We admit that we are biased, influenced by our daily contact with this splendid flower, but our love affair with the rose here at A.S.APOTHECARY shows no signs of fading. And to celebrate this Queen of flowers in November is a case in point. The harvest this year was abundant and unusually long, with the extended summer and hot days stretching all the way into mid October, so we found ourselves still in the fields with our baskets until only a few weeks ago. Our harvest, an abundance of petals in all hues of red and pink, is now drying on racks in the barn, and will see us through until next season's picks, finding its way into many of our products. There are over 150 distinct species of rose now identified, and we grow six types on the organic farm in Plumpton. Amanda picked these varieties specifically for their therapeutic potency and beautiful fragrances.
The rose has an ancient ancestry, with fossil records as evidence of its existence on earth for at least 35 million years! Small wonder the form and fragrance of this archetypal flower has sunk so deeply and with such resonance into the human psyche, finding a place in literature, poetry, religion and myth since records began.
Cleopatra was so intent on being associated with the scent of rose, considered a love flower and aphrodisiac by the Romans, that she stuffed her rooms, her baths, her bed with petals so that Marc Antony would be reminded of her every time he inhaled a rose’s fragrance. Myth has it that her obsession with the rose took on such dramatic proportions, and with the wealth to satisfy it, that she had her ship’s sails soaked in rose water before travelling so the scent followed wherever she went.
By contrast, in the13th century the rose had become a symbol of the Virgin Mary, of sacred love and sacrifice, hence the appearance of the rosary, a string of prayer beads as a garland of roses, and Gothic churches incorporated carved or graphic roses into their architecture and windows. The medieval rose traversed the religious/secular line again and once more held its identity as the symbol of ideal romantic love and beauty. By the 1600s roses were considered so valuable they were often used as payment.
The floral physician
Whether used in oil, water, syrup, tincture or dried form, roses are blessed with a plethora of therapeutic and medicinal properties and have been used by herbalists, and naturopaths for centuries. Rose is often used by therapists to heal and expand the heart energy. Its delicate aromatics work directly on the Anahata (heart) chakra and help to shift and open a heart that has tightened emotionally and spiritually. It is especially effective during heart break and grief. In Ayurvedic medicine, rose is used internally as a blood tonic and heart nourisher. Below I’ve included a delicious rose lassi recipe as a way to ingest rose.
For the body
Rose petals are full of antioxidants, vitamins, essential fatty acids, and minerals and the rosehips are a rich source of vitamins C, B2 and E. In fact, during WWII in Britain, a syrup was made from rose hip oil that was distributed to children to help prevent malnourishment and associated illnesses. Rose can reduce inflammation and be used as a stimulant and tonic for the digestive tract and kidneys. It also boasts antispasmodic, antiseptic, antiviral, aphrodisiac and sedative qualities. It is great for women and can help regulate hormones and menstruation. To draw on this, Amanda has designed a new Every Woman Rose Tea which will soon be available in the shop, it contains a special blend of medicinal flowers and herbs to calm the emotions and balance the hormones, particularly during peri-menopause and menopause.
For the skin
The natural sugars contained in rose petals soothe and soften the epidermis while other botanical therapeutics reduce redness and protect the skin from trans-epidermal water loss and airborne pollutants. Astringent and antibacterial properties make roses great for cleansing the skin but are also especially effective for people with oily and acne prone skin types. Rose extracts contain a high level of vitamin C and therefore help to stimulate collagen, which keeps the skin elastic and firm, while the vitamin E content furnishes rose oil and rose water with super moisturising properties. The wealth of anti-oxidants in rose compounds condition and brighten the skin and reduce damage done by free radicals.
Rose products for the face and hands
We pick and then distil fresh rose petals in the barn to make rose water and rose oil. These potent botanicals go into a range of products including A.S.APOTHECARY Face Creams #3 and #5, Sussex Rose Soothing Aromatic Water, Rose Facial Toner, Sussex Rose Hand Lotion and Sussex Rose Hand Wash. Aside from its softening, cleansing and nourishing properties we choose to grow and use roses with a strong scent profile because of the effect on the emotions ; the rose scent can, according to numerous studies, reduce anxiety and depression, enhance the mood and create pleasant dreams.
To benefit from the gentle therapeutics of rose internally, this lassi in a tasty way to get some rose into your system!
Traditional Indian Rose & Strawberry Lassi:
2.5 cups of high quality yoghurt
½ cup raw local honey
Portion of fresh or frozen strawberries
2 teaspoons of A.S.APOTHECARY Sussex Rose Aromatic Water
¾ cup filtered water
1 cup ice cubes
Rose petals to garnish
· Blend yoghurt, honey, rosewater and water in a blender for 2 minutes
· Add ice cubes and process for another 2 minutes
· Pour into tall, refrigerated glasses.
If you’d like to try our rose products, we have a sink and clean towels in our Lewes store, so please do pop in and test our delightfully scented hand wash and hand cream, or enjoy an uplifting spritz of rose water.