property). Rose reduces Vata and Pitta and is since recently said to balance hormones.
Apart from strengthening mind and heart, roses have the following medicinal qualities: slightly laxative, sexual stimulation, reduces fever and inflammations, heals wounds and stops blood, mood and concentration enhancing.
Coming back to Ayurveda, rose is a fantastic rasayana (remedy) for all Doshas. For Pitta use it with some sugar, for Vata with ginger powder and pippali and for Kapha with honey.
Rose water is used for all kinds of purposes, not last in the kitchen. It also can serve for flushing inflamed eyes or cooling the skin. Rose fragrance cleans the atmosphere in a room and strengthens spirituality, calms the mind (through the subdosha of Vata – Prana Vata – that governs amongst others the brain)
Rose hip is a small fruit fully loaded with vitamins A, B1 + 2, C (a lot of it), K, P as well as iron, sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphor, zinc, bio flavonoids, antocyane, lycopin, pectin and fruit acids. Its content of vitamin C is 33x higher than in lemons. 100g of rose hip can contain 0,5-1,5g vitamin c, especially rich is the peel.
And rose in the kitchen? There is an infinity of ways to use rose petals (in salads) and rose water (in baking). Looking for a very essential thing, I have found this wonderful recipe for an ancient remedy (and spread) called “Gulkand” (Rose Petal Spread) and tried it right away. It has fantastic rejuvenating and antioxidant properties, calms the mind, cools your body during hot temperatures and and and…It can be eaten on a cracker or on whatever you like basically or just taken as a remedy on a teaspoon.
(Recipe from https://burgerbird.wordpress.com/)
The rose petals should still be soft, not dried, yet.
- 4 cups rose petals, rinsed gently in water and drained
- 2 Tablespoons organic sugar
- 2 Tablespoons raw organic honey
- 1 cardamom pod, crushed and contents ground in a morter and pestle
- drop of rose water (optional)
- dash cinnamon
Simply add all ingredients together and massage the petals gently with your hands. Transfer to a jar and allow to sit in the refrigerator overnight. If you want a jammier texture, increase the sugar to 1/2 cup and add 1/4 cup water and simmer for 30 minutes, then jar and refrigerate.
(Photo by Katharina E. Weyland)