Rose flowers

Chinese: 玫瑰花

Pinyin: Méi Guī Huā

Parts used: Dried flower bud

TCM category: Herbs that regulate Qi

TCM nature: Warm

TCM taste(s): BitterSweet

Meridian affinity: SpleenLiver

Scientific name: Rosa rugosa

Other names: Rugosa rose, Beach rose, Japanese rose, Ramanas rose

Use of rose flowers (Méi Guī Huā) in TCM

Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitionner, they will be best able to guide you.

Preparation: After harvest the buds are open and dried quickly under a low fire. The buds are first hung upside down so the petals dry first and they are then turned around so the rest dries too.

Dosage: 1 - 6 grams

Main actions according to TCM*: Regulates Qi and reduces Stagnation of the chest and Liver. Removes Blood Stagnation.

Primary conditions or symptoms for which rose flowers may be prescribed by TCM doctors*: Abdominal pain Loss of appetite Vomiting Irregular menstruation Depression

Common TCM formulas in which rose flowers are used*:

  • For slight menorrhagia (menstruations with excessively heavy flow) combine rose flowers with motherwort herbs.

Key TCM concepts behind rose flowers' properties

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), rose flowers are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that regulate Qi' category. Herbs in this category typically treat a TCM condition called 'Qi Stagnation'. Concretely it means that Qi is blocked in the body's Organs and Meridians, most typically the Stomach, Liver, and to a lesser extent, the Lungs. In modern medicine terms, Qi Stagnation often translates into psychological consequences such as depression, irritability or mood swings. It's also frequently associated with conditions such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopausal symptoms, the development of breast swellings as well as various digestive disorders.

Furthermore rose flowers are plants that are Warm in nature. This means that rose flowers tend to help people who have too much "cold" in their body, although with less effect than a plant that would be Hot in nature. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much cold in their body are said to either have a Yin excess (because Yin is Cold in nature) or a Yang deficiency (Yang is Hot in Nature). Depending on your condition rose flowers can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.

Rose flowers also taste Bitter and Sweet. The so-called "five elements" theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Bitter ingredients like rose flowers tend to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing heat, drying dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. On the other hand Sweet ingredients tend to slow down acute reactions and detoxify the body. They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood.

The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what organs and meridians they target. As such rose flowers are thought to target the Spleen and the Liver. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, blood coagulation and fluid metabolism in the body. The Liver on the other hand is often referred as the body's "general" because it is in charge of regulating the movements of Qi and body fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions.

Research on rose flowers

Rose flowers contain both gallic acid derivatives and polysaccharides as major antioxidant principles.1

Sources:

1. TB Ng, JS He, SM Niu, ZF Pi, W Shao et al. (2004). "A gallic acid derivative and polysaccharides with antioxidative activity from rose (Rosa rugosa) flowers". Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. Volume 56, Issue 4, Pages 537-545.

Use of rose flowers as food

Rose flowers are also eaten as food. It is used as an ingredient in dishes such as Rose Petal Jam or White Chocolate and Rose Infused Cheesecake.