Using Rose to support your connection to your female power
You would be forgiven if you had been unable to escape the celebrations of International Women’s Day on 8th March this year. As a user of social media I found many of my colleagues and community take the opportunity to really celebrate all things female and found it really inspirational that a lot of men were on board as well. I don't know about you, but I have found a great resurgence online of women rights, women’s power and in general a real clarion call about why this is the time for us to rise, in our own unique female way. I often find myself talking about this with my patients and the colleagues who I collaborate with, and find that while women in the wider world can find it difficult to feel our way into our own entitlement, a female model for collaboration and working together, which is based on support rather than fear, can be a really positive and constructive model that is accessible to both genders. I also questioned both myself and asked my wider community of herbalists whether we are politicising our practices’ and whether it is right to do so. However, herbal medicine seems to attract women, whether, as keepers of the art, craft and science of herbal medicine or as those seeking its help, and so it only seems right that we address relevant contemporary issues that affect both us and our patients. I’d love to know what you feel about this.
So why just one day? Every day is women’s day cos every day is your day, whether male or female, and I wanted to offer you a way to use Rose to strengthen your connection to your female power and celebrate your body. (Yes, men are keepers of female energy and power too - both genders have a balance of feminine and masculine energies and hormones). But first I wanted to make it clear what I mean when I talk of female power. When I say female power I am not talking about any aggressive energy. Instead I am talking about the uniquely female ways we can use our volition and energy in the world for kindness, positivity, creativity, support and growth - its time to recognise and learn to connect to this, to call our power back to us and to choose where we put our energy. And Rose can help with this.
So why Rose? Roses have long been associated with women. As a younger woman I felt this was just restricted to older women and therefore something not for me. However, as I trained as a herbalist a relationship between us formed and I grew to love and respect Rose.
Rose aka Rosa spp. contains vitamin C, B, E and K as well as tannins, pectin and carotene, and in traditional western herbal medicine have been used to relax, cool and astringe (tighten tissue). The leaves and the petals have been used widely from bringing a fever down to relieving cold and flu symptoms, whilst the hips, full of vitamin C are renowned for their immune boosting credentials. They are in the same family as the Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) and Strawberry (Fragaria spp.) and if you think about how perfumed, sweet and fragrant they are this makes total sense.
Rosa is also a gentle nervine, meaning that it has a restorative effect on the nervous system. Having a cup of rose tea is like having a hug in a mug - a very handy thing. It can be great in situations of shock or heartbreak, and unsurprisingly has a great affinity with the emotional heart centre and heart chakra. As the petals of the flower head unfold, so we can unfold, relax and feel safe and nurtured, in our own space.
Gynaecologically it can have a decongesting, toning effect, and can be used as part of a solution for painful or heavy periods. Energetically it also has an amazing effect on libido, aiding connection to the physical body, emotions and the senses.
I often use Rose in my mixes for vaginal steaming - depending on the problem, and recommend it in body oil mixes for self care massages and body moisturising - simply because it can help bring you back into your body, aid that connection between the mind and the body, and imbue a feeling of self love and care.
To try for yourself, mix 20 drops of a good quality Rosa spp. essential oil with 100mls of your favourite plant based oil, such as almond or jojoba, shake well and use to moisturise and massage your body, mindfully after bathing.
When your body and mind are better connected it can help you feel comfortable in your own skin and own your own space; increasing your feelings of self care increases your feeling of self worth, and with these comes tapping into your power as a woman. This is especially relevant when you suffer any condition that may disempower your connection to your body, such as suffering with thrush. How will you use your power?