The rose is a timeless symbol of love and pleasure. Fossil evidence shows the genus Rosa existed 35 million years ago. Cultivation is evidenced up to 5,000 years ago in China, and the Roman Empire called the rose a symbol of mirth and pleasure, companion to wine. More than 10,000 types of roses are currently cultivated, with three distinct rose families, the Cabbage Rose (R. centifolia), the Damask Rose (R. damascena) and the Tea Rose (R. indica.)
All parts of the rose have value, and rose oil is a highly esteemed and valuable component of perfumes and skin care. Rose flowers, petals, rosehips and essential oils are used medicinally and are considered cooling, soothing and moisturizing. Petals are often dried and added to teas, honey or vinegar. Rosewater is an important component of beauty medicine and the cocktail world, and Syrup of Red Rose has an official place in the United States Pharmacopeia as a flavoring tonic for syrups and mixtures.
This month we bring you a local Rose Elixir to lift the spirits. This sweet, simple tonic tastes like a rose and gently opens the heart. In the early mornings of summer, workers at Avena Botanicals go out into the rose gardens and gather baskets of petals. The harvest is mixed with glycerin and grain alcohol, and allowed to steep until the liquid is infused with the beautiful delicate color of the petals and the rich essential oils. This warm, open energy of the summer rose is captured to use all year long, when we need that sweet-heart lift of a summer garden in our cold winter days.
How to make your own rose elixir
Dr. Oz talks about the Rose.