The Secret Heart of the Rose

Did you ever wonder why roses are cherished as a gift of love, especially on Valentine's Day?

Legend has it that the red rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love, and throughout the ages, the rose has not only symbolized love, but magic, passion and beauty.

It turns out there is a scientific basis for this passion for roses. The essence of rose contains over 3,000 biochemicals, making it the most complex of aromatic oils. It has been prized throughout the ages as a way to calm the emotions, soothe stress, cool frustration, and cultivate love.

Roses and their Medicinal Uses

As old as civilization itself, the rose was cultivated in India some 5,000 years ago. It was first appreciated for its sweet taste and curative powers, and later for its beauty and fragrance.

Only one rose is used in ayurveda, called the Shatapattri rose, which means "thousand petals." The petals of this rose are used for their cooling and nourishing properties, making a powerful tonic for the heart. Interestingly, the Latin name for this rose, Rosa Centifolia, also means thousand petals.

According to ancient ayurvedic texts, Rosa Centifolia balances Sadhaka Pitta, the aspect of the physiology that governs the emotions and their effect on the heart. The mind-body operator Pitta governs heat, digestion, and metabolism in the body and can go out of balance more easily in the summer months, when the weather is hot and humid. Rose cools Pitta dosha, soothing the emotions. It also balances the coordination between mind and emotions.

Yet although the rose is cooling, it enhances agni, the digestive fire. This is a unique quality which makes it balancing for all three doshas. These medicinal properties are not lost on modern researchers, who are investigating the effect of the rose in balancing hormones and creating overall well-being. Essential rose oils used in aroma therapy are also being investigated for their anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hemorrhagic properties.

In Maharishi Ayurveda, the rose is used in many rasayanas, the herbal formulas that promote overall health and longevity. It is also used in rose water, in aromatherapy, and in tonics made from mixing rose paste, water, and spices. Cold poultices with rose and sandalwood paste are sometimes recommended to cool any burning.

The rose has long been an important ingredient in luxurious beauty treatments. Local applications (such as in creams and poultices) cool, moisturize, and tone the skin. When used over time, the essence of rose pacifies the heat in the blood, and thus keeps imbalances in the skin from erupting. Massaging the body with rose and sandalwood augments the glow and complexion.

The rose enlivens inner beauty, helps the skin to radiate inner glow, and enhances all seven dhatus (body tissues.)

Instant Heart Soother

It is said that Indian royalty gave jars of a sweet rose confection to their beloved to inspire unconditional love. Later, the tradition evolved into our present-day habit of giving roses on Valentine's Day or just to say "I love you."

This traditional rose confection is called Organic Rose Petal Spread. Now made from dozens of roses, it's a potent tonic for balancing the emotions and intensifying happiness and bliss. We call it "Love in a Jar," because even if you are angry at someone, you can take a teaspoon of Organic Rose Petal Spread, and it will immediately help you to start thinking more loving thoughts. Here are some recipes.

Sweet Rose Petal Lassi

Rose Petal Milk

Rose Petal Thirst Quencher

Gifts for the Heart

This Valentine's Day, shower your loved ones with a bouquet of roses or other rose-like gifts. Or treat yourself to your own rose-inspired heart therapy.

For Your Valentine

  • Sprinkle rose petals on a heart-shaped cake for a special Valentine's Day treat.
  • Dine by candlelight using rose-scented candles.
  • Make your loved one a Valentine's Day gift basket and stuff it full of sweet, ayurvedic delights. Include our Organic Rose Petal Spread. Add 16 ounces of cashew butter for a tasty blend of calming herbs and nutritional protein. Complete your basket with Organic Cooling Pitta Tea, which also contains roses and helps settle the emotions.

For Your Own Rose-Inspired Heart Therapy

  • Create a sweet ambiance in your home with Blissful Heart, a therapeutic aroma that contains rose essence and is aimed to uplift the heart.
  • Suffering from the winter blues? Reach for the nearest rose. Schedule a morning of at-home, deeply rejuvenating, rose aroma-spa therapy. Start by adding a few drops of pure rose oil to your massage oil for a luxurious, heart-warming oil massage. Draw a warm bath and add six drops of rose absolute essential oil. Use Rose Herbal Soap to complete your rose-inspired spa therapy and you'll feel uplifted and content.
  • Are you waking up in the early morning unable to fall back asleep? According to Maharishi Ayurveda, this type of sleep problem is due to an imbalance in Pitta dosha, and often Sadhaka Pitta, which governs the emotions, is involved. To remedy this situation, start going to bed at 9:30, before the Pitta time of night begins. Create a sweet, sleep-inducing influence with Cooling Pitta Aroma Oil, which contains roses, while you sleep. Soothe your heart and sleep deep by drinking a cup of warm milk sweetened with a teaspoon of Organic Rose Petal Spread. You'll not only feel cooled, soothed, and uplifted, but you might find yourself dreaming sweet dreams of the heart as well.
  • Cool your skin and uplift your emotions with our pure Organic Rose Water. You can spritz your face before or after your facial. It also helps moisturize the skin at bedtime, or before and after exposure to the sun. With its pleasant aroma, Organic Rose Water spray enhances mood and is cooling and toning, enhancing the glow and appearance of the skin.

The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.