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It is impractical to try and list all the myriad varieties of rose that have been developed by now. A common one used in herbalism where many petalled heads are required is Rosa centifolia or the hundred petalled rose.

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet."
Juliet Capulet


The birthplace of the cultivated Rose was probably Northern Persia, on the Caspian sea. From there the cultivated rose spread across Mesopotamia to Palestine and across Asia Minor to Greece. Greek colonists brought roses to Southern Italy. Even roses used in ancient days were cultivated varieties. Quintus Horatius Flaccus, a Roman writer, provides an interesting account of the growing of Roses in beds. In those days the varieties of rose were limited in number, but it would appear that the Romans knew and cultivated the red Provins Rose (Rosa gallica).


Petals and hips


The classic and delicately delicious flavour of rose is perennially identified with passion. Rose tea is good for the circulation and the heart and naturally caffeine free.

For centuries, rose has been used in perfumes and as a coolant for eyes and body. It is also effective in curing skin infections, inflammation, swelling, and prickly heat.
Old herbalists considered the Red Rose to be more binding and more astringent than any of the other species as it strengthens the heart, the stomach, the liver and the retentive faculty. Red rose is good against all kinds of fluxes, prevents vomiting, stops tickling coughs and is of service in consumption.

Rose petals can also be burned and smoked, and since Roman times have been used as a sumptuous decorative.


The word rose comes from the Greek word rodon (red), and the rose of the Ancients was of a deep crimson colour, which probably suggested the fable of its springing from the blood of Adonis. Homer's allusions to the rose in the Iliad and Odyssey are the earliest records, and Sappho, the Greek poetess, writing about 600 B.C., selects the Rose as the Queen of Flowers.
The decadent Romans of the later Empire made lavish use of the blossoms of the Rose. At banquets they were used as a means of decoration, spread about the floors. Even in winter top Romans expected to have rose petals floating in their wine. Roman brides and bridegrooms were crowned with roses, as were the images of Cupid and Venus and Bacchus. Roses were scattered in the paths of the victorious, beneath their chariot-wheels, or adorned the prows of their war-vessels. And although the Rose was a sign of pleasure, the companion of mirth and wine, it was also used at their funerals.

The popularity of the rose has continued to modern times and it is still given and received as a token of love and esteem the world over.


There are many many recipes that include roses so here are just a few.

Rose tea can be made by simply seeping rose petals in boiling water for 3-5 minutes

A middle eastern recipe for a sweet rose decoction is as follows; To serve 4, place 1.5 cups of rose petals in a saucepan. Cover with 3 cups of water and boil for 5 minutes, or until the petals become discoloured. Strain into teacups and add honey to taste.

A traditional Royal Victorian recipe is to blend rose petals with China black tea. Perfect served in fine China cups for kings, queens, friends and loved ones.


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