Roses- Herbs for Beginners

Roses captivate us with their sweet smell when they're in bloom. Their fragrance is calming, grounding, and helps us remember the beautiful things in life. 


Wild roses have 5 petals in a cup like shape. The petals themselves are the shape of hearts- a clue that they are good for the heart- both physical and emotional. The leaves are oval shaped and serrated (zig zag edge around the leaf). Their leaves are compound (form in groups of leaves), and have 3 to 9 leaflets. Their thorns tell us that they are protective, they are protecting something special. In plants, thorns protect very special gifts. Roses need bees for pollination, and for the fruit and seeds to form. 

People have bred roses for their beauty, fragrance, and fruit for thousands of years, all over the world. Cultivated roses often have more than 5 petals. Sometimes roses are bred to not have thorns or rose hips. People who grow roses are called "rosarians." The most fragrant roses are the most medicinal, but all roses are useful and want to be of use. To enjoy the benefits of roses, keep it simple, sometimes just being around roses is medicine enough. Bring in a rose from the garden or buy one at the store and enjoy its beauty and fragrance. Or you might want to try them in food, or in skin care. Usually, store bought roses have been sprayed with chemicals that you don't want to eat or put on your skin, although they are beautiful and bring a feeling of love to any room.

The Rose Family- It's a big family!

The Rosacea plant family (rose family) has hundreds of plants, shrubs, vines, and trees! Fruit trees known as "stone fruit" are part of the rose family. Peaches, apricots, almonds, plums, and cherries, are stone fruits that are part of the rose family. Even apples, quince, and pears are part of the rose family. Raspberries, blackberries, hawthorn berries, and strawberries are also part of the rose family. 

Five is a theme for the rose family. The flowers have 5 petals. They have 5 sepals (leaves that cover the flower bud). In the middle of the flowers, there are stamens with pollen. The stamens come in multiples of 5. If you look at the bottom of some of the rose family fruits- like hawthorn and service berries, they have a 5-pointed star on them. Apples and pears have a 5-pointed star in the middle of them if you cut them in half.  Later on I'll explain the significance of 5. 

The American poet, Robert Frost wrote the following about roses:

“The rose is a rose and was always a rose.

But the theory now goes that the apple’s a rose,

and the pear is, and so’s the plum, I suppose.

The dear [Lord] only knows what will next prove a rose.

You, of course, are a rose –

but were always a rose.”

The rose family is cooling and helps tighten, tone, and strengthen tissue. The rose family also soothes and protects, decreasing inflammation. This means they help with swelling and conditions where there is too much bogginess- like a sore throat, diarrhea, or a swollen insect bite. A washcloth dipped in strong rose tea may help cool and calm a fever. Like family members that share certain characteristics, but have unique traits, each member of the rose family has different strengths- but they are similar too. Peaches may be more hydrating than apples, but they both have Vitamin C and many nutrients, and they're both cooling. Hawthorn is famously great for the heart. 

Members of the rose family all have edible flowers, fruit, leaves, and roots. You may have heard of raspberry leaf tea, but did you know you could also make a rose leaf, peach leaf, or blackberry leaf tea? In some plants, like blackberries, the roots are the strongest medicine of the plant. If you were treating severe diarrhea, blackberry root is a stronger astringent medicine than the leaf. 

Rose Petals

Rose petals are delightful, either as something to nibble on while out on a walk, or as an additive to food, a tea, a bath, or some oil for skin.  

Rose petals make colorful and edible decorations to top a cake, donuts or cookies. Just make sure no pesticides have been used on them. 

You could make a rose petal honey or a rose petal oil. The process is nearly the same. Fill a jar with fresh rose petals, then cover it with honey. If you're making a rose infused oil, the oil will keep longer if the roses petals are dried. Pour the oil over the dried petals in a jar- either sunflower oil, sweet almond oil, or extra virgin olive oil work great. Heat gently in a double boiler, or a pot with water in it. Put a mason jar lid under the jar of rose petals to keep it from getting too hot- you want it under 120 degrees. Then strain the rose petals. If it's rose petal honey, some people leave in the rose petals and eat them with the honey.  

Oil infused with dried rose petals makes a soothing, hydrating addition to lip balm, lotion, or a salve. 

Dried rose petals are also great in baths- as part of a bath bomb, or put them in a mesh strainer or sock and let them sit in the water. 

Rose Hips

After the petals have fallen from the rose, the plant will send all of the nutrients to the base of the flower where the rose petals were attached. The base of the flower will swell and become the fruit that carries the seeds. Plants give their best energy to the seeds, their posterity. This is similar to how fruits are formed for peaches and apples. In roses, the fruit is called a rose hip. A rose hip starts out green, then turns light orange, then a deep reddish orange in the fall. It looks like it has a little 5 pointed crown on it. After the first frost, rose hips are sweeter and have more Vitamin C. Rose hips provide important nutrients and vitamins for birds, squirrels, and deer in the winter months when there isn't much for them to eat. Decorative apple and pear trees also provide little fruits for birds to eat in the winter. Rose hips have little hairs in them around the seeds, they can be irritating. If you're making a tea, make sure to strain it to avoid the irritating hairs. 

