It's rose season. And roses are not only fragrant and beautiful, they are an important Ayurvedic medicine with cooling, pitta soothing, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, haemostatic, nervine and antidepressant properties. Here is a selection of traditional Ayurvedic home remedies and recipes that you can make from your garden roses.
All roses that you intend to eat, smoke etc. must be free of pesticides. Do not eat flowers from florists, nurseries, or garden centers, unless labeled organic. In many cases these flowers have been treated with pesticides not approved for food crops. The tastiest roses are usually the most fragrant. Many of the newer varieties have been selected for appearance rather than fragrance. Choose old-fashioned fragrant roses for your remedies.
Herbal smoke: Combine rose petals, chamomile flowers, a few drops of ghee and a pinch of nutmeg as a herbal smoke to relive sinus congestion.
Ginger, rose, jaggery nasya (nasal drops): Mix 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger, 1 tsp. jaggery and 1 tsp. rose petals in boiling water and steep for 10 minutes. Strain and allow to cool to room temperature. Instill 5 drops into each nostril (on an empty stomach). Can be stored for a few days in a screw top glass jar in the refrigerator. The jaggery balances vata, rose balances pitta and ginger balances kapha, allowing for a healthy nasal cleanse for all body types.
Anti-wrinkle treatment: Combine rose petal powder with goat's milk and apply as a facial mask, rinsing off after ten minutes. Alternatively, mix a jar of rose petal powder and powdered goats milk (e.g. Meyenberg brand) for a facial mask that is available whenever you need it.
Acne: Combine equal parts of rosewater and sesame oil in a spritz bottle. Shake it well before using and spritz your face. This is easy to keep in your purse so the face can be spritzed frequently.
Nosebleeds: Take a teaspoon of rose petal jam twice daily to alleviate the tendency to nosebleeds.
Constipation: Drink warm milk at bedtime with a teaspoon of rose petal jam or rose syrup.
Menstrual cramps or heavy menstrual bleeding: try rose petal tea or rose and hibiscus tea.
Eye fatigue or 'computer eye': For tired, red or burning eyes, soak two organic cotton balls in rosewater. Lie down and relax, close your eyes and apply one cotton ball to each eye.
Insect bites: Rose water can be applied over insect bites such as mosquito bites to relieve itch and inflammation.
Acne scars: Apply a mixture of sandalwood, lemon juice and rose water.Rose ghee: Good remedy for eyes, skin, pitta.
Make ghee by the normal method. In a rectangular Pyrex dish, place a leyer of rose petals and pour hot ghee over it. When the ghee cools, place on another layer of rose petals and pour hot ghee on again. Repeat a couple more times, then cover and leave for 3-4 days to infuse. Now gently melt the mixture, strain out the roes petals and store in a screw top glass jar.
Laxative Rose Syrup
- 2 cups water
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 1/2 heaping cup red rose petals, rinsed, patted dry and air-dried until crisp.
Bring the water to a boil. Place the dried rose petals in a glass bowl, pour on the water, stir.
Allow to cool and then steep under refrigeration for 12 hours.
Next, strain out the rose petals and place the rose infusion in a pan. Add the sugar and clove. Stir as it comes to a foamng boil and thn simmer for ten minutes.
Allow to cool. It will naturally thicken.
Store in refrigerator in glass bottle for up to two months.
Can be used in milk at bedtime (1tsp) for a delicious laxative drink.
Rose petal jam
Method 1 (Ayurvedic Gulkand)
In a sterile screw top jar, alternately layer clean dry organic rose petals and organic turbinado sugar. Keep in a sunny windowsill for 3-4 weeks, stirring every other day. After this time, it should have a jam-like consistency. Now store in a cool, dark cupboard for another 3-4 weeks to cure.
Method 2 (Western)
1/2 pound pink or red edible rose petals
2 cups turbinado sugar, divided
4 1/2 cups water
Juice of 2 freshly-squeezed lemons (approximately 1/2 cup)
Clip and discard bitter white bases from the rose petals; rinse petals thoroughly and drain.
Place rose petals in a bowl and sprinkle enough sugar to coat each petal. Let set overnight.
In a saucepan over low heat, place remaining sugar, water, and lemon juice; stirring to dissolve sugar. Stir in rose petals and let simmer 20 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil; continue boiling for approximately 5 minutes until mixture thickens and a spoonful dropped onto a cold plate jells and holds its shape. Remove from heat. After boiling, transfer the jam into hot sterilized jars. Fill them to within 1/4-inch of the top. Wipe any spilled jam off the top, seat the lid, and tighten the ring around them. Cover, label, and store in a cool place. Makes 1 pound of jam.
Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is an Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.
Enliven your holistic health! Visit Alakananda Ma in Alandi Ashram’s ayurvedic clinic to support the overall rejuvenation of your body, mind, and spirit. In-person and virtual appointments available. Book now!