A few weeks ago, I started noticing the white blossoms of Multiflora rose everywhere. Lining streets, standing alone in meadows, dipping down over lakes, in my dreams…EVERYWHERE. Multiflora is a scrappy, persistent invasive, so it’s not at all surprising for it to be so prolific.
Multiflora is definitely not the most popular rose to use for medicine. The eye-catching Rugosa, for one, outshines the tiny white petals of Multiflora with its deep pink flowers and intoxicating scent. And yet, although it isn’t as showy and popular as its wild sisters, Multiflora still has medicine to offer. Because they are so plentiful and easily accessible, I think it’s a great idea to work more with these roses.
Energetically, roses are cooling and astringent. They’re a good choice for hot, damp conditions and will help to tone and tighten lax tissues (this is what makes rosewater and rose creams such lovely skin potions). They are great at helping wounds heal, getting the blood moving, cooling inflammation (especially in the gut), fighting infection, and last but definitely not least, they are a relaxing nervine and tonic for both the physical and emotional heart.
That makes sense, doesn’t it? Think of how you feel when you see a rose. It’s really uplifting, and a little comforting, right? And the smell…how could that not cheer you up and make you feel little calmer? Just being around the flowers, harvesting them and making medicines with them has a healing value in itself.
After traipsing around my neighborhood one pretty evening last week to gather them, I spread my big bag of rose flowers, leaves and stems out on my table and got a few jars and ingredients ready.
I decided to make a glycerite, an elixir, and a few oils. To make all of these, you simply fill a jar with rose flowers, leaves and stems, and then cover with the menstruum. For the glycerite, I added around 12 oz of vegetable glycerine and 3 oz of water to a pint jar (about 80% to 20%).
I used the same ratio to make the elixir (12-13 oz brandy, 3-4oz honey… you can tweak the ratios depending on how sweet you want it to be). To make the oils, you simply fill the jar to the brim with the oil of your choice. I made three jars of oil: sweet almond, olive, and apricot. The olive will be great to use in a healing salve, and I plan to make super-luxurious face creams with the almond and apricot!
Keep the glycerite and elixir in a cool place out of direct sunlight for 6 weeks, shaking around about once a day, before straining and bottling. Put the oils out in the warm sun for the same amount of time, shaking often to prevent mold (check out my post about sun brewing oils here).
In just a few weeks you’ll have a variety of useful, beautiful medicines to heal your wounds and strengthen your heart!