Roses blossom from spring to fall, yet their heady scents are not as intoxicating and full-on-fragrant as in the summertime.
Rose is an herb
Yes, rose is medicine. The part used in Chinese medicine is the petal, called mei gui hua in pinyin and its function is to “invigorate blood.” It is used both as a single herb and as an addition to formulas to ease swelling, cramping-type pain, and some dermatological issues such as psoriasis and contact dermatitis.
Each individual herb in the Chinese materia medica is assigned certain properties that allow the herbalist to address particular issues. Rose (Rosea rugosae) flower, mei gui hua enters the San Jiao, Liver, and Gall Bladder meridians. Meridians pertain to physiological functions in the body. For example, the Liver meridian corresponds with reproductive issues such as menstruation, reproduction and external genitalia.
Herbs are also assigned tastes and temperatures that further inform us as to their effects on blood circulation, metabolism, and physiology. Rose (Rosea rugosae) flower, mei gui hua is slightly bitter, sweet, and warm. The sweet and slightly bitter taste indicate that it is restorative and strengthening to the digestive system (sweet) and also slightly dispersing (bitter) to assist in transporting toxins out of the system.
Because rose (Rosea rugosae) flower, mei gui hua is mild in nature and enters the Liver, it is especially useful for menstrual disorders such as cramping pain, irregular periods, and, although not a strong herb it amplifies and strengthens the effects of some gynecological formulas for more serious issues such as ovarian cysts and endometriosis.
Rose for cramping
It is fun to research the herbs and their uses from other traditions. I learned that rose petal was used in Persia for pain control as the oil contained within the petals help to alleviate the gnawing type of pain in intestinal cramping and menstrual cramps (Mohebitabar et al., 2017).
Rose for depression
Rose flower also shows promise as an adjunctive treatment for MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) according to a study of a group of patients diagnosed with MDD and taking SSRI’s. The mechanism is linked to post-synaptic receptors in the brain responsible for serotonin uptake (Mohebitabar, S. et al, 2017)
In Chinese medicine, rose (Rosea rugosae) flower, mei gui hua has long been recognized as a nervine and anxiolytic.
Because it is a flower, the Law of Correspondences tells us that the energetic of rose (Rosea rogusae) flower, mei gui hua is ascending, thus the energy goes up towards the head. It lightens in this way to relieve worry, anxiety, and overthinking. Combined with other blood invigorating herbs such as cyperus (Rhizoma cyperi), xiang fu and ligusticum (Rhizoma ligustici), chuan xiong enhance its use to disperse to relieve pain and congestion.
Example of a patented formula containing mei gui hua
Zhu Ru (Caulis Bambusae)
Ban Xia (Rhizoma pinelliae preparatum)
Chen Pi (Pericarpium citri reticulatae)
Fu Shen (Sclerotium poriae pararadicis)
Qing Pi (Pericarpium citri reticulatae viride)
Shi Chang Pu (Rhizoma acori tatarinowii)
Yuan Zhi (Radix polygalae)
Xiang Fu (Rhizoma cyperi)
He Huan Pi (Cortex albiziae)
Mei Gui Hua (Flos rosae rugosae)
Yu Jin (Radix curcumae)
This patent pill by Three Treasures® is formulated by the renowned herbalist Giovanni Maciocia. It is available to order. By the way, most of these genius herbalists are simply borrowing from the classic formulas and modifying them to fit with modern people/needs.
The combination of pinellia (Rhizoma pinelliae preparatum), ban xia and orange peel (Pericarpium citri reticulatae), chen pi helps to dissolve phlegm. Phlegm is a substance that is not only visible, as the type one coughs up, but also invisible. In the latter example, phlegm is the by-product of faulty circulation and/or digestion, and is linked to many cases of mental fogginess, odd lumps that come and go, as well as a stuffy sensation in the chest.
Phlegm is also associated with mental anxiety and in worser cases, Alzheimer and dementia. Acori (Rhizoma acori tatarinowii), shi chang pu, bamboo (Caulis bambusae), zhu ru, and turmeric (Radix curcumae) yu jin assist to “open the orifices” to allow for a stronger action of dispersing and transforming phlegm.
Young tangerine peel (Pericarpium citri reticulatae viride) qing pi and cyperus (Rhizome cyperi), xiang fu both enter the Liver and course the qi to ease the constraint in muscles and joints. Cyperus (Rhizoma cyperi), xiang fu is also helpful for digestive problems as it gently promotes peristalsis. Poria (Sclerotium poriae pararadicis), fu shen and albizzia (Cortex albiziae) peel, he huan pi are added to calm the mind; both have traditional usage for long-term cases of insomnia.
Johnson, F., Thomas, P., Curtis, S. (2016). Essential oils: All-natural remedies and recipes for your mind, body and home. United States: DK Publishing
Mohebitabar, S., Shirazi, M., Bioos, S., Rahimi, R., Malekshahi, F., & Nejatbakhsh, F. (2017). Therapeutic efficacy of rose oil: A comprehensive review of clinical evidence. Avicenna journal of phytomedicine, 7(3), 206–213.
Rose (mei gui hua).( n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.acupuncturetoday.com/herbcentral/rose.php
Yang, Y. (2010). Chinese herbal medicines: Comparisons and characteristics (second edition). Netherlands: Elsevier Limited.