Rose Medicine ~ Rose Tincture

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Rose Medicine

I love Roses. Do you? I love all ROSES! It was a great pleasure to be a part of the collaboration of the International Herb Association’s 2012 HERB of the YEAR publication: ROSE. ** I loved diving into my recipes and playing with ROSE for the better part of 2011 ~ and play I did.  Wanted to share some with you ~ please tell me what you do with this most amazing plant. Comments are easy to leave, below. Thanks.

Rose petals, and to a greater extent rose hips, are known to be high in vitamin C, and also contain vitamins A, B-3, D, and E, as well as bioflavonoids, minerals, plus malic and citric acid. Rose hips also contain pectin. These nutrients are the reason why many herbalists use rose medicine to clear toxins and heat from the body, and relieve fluid retention or congestion. Rose creates “movement” in the body, so it can be used to help relieve heavy menstrual periods caused by uterine congestion, and as a part of a diuretic or gentle laxative formula.



Rose medicine is also known to support the liver and gall bladder because it promotes bile flow, which contributes to better elimination. Rich in vitamins, rose medicine stimulates the immune system, helps fight infections, soothes mucous membranes, and can help to relieve colds and influenza.
In my herbal practice, I use rose tincture, as well as hot and cold infusions made from rose petals and rose hips.


Rose Petal Tincture

There are many ideas and formulas for creating the perfect tincture.

I use fresh rose petals at the height of their blooming season (June for my Toronto gardens). Only use roses from plants that have not been sprayed with chemicals (see note at end, re: best roses for making medicine). I pluck the petals gently from the plant, leaving the rose hips intact to mature in the fall. Tinctures can be created using any number of ‘extraction liquids’ or menstrums such as vodka or grain alcohol (use what is available). Brandy makes a lovely choice for rose petal tincture.

1) Gather enough fresh rose petals to fill a 500 ml (glass) canning jar.

2) Fill the jar with the rose petals, but don’t over stuff.

3) Fill the jar to the very top with alcohol (it’s important to completely cover the plant material).

4) Use a chopstick or other non-metal object to poke the plant material a bit, to ensure all air bubbles float to the top.

5) Cap with a tight-fitting lid.

6) Label the jar with the name of herb, date, plus which menstrum used. (ie. Rose Tincture – Vodka – 20 Jun 2012)

7) Place the jar into a cool cupboard.

8) Shake at least once a day.

9) The rose tincture will be ready to use in 4 to 6 weeks. At this point, strain the mixture through a sieve and transfer to tinted glass jar, if possible. (eg. Amber glass)  store in small, dark, glass jars containing a dropper.


A tincture made from rose petals can be effective in addressing sadness, grief, depression, anxiety or insomnia. I often combine rose tincture with a selected Bach flower remedy with good results.

Rose Petal Tincture + Bach Flower Remedies

Rose tincture can be combined with Bach flower essences in a myriad of ways to address the specific needs of each individual. Rose medicine has been used throughout the ages to comfort sorrow and relieve heartache. For deep grief, add 3 to 4 drops of Star of Bethlehem Bach flower essence to a 100 ml dropper bottle filled with rose tincture or syrup. Take a dropperful three to four times a day, or as needed.

(Sometimes, it’s helpful to fill a spray bottle with water and add a few drops of Star of Bethlehem flower essence. The entire bottle becomes infused with the potent healing power to calm grief. It can then be sprayed around the room where people need comfort.)

Bach flower remedies can be added to herbal medicine or healing foods – whether it be in the form of tincture, tea, syrup, infused honey, vinegar, glycerite or elixir; adding a flower essence to the herbal remedy adds another emotional healing component needed during difficult times.

Stay tuned for more ROSE MEDICINE. Please do send along questions or comments.

May the sweet healing peace of ROSE be with you  ~   Carol

 ** Go to to see the complete series of International Herb Association’s Herb of the Year books!

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  • Thanks for this post! I’m excited to try this out as my roses are looking great. Have you ever tried adding rose petals to a bitters tincture? You wrote to see a note at end about the best roses for making medicine, and maybe I’m blind but I don’t see it?