In World War II, there wasn't a lot of fresh fruit to eat. War disrupted the shipments of food. The British government encouraged people to gather local rose hips and make rose hip Vitamin C syrup to help them stay healthy. People made so much rose hip syrup that they had enough to share with other countries, like Poland. Rose hip syrup is made by simmering rose hips with a little liquid (apple juice or water) adding a sweetener, then straining it. 

When you see wild roses, notice what is around them- sometimes what grows together can give you clues of what herbs would work really well together. There are so many plant combinations to try, noticing what plants grow together naturally is one way to figure out what plants may go together well. The fancy name for this is "landscape herb formulation."  That is how we came across the idea of adding roses to the elderberry syrup we make. The roses and elderberries in our yard were growing together like they were old friends with intertwined stories that went back generations. When I looked online, the best recipes for elderberry syrup had rose hips in them. The roses were trying to tell me that we should try them with the elderberries. So we did, and it really improved the syrup we were making! Rose hips are a great addition to syrups and jams, they add Vitamin C, and lots of antioxidants. They help us deal with stress and inflammation. They also add a natural thickener or pectin.  

The Frequency or Energy of Roses

Living things, and even things that aren't living carry an electrical charge, like electrical energy. This energy extends beyond our physical body, it is an invisible field of energy that surrounds us. Another word for this energy is frequency or vibration. You can measure the electrical energy or frequency of different things. Cotton clothing has a higher frequency than polyester clothing. Pay attention to the energy you feel from different people and different places. When things are high frequency- it leads to good feelings of love, peace, happiness and light. Low frequency is the opposite- it is associated with dark, selfish, controlling, devilish tendencies. We want things around us that are high frequency, or high vibrations. We are affected by the energy of what is around us.

Roses have the highest frequency of any flower. They can brighten the feeling and energy in a room or garden just by being present. Roses communicate love, and are healing for the heart, helping people feel happiness and joy. 

Rose Essential Oil

Rose essential oil is among the most expensive of essential oils. Rose essential oil has the highest vibrational frequency of any flower - 320 megahertz of vibrational energy. The next highest flower is lavender which vibrates at a rate of 118 megahertz, less than half that of rose. Higher vibrations are associated with the feelings of happiness, joy, and peace.

Making rose essential oil requires distillation equipment that can evaporate the water and oil in roses, collect the steam, and then separate the tiny amount of essential oil from the water. This is usually done in a factory. It takes 50 blossoms to make one drop of rose essential oil. I sometimes add rose essential oil to salves that have roses in them, and 2 or 3 drops is enough for several containers. A little goes a long way.

Spiritual Meaning

Roses have 5 petals and stamens in groups of 5- and 5 is a special number. In Hebrew, each number has a meaning- this is called gematria. Five has to do with the works of God, or the goodness and grace of God. When you see the 5 petals on a rose, you can remember that 5 means the works of God. Stars also have 5 tips. Look at your hands and their 5 fingers -  you also represent a work of God. When you stand with your arms and legs stretched apart, you make a star with 5 tips. Like the rose, you are a work of God. 

Roses are said to represent the love and workings of God.  They begin as a small bud and open layer after layer, just as the works of God have many layers of meanings and open to blossom beautifully in the Lord's perfect timing. 

Roses also have protective thorns. Thorns are the protective packaging for some very special plant gifts. This is true with most thorny, prickly plants.  It made me think about our thorns or trials. Tough experiences are like thorns, they are bitter and you wish you could avoid them. But with the thorn or bitter experience, a precious gift is hidden, a nugget of truth or light. Sometimes we can't see the gift in the trial for a little while, but if we are looking for it, eventually the Lord will point it out. 

Our difficult experiences help us value the beautiful gifts and lessons in life, which we might not have valued without them.  For example, learning to cherish time with those we love often comes after heart break. The truth I keep coming back to after difficult experiences is that God loves and takes care of his children - you and me. He wants us to turn to Him. He is a wonderful Father.

The thorns on roses also remind us of the crown of thorns that was put on Jesus' head before his crucifixion. If thorns ever were a sign of a precious gift, they surely signaled the most loving gift ever given: Jesus' life. 

Roses' thorns, velvet petals

Tell of a King's crown of thorns,

Jesus heart for us torn.

Like the rose buds,

His fragrant covenant unfurls

Love and hope giving.

When I smell roses, it reminds me of the beauty of life and  God's creations. It also reminds me that thorns are part of life too, as well as waiting patiently for the rose to blossom at the right time. 

Next time you smell a fragrant rose, or enjoy the fruit of the rose family, I hope their gifts brighten your heart and make you smile. 


Herbal Remedies Advice- Rose benefits

Patterns of the Rose Family

Video References

Roses with Damiana Calvario + Recipe for Horchata: A Refreshing Rose Drink

Rose Hips Benefits + How to Make Rose Hip Tea for the Most Benefits

Wild Rose Medicine


  1. Thank you Leslie for all the research, thought and inspiration you have put into this wonderful article. You are a Rose 🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹.

  2. This is so interesting, Leslie! You are such a wealth of wisdom and knowledge! 🌹


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