Roses have been revered through the ages not just for their showy, complex blooms but also their health and nutritional benefits. Today you can find a plethora of rose treats to consume or slather on your gorgeous bod. About 2,000 years ago roses Greek scholar Pliny declared that roses could cure a minimum of 32 afflictions – everything from urinary tract infections, scurvy and scars. In more modern times, roses are said to have seven different skincare benefits according to the folks at Organic Authority.
Personally, I’m admirer of bloom and smell of Damask roses and Nootka roses. Growing up in rural British Columbia, I drank rose hip tea and at rose hip jelly. My grandmother taught us to chew up a rose hip and smear it on a fresh bee or wasp bite to take away the sting as children.** Major rose producing countries that specialize in distilling down 10,000 stems at a time include are Bulgaria, Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt and India.
Today, you can find rose essence in everything from cocktails to facial toners. Last summer I was so inspired by the uber fragrant Nootka roses in my neighbourhood, that I distilled them to make a rose elixir to add to everything from soda water to ice cream. I’ve even bathed with rose petals and replenished my skin with rose essence. Since February is the month of love and roses, I’ve decided to share some of my favourite rose-infused or inspired finds. So instead of buying a bunch of roses for your sweetie this February, grab him or her one of these rose treats.
A light yet rich cream loaded with wild harvested rosehips, chaga, avocado butter, pro vitamin B5. Infused with Element Botanicals own distilled rose water and rosewood essential oils, and all whipped up to a delicate texture, this dreamy cream smells as incredible as it works. I apply it nightly throughout winter to replenish my resting bitch face.
This cooling, alcohol-free blend is made from rosewater—revered since antiquity for its calming and hydrating benefits—which works to remove impurities and clarify the complexion for healthier-looking skin. I spritz my face with the Fresh Rose Toner right after I get out of the shower as a moisturizing primer for my face. It brightens and tightens my skin. Side benefit: it smells divine but not old lady-ish.
This made-in-Edmonton revitalizing face oil contains Rose Geranium, Lavender & Vitamin C. Rose geranium increases circulation, tones the skin, prevents premature aging and revitalizes female energy. Pura Botanicals‘ Lolita also contains acne-fighting lavender, smoothing sweet almond oil and age-spot preventing vitamin C. The Ritual: about two to three times a week I lightly massage Lolita face drops into my face and neck. Side benefit: I generally have wicked sleeps on these nights because of this heavenly scented rose treat.
Les Anis de Flavigny (Rose French Mints)
My friend Alana, a friend who lived in France for an extended honeymoon/adult gap year with her amor, turned me onto these delicate breathe mints. Made in the Burgundy village of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain, these mints have been around for the last four centuries. Never mind the refreshing rose taste, I just LOVE the packaging. My antique loving tendencies (inherited from the same rose hip-chewing granny) ensure that I keep ALL THE ROSE TREAT TINS for display or to repurpose.
Rose is a summer wine but why can’t we just pretend it’s summer and drink it in February, shall we? With tasting notes of red liquorice, strawberry yogurt and very ripe blackberries, this Merlot/Pinot blend was aged in a stainless steel tank after it’s skins were allowed to hang out with wine for a couple days. Hence the lovely dark pink hue. This is my favourite of the Rose wines out there and is produced in beautiful British Columbia.
DIY Nootka Rose Elixir (adapted from Susan Musgrave’s recipe in A Taste of Haida Gwaii)
For delicious summer cocktails or non-alcoholic spritzers, make this rose treat: a rosa flavoured elixir. Directions: pick 20 or more Nootka roses. Rinse them softly, pluck roses as you play whichever childhood game you like (he/she loves me/loves me not, etc), soak the rose petals in a clean large glass bowl (or 2) rubbing the rose petals with about a 1/2 cup of sugar, let sit over night. Then put the petals in with about 2.5 cups of cold water and the juice of one lemon (fresh only please) and let sit for another night in a cool, dark place. Then pour the rose petal filled water plus 3/4 cup of sugar into a pot and bring to a slow, gentle simmer for about 10 minutes until rose petals turn translucent. Remove from heat, let cool for 10 minutes. Then decant mixture using a strainer to catch the rose petals. Store in your fridge for up to two weeks. Add an ounce of the elixir to soda water, water or if you’re me a white wine spritzer. D-I-V-I-N-E.
What would a rose list be without some sort of aromatic spray included? An intriguingly witchy collaboration between yogi/writer Live with Moxy and natural skincare makers Element Botanicals, the Lady Magic spray capture the moments of moon phases and turned them into mists. My favourite of the four is the Lady Magic New Moon scent. First they soaked amethyst, Tigers Eye and Quartz in distilled water and then added essences of: Citrus, Vanilla, Black pepper along with chamomile and rose. It’s pretty much my signature scent now.
** I’m not a doctor, this is a folk remedy that’s worked on me. Use at your own risk.
What is your favourite rose treat? Where is your favourite spot to gaze upon their unfurling beauty?