    • I am glad that you enjoyed it, Alison! My summer project this year is indeed working with BITTERS!
      I may just need to try that. Have you? Do you have a favourite bitter??
      Sorry re omission; ANY roses that are un-sprayed and grown with lots of love, are my picks..
      There are ‘apothecary’ roses that have gotten their name for that reason, perhaps?

      • I never considered it until reading your post! I’m getting ready to make a new batch, so I think I will try it out with my variety rosa rugosa. Maybe it’ll make it a little more palatable but equally effective.

        • Last time I used licorice root and I liked how that turned out. This batch I’m going to use I think 12 different bitters.

          • What bitters are you planning to combine? I always find it so interesting to hear what people like to put together!!
            Yes, licorice root imparts a sweetness to the mixture as well as all that licorice shares with us.

  • Thanks for sharing! How should I store the finished product? What is the shelf life? Also, is it too late to gather the petals that are browning? Excuse the barrage of questions. I’m eager to get started!

    • Kelly~ all questions are great ones! Everyone learns. I store tinctures in a cool dark cupboard. They last a very long time if they’ve been made properly; for years. The plant material for any tincture needs to gathered at the plant’s “peak” ~ so freshly opened buds, new blossoms or at very least, vibrant blossoms. Petals that are browning are probably not the best choice for tincture as we are wanting to encourage/entice/welcome the healing constituents from our plant ally into the medicine. I always thank the plant/plant Spirits for this healing gift as I harvest. Have fun!
      Let me know if you have any other questions~ green wishes, Carol

    • HI Jenny. For the most part, I tincture using Vodka ~ 40% alcohol.
      Otherwise, when possible, I use Everclear and then create the equivalent of 40% alcohol.
      There are many ideas.. Probably as many as there are herbalists~ This has always produced a delightful tincture.
      Please don’t hesitate to ask again if you have other queries! Good green wishes, Carol

      • Fun article!!! I just received a tincture of scutillaria, melissa, leonurus, and rose to help with PMS or whenever things feel stressful~ what a blessing to have plant allies to assist in our health/wellbeing :)

  • Hello!

    My sister gave me some roses from her garden (she moved to a house that had 15 bushes in the back yard!!!) And I dried them because I was too busy to do anything with them at that time. Anyway, I know you aren’t suppose to use roses that are sprayed but I’ll never know if the people that lived there before sprayed them. My sister doesn’t spray and when they bloomed her first year there I gladly accepted them. Basically my question is, is it OK to use them if she didn’t spray that season? Or if they were sprayed by the previous tenants are they just done for since the poison is in their system so to speak. Sorry for the wordy question. I’d really appreciate your advice!

    • HI Haley. Sorry for the long wait. Somehow, missed your question.
      What do you plan to do with the Roses?
      That will answer the question. If you are talking ‘tincture’ I would wait and make fresh in the following year.
      It’s a gamble when you don’t know if they were sprayed.. Possibly sprayed for years.. Find out what you can, if anything.
      Ask her to ask the neighbors!

  • I’m very excited to try this! I love wild roses and we have lots in BC, canada. I’m curious if you’ve ever mixed blooms from other bushes and trees from the Rosacea family, apple, raspberry, plum etc. also I’m interested in trying to dry them within a pyramid frame, as it is meant to dehydrate flowers without mould.

  • May I have permission to publish this rose medicine post in the San Francisco Rose Society newsletter? I harvested my Rosa California hips today an will be making my first batch of Ros Hip elixir. Sun is in Scorpio and moon in Leo so it should be a fiery potion.

    • I have never tried to make a tincture with dried roses. Fresh roses are best in my opinion.
      Make a small amount as a trial and see what you think, perhaps. Some medicines are truly better with fresh ingredients. I feel that ROSE is one of these.

      • I just finished tincturing with dried rose petals; no access to unsprayed fresh petals, unfortunately. So far, so good. Taking it at night to assist with sleep issues.

        • You know.. I always use fresh because I grow roses.. LOVE to hear that you are having good results with good quality dried petals!!

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