The Symbolism of Roses | Beauty Recipes & Health Benefits
Like most people, I absolutely adore roses and whilst there are multiple reasons as to why they are so aesthetically pleasing; from their structure, scent, to colour, their historical significance and symbolism brought about a whole new meaning for me.
Let’s take a look at the interpretation of the rose throughout history and religion, their acceptation in tarot, as well as their medicinal benefits with some tried and tested, homemade, beauty recipes that we can incorporate into our pampering regimes.
In tarot, roses represent balance, promise, hope and new beginnings with its thorns symbolising defence, loss, physicality and thoughtlessness. Roses are often found in the major arcana or trump cards that are a suit of twenty-two cards amongst the 78-card tarot deck and have an exoteric meaning originating from the elite ideologies of the Italian courts in the 15th century; the birthplace of tarot allegedly. Roses will often appear on the Magician, Strength, Death and Fool cards as seen below. Flowers in tarot decks are used as a reminder of the cyclical nature of life and how ceaseless energy is. If you are drawn to any particular flower on the tarot cards, it is said to be an invitation to assess your current energy levels and serves as a reminder that we reap what we sow in life.
Roses have symbolised God and the Angels since ancient times, as they are said to represent Gods continuous presence in the creation of nature. The blooming of a rose is a representation of how our wisdom and spirituality evolves throughout our lives and the scent and presence of a rose represents Gods love.
In Christianity, the rose symbolises devotion to the goddess Venus as this flower has always been an icon of great respect. During the Christianisation of Rome, the rose was identified with the Virgin Mary and later, led to the creation of the rosary “crown of roses” and therefore used in devotional prayers dating back to 1204 AD.
Medieval Christianity often depicts Mary in an enclosed rose garden that is used to symbolise the bridal chamber, the Immaculate Conception or the Garden of Eden.
Hindus and Buddhists:
The Rose is a symbol of the soul, that blooms amidst thorns. Sufi Muslims of the Rose Crescent sect anointed themselves with rose oil before prayer believing that the scent would transcend their earthly preoccupations, meaning it would enable them to hear the word of Allah.
Greek and Roman Religions:
Aphrodite the Greek goddess of love is often seen in paintings, surrounded by or holding roses as it was believed that this flower was sacred and aided the passage through life and represented the mystery of creation itself which is why the rose is associated with death and secrecy.
The Romans would hang red roses overhead in confidential meetings and still decorate council halls and formal dining rooms throughout Europe to this day, including places that have European architecture.
Medicinal Benefits of Roses:
According to history, Pliny the Elder noted 32 different medicinal uses of herb rose in the 1st century CE where they were grown in medieval gardens in order to combat a multitude of illnesses.
The Canina; a type of wild rose, was used by the Romans to treat dog bites and used the aromatic scent to flavour and improve the healing properties of many of their medicines.
The seeds of a Japanese rose are used in Eastern medicine as a laxative, the petals as a remedy for headaches and to aid digestion after meals, they also believe that to steam the petals of a rose, aids sleep.
In the 19th century, it was proven that roses contain essential oils which are distilled from the petals and used in aromatherapy and with the discovery of vitamin C in the 1930s it was claimed by Linus Pauling that large doses of this nutrient could cure a common cold which is why rosehips became of much interest due to their high content of Vitamin C. Nevertheless, we should be aware that much of the natural vitamin C today in some rosehip products are lost in the manufacturing process and therefore artificial vitamin C is added, so always check the ingredients and ignore the marketing!
Rose petals have been used in Ayurvedic medicine in order to detox the body; they are believed to have therapeutic benefits that reduce stress levels, encourages us to relax and provides us with glowing skin.
Rose petals contain natural oils and sugars that lock moisture into dry skin cells as well as control the production of oil and have been proven to be an incredible skin toner, facial cleanser and moisturiser. With their antibacterial properties, rose petals can be used to combat acne, red or inflamed skin, as well as reduce signs of ageing, dark circles and wrinkles.
Below are some tried and tested beauty recipes that I regularly make from home to combat various skin issues.
Beauty Benefits of Roses:
- Restores the skins natural pH balance
- Reduces redness of irritated skin, acne, dermatitis and eczema
- Hydrates and moisturises the skin
- Heals scars, cuts and wounds
- Strengthens skin cells and regenerates skin tissues
- Clears pores and tones the skin and when steamed, tightens capillaries, reduces redness and blotchiness
- Enhances the quality of hair, can aid mild scalp inflammations and gets rid of dandruff. When used as a conditioner, it can revitalise hair growth.
Rose Beauty Recipes:
Rose Water | How To
What You Will Need:
- 100% organic rose petals – around 7 stems
- A large pot
- Distilled water (boil water on the stove or it can be store-bought)
- Spray bottle
- Remove the petals from the stems and run them under luke-warm water to remove any debris
- Place the petals into a large pot
- Add the distilled water to the pot, making sure it covers the petals but not too much as it will dilute the rose water
- Over medium-low heat bring the water to a simmer and cover with a pot lid or cloth; make sure you the cloth is nowhere near the flames of the stove
- Allow the petals and distilled water to simmer for 20-30 minutes; for reference, the petals will lose their colour and become pale pink.
- Strain the mixture into a bowl in order to separate the petals from the water
- Pour the rose water into your spray bottle and store in a cool, dry place
This is a superb room spray and I use this on my pillows. I also use this whilst I am out during the day to refresh my makeup, as well as an on-the-go body perfume at the beach or during the summer months.
Rose Facial Toner | How To
What you will need:
- A handful of fresh/dried rose buds
- Rose essential oil
- 1 cup of spring water
- A container of your choosing preferably with a spray cap
- A stove
- 1 pan
- Place the water in a pan and bring to boil.
- Remove the water from the stove and place the rose buds into the pan, then cover the pan with a lid or hand towel.
- Let the rose petals steep in the water for 30 minutes.
- When the water is completely cool, add 3 drops of rose essential oil and decant the mixture into a clean spray bottle; store in a cool dry place.
- Spritz the rose facial toner after cleaning or use it over makeup as a setting spray.
Rose Moisturiser | How To
What You Will Need:
- Organic roses
- Rose Water
- Raw honey
- Shea Butter
- Essential oils of your choosing. I suggest rose oil, geranium oil, tea tree oil or lavender essential oil depending on your skin concerns
- 1 bowl
- 1 container with a lid
- Blender or whisk
- Place 1 cup of shea butter, 1tbsp of raw honey and 1/4 cup of rose water into the blender and blend on a high-speed setting until you have a creamy, silky texture.
- Add 5 drops of essential oil(s) of your choosing – 5 drops per essential oil.
- Decant the mixture into the container, and store in a cool dry place.
This moisturiser can be used on normal-dry skin types, on scars, stretch-marks, inflamed or irritated skin including any rashes, eczema and psoriasis.
Rose Petal Face Mask | How To
What You Will Need:
- 8 teaspoons of fresh rose petals
- 1-quart water or 33.31 fl oz
- Peel from one orange
- 1 tablespoon of rose water
- 6 tablespoons of milk
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 4 tablespoons of whole wheat flour
- Foundation brush (optional)
- Grate the peel of an orange into your bowl
- Place all of the remaining ingredients into the bowl and mix well using a wooden spoon
- Allow the mixture to sit for 15-20 minutes before applying it to the face or body
- Leave on for as long as you like, however, I recommend a minimum of 20 minutes
- Gently rinse off the mixture and pat your face dry with a cloth
This is a superb facial and body mask for those needing to remove dead skin cells, restore vibrancy to the skin, improve the skins texture as well as draw out impurities from the skin.
Sending you all love and light,