- The genus Rosa is believed to have originated in central Asia about 60 to 70 million years ago, spreading and growing wild throughout the Northern Hemisphere: Asia, Europe, Northern Africa and North America. (6)
The Damask rose, Rosa damascena, dates back to 900 BC. It is the national flower
of Iran and has been called the "Flower of the Prophet Mohammad."
The use of rose oil dates back to ancient Persia. Petal steam distillation
produces rose water and rose oil; 2000 petals yield a mere drop of rose
- Theophratus, the Greek scientist, educator and writer, is credited with compiling the first detailed botanical description of roses around 300 BC. His work is considered the primer for all cataloging of roses. (6)
- Its medicinal use dates back to Hippocrates in ancient Greek times (Haas, 1995). (4)
- The Damask rose (Rosa damascena), Provence rose (Rosa gallica) and Eglantine (Rosa elganterala) are the three oldest roses in cultivation and considered the most fragrant.
Many medicinal benefits have been attributed to the rose, from the healing
properties, to treatment of respiratory problems to skin health. The
genus consists of many species, estimates ranging from thirty to over
Pliny, the Roman naturalist, attributed the plant's name to a belief that the root could cure the bite of a mad dog (Haas, 1995). (4)
One of the most extensive genus in
the plant kingdom, with some botanical reports of over 4,000 species.
A prickly shrub, most grow upright, some are creeping. Flowers are yellow,
white, pink or red, solitary or in branched clusters or corymbs at the
end of short branches. four to five petals and sepals. Leaves are alternate,
pinnnate, usually with five to nine leaflets with a terminal leaflet. Fruits are usually are fleshy and berrylike at maturity.
- Widely distributed plant in America, Africa, and Asia.
- Cultivated in all climates and places.
- The garden roses cultivated in the Philippines include the hybrid teas, floribundas, grandifloras, minature climbers and shrubs.
Flowers and hips.
- Considered antidepressant, antiscorbutic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, aromatic, astringent, cordial, depurative, emmenagogue, laxative, nervine, sedative, stomachic, uterine tonic.
- It has been suggested rose petals suitable for medicinal purposes must yield a deep rose-colored, astringent, and fragrant infusion when boiling water is poured on it.
- Petals are astringent, containing quercitrin and volatile oils.
- Rose hips, the flower base which is swollen to seed, are excellent sources of vitamin A, B3, C, D, and E.
- Also contains a coloring agent and flavor that makes them useful for
syrup, eyewashes, tonics.
- Rosehips are a good source of vitamin
C and used for making syrups, jams, jellies, wines and tea blends.
- Rose petals are used in salads, garnishes, pastry decorations, and making
- Iranians add powdered dried petals to yoghurt.
Rose-water made from some species
(Rosa centifolia) is used as ointment for ophthalmia.
- Infusion or powder used for excessive bleeding.
- The water is soothing to dry skin.
- Petals considered astringent; can be used as skin wash to staunch bleeding from scrapes and cuts.
- Infusion of flowers used for lavage in leukorrhea and blennorrhagia.
- Infusion also used as gargle for laryngitis, stomatitis.
- Decoction of flowers used for phthisis, hemoptysis, diarrhea and dysentery.
- Rose hips extracts used in European folk medicine as diuretic and laxative, for urinary tract stones, arthritis, gout, fever, colds, and vitamin C deficiency. (4)
- Therapeutic uses of R. damascena in ancient medicine include the treatment of abdominal and chest pain, menstrual bleeding, digestive problems and inflammation. North American Indian tribes use a root decoction as a cough remedy for children. Also used for wound healing, migraine, allergies. (8)
Note: There are innumerable studies attributable to many rose species. Studies enclosed are limited to a few attributable to Rosa canina and Rosa damascena. No studies were found on Rosa philippinensis, which is endemic to the Philippines.
Study concludes dried rose petals may be used for preparing antioxidant-rich
caffeine-free beverages. Various flavonoids in rose hips have potent antioxidant action.
• Inhibition of Cox-1 and Cox-2 Activity:
In a study to investigate the use of rose hips in the treatment of osteoarthritis,
the extracts of rose hip showed good inhibition of both cox-1 and -2. (2)
• Galactolipid / Anti-inflammatory:
Study isolated a galactolipid from dried and milled fruits of Rosa canina which showed anti-inflammatory activity with inhibitory effects on chemotaxis of human peripheral blood neutrophils in vitro. The presence of the galactolipid in rose hips may explain the anti-inflammatory properties of rose hip herbal remedies. (3)
• Pharmacological Effects of Rosa damascena: The article is a comprehensive review on the pharmacological effects of R. damascena, one of the most important species of the Rosaceae family. It is principally cultivated for its use in perfume, medicine, and the food industry. The review covers its various products: rose water, rose oil, dried flowers, hips, and other products, together with composition and pharmacological effects, i.e., neuropharmacological, hypnotic, analgesic, neuroprotective, antioxidant, anticonvulsant, cardiovascular, anti-HIV, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, etc. (8)
• Effect on Human Brain Tumor Cell Proliferation / Rose Hips: Rose hips are blossoms from wild rose (Rosa canina) and commonly used as herbal remedy. Study investigated the efficacy of rose hips extracts in preventing cell proliferation of three human gliobastomas cell lines A-172, U-251 MG, and U-1231 MG cell lines. Results suggest rosehips extracts are capable of decreasing glioblastoma cell proliferation without promoting apoptosis and demonstrate greater cell proliferation inhibitory effect than Temozolomide. The extracts present an alternative or compliment to chemotherapeutic regimens for glioblastoma. (9)
• Meta-Analysis / Rosehip Powder in Osteoarthritis: Although based on sparse amount of data, meta-analysis indicate that rosehip powder does reduce pain. It seemed twice as likely that a patient allocated to rosehip powder would respond to therapy, compared to placebo. (10)
Widely cultivated for its flower and