Deemed as a symbol of love, rosa rugosa, better known as Mei Gui Hua in China, is one of the most romantic universal gifts for any couples in love. In fact, it is more than just the carrier of romance and love and the rose medicinal uses have been there for hundreds of years. No wonder the Ben Cao Zheng Yi (Correct Meaning of the Materia Medica), compiled by Zhang Shan-Lei in 1920, values highly this herb and says that it is quite fragrant, clear instead of turbid, and mild rather than fierce in nature, which make it an ideal herb for nourishing liver, refreshing stomach, promoting the circulation of Qi and blood, and unblocking the stagnation. More importantly, using it can be free from worry of the disadvantages caused by other medicinal materials of acrid, warm, strong, and dry nature. For that reason, Zhang Shan-Lei claims that rose is the most immediately effective but mild qifen medicine among all the aromatic herbs. As you can see, its health benefits are quite tangible and solid.
What is rosa rugosa?
The medicinal part of rose is the buds. Hence, medicinally it mainly means the dried bud of Rosa rugosa Thunb., which is a member in the family Rosaceae. And other names of this herb include Young Flower of Chinese Rose, Flos Rosae Rugosae, Rosebud, Bud of the Chinese Rose, Japanese Rose Flower, Rosae rugosae Flos, rugosa rose, Ramanas rose, and so on. In China, it is mainly produced Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shandong, Sichuan and other places. It is usually picked in batches during the end of spring and the beginning of summer when the flower is about to bloom. And then remove the stalk and stem and timely dry them in low-temperature. It is generally used raw.
Rosa rugosa plants are upright shrub, up to 2 meters in height. Stems are stout. Branches grow thickly, covered with dense hair, trichome, and thorns. It has alternate simple pinnately compound leaves with 5-9 leaflets per leaf. Flowers are solitary or a few of them cluster, 6 to 8cm in diameter, purple or white, and with single or double petals. Achenes are osseous, flat spherical, dark orange-red, and 2 to 2.5cm in diameter. The flowering time is from May to June and fruiting season is from August to September. Habitats in the wild are low mountain jungles and it is often cultivated in a yard or garden as a hedge.
It contains volatile oils, which include citronellol, linalyl formate, β-citronellol, geraniol, nerol, eugenol, phenethyl alcohol, geranyl formate, etc. And it still contains quercetin glycosides, tannins, fatty oils, organic acids, and so on.
Rosa rugosa health benefits
Rose is native to China, in which there is a long history of cultivation for ornamental flower and spice plants. Coincidentally the mild nature of rose and weak temperament in women is quite in tune. So, clinically rosebud is the preferred herb for the treatment of liver depression in female. Put it in the language of modern medicine – it is good at treating common gynecological diseases, such as morbid leucorrhea, irregular menstruation, menopausal syndrome, premenstrual cold, acute mastitis, and so on. And in recent years it is also used to treat depressive disorder.
Its flowers can be steamed for essential oil. Rosa rugosa oil is high in (-)-citronellol (60.0%), which is mainly for the purposes of producing food and cosmetics. Petals can be made into pie filling, jam, rose wine, rose syrup, flower essence, and tea. Buds are the main medicinal part and commonly used for liver qi depression, heartburn, abdominal fullness, and irregular menstruation. Rosa rugosa fruit is rich in vitamin C, glucose, fructose, sucrose, citric acid, malic acid and carotene.
Rosa rugosa tea is of mild nature and suitable for both male and female. It is so versatile that it is capable of soothing the mood, balancing the endocrine, enriching blood and qi, improving looks, caring skin, regulating the functions of liver and stomach, eliminating fatigue, and improving physical fitness. When combined with other herbal tea, it can also help digestion and burn excess fat. To be specific, rose are beneficial to women health in at least 4 different ways. To begin with, it regulates qi-blood and women’s physiological problems, which can go a long way in helping weight loss for female who gains weight due to endocrine disorder; then, long-term use of rose tea gives a good complexion by removing acne, spots and wrinkle; furthermore, it helps on breast enlargement and menstruation regulating; finally, it works as a mild laxative.
Modern pharmacological actions of rosa rugosa flower
1. Its oil promotes the bile secretion in rats;
2. It has a certain protective effect on myocardial ischemia in experimental animals.
Selected rosebud herbal remedies
The Chinese Materia Medica believes that it is sweet and slightly bitter in flavor and warm and non-toxic in properties. It goes to meridians of liver and spleen. Vital functions are regulating the Qi, dispelling the stagnation, harmonizing blood, and regulating the menstrual function. Main rosa rugosa uses and indications include liver-qi stagnation induced tightness and fullness sensation in chest, abdominal fullness and distention, breast pain and distention, irregular menstruation, dysentery, diarrhea, vaginal discharge, bruises, and carbuncles. Recommended dosage is from 1.5 to 6 grams in decoction.
1. According to Ben Cao Gang Mu Shi Yi (Supplements to Compendium of Materia Medica), it is used to make tea for the treatment of pain caused by stagnated qi in liver and stomach.
2. According to Mei Gui Gao from Si He Ting Ji Fang (Collection of Formulas of Si He-Ting), it is made into paste to treat vomiting blood due to liver depression and menoxenia.
3. According to Bai Cao Jing (Mirror of One Hundred Herbs), it is formulated with Hong Hua (Carthamus Tinctorius) and Dang Gui (Dong Quai) to treat new or chronic wandering arthritis.
4. According to Quan Zhou Ben Cao (Materia Medica of Quanzhou), it is crushed to extract juice and then stewed along with rock candy to cure cough and vomiting blood in lung disease.
Rosa rugosa side effects and contraindications
So, is rosa rugosa poisonous? In fact, the AHPA has rated it with a class 1. That is to say, it is edible and safe even though rose tea is consumed regularly. But for safety’s sake, women during pregnancy and lactation should stay away from it since it is reported that it may excite the reproductive system in women. TCM wise, use it with care in the case of fire excess from yin deficiency.