Rose Petals

Scientific Names:
Rosa canina L. (predominant species in commerce) and other Rosa spp. [Fam. Rosaceae]


Aqueous extract of whole fresh or cut and dried rose petals; rose petal tinctures and extracts

Traditional Usage:
– Antibacterial

– Antinflammatory

– Anti-mutagenic

– Antioxidant

– Bone and Joint Conditions

– Breast Pain and Discomfort (mastitis)

– Capillary Fragility

– Cellular Regeneration

– Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

– Cleansing

– Colic

– Detoxification

– Digestive Disorders

– Dry Mouth

– Dysentery

– Eyewash

– Fatigue

– Fetal Restlessness

– Gastrointestinal Disorders

– Influenza

– Infections

– Liver Pains

– Menstrual Difficulties

– Mouthwash

– Pregnancy Discomforts

– Stomachaches

– Swelling

– Vaginitis

– Vascular Deficiencies

– Vital Energy Deficiency

– Yeast Infections

The petals of dog rose, Rosa canina L. [Fam. Rosaceae], and other Rosa spp. are rich in colorful red anthocyanins and fragrant essential oils. Chinese medicine recommends rose petal tea from large-hip or wrinkled rose, Rosa rugosa Thunb., for regulating vital energy or “qi”, for strengthening blood circulation, for treating stomachaches and dysentery, and also for alleviating liver pains and joint pain. The high concentration of anthocyanins in the petals give credence to these indications because anthocyanins are known for their ability to strengthen the vascular system, prevent blood platelet stickiness and also have powerful antioxidant, antibacterial and antinflammatory activity. Rose petal water can also be used as an eyewash and mouthwash. In China, people treat dry mouth with rose petal tea using two to four teaspoons of the dried flowers per cup of boiling water and simmering this fragrant mixture before drinking. Rose petal tea is also recommended for treating breast pain or mastitis (a condition often stemming from inflammation and bacterial infection of milk ducts), menstrual difficulties, and the brew is also recommended to soothe a restless fetus. Research has shown that an extract from Rosa canina L. petals (rose red) strikingly increases the effectiveness of several antibiotics against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Two active compounds from the extract have been identified as tellimagrandin I and rugosin B. Other studies have demonstrated strong activity of Rosa canina extract against strains of Candida albicans isolated from clinical samples obtained in the course of acute vaginitis. Additionally, the effect of an anthocyanin preparation isolated from the flower petals of Rosa canina was studied in Chinese hamster fibroblasts and Vicia faba seedlings in respect to cytogenetic damage and mouse survival and there were pronounced radioprotective effects demonstrated without any toxic effects. Other studies demonstrate strong effects of Rosa extracts against abnormal cells.

Active Ingredients:
Rose Petals contain: Anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins; tellimagrandin I and rugosin B; carotenoids; plant acids; and essential oils. The liquid portion of oil of rose contains as its chief constituent the alcohol geraniol. Geraniol, with a rose-like odor, is a primary alcohol, and yields, upon oxidation, the aldehyde citral, also present in rose petals. Oil of rose furthermore contains about 20 per cent of l-citronellol. Both geraniol and citronellol are, for the smaller part, combined in the form of ester (about 3 per cent).

Suggested Amount:
Rose petals can be taken as a tea with the recommended dosage of one to two cups per day, using two to four teaspoonfuls of dried petals per cup of boiling water. Boiling water is poured over this and extracted for 10-15 minutes. This tea can also be used externally as an eyewash or as a mouthwash. According to Culpeper, an excellent tincture of Damask rose for treating stomachaches, preventing vomiting, treating menstrual difficulties and excessive menstrual bleeding can be made using 500-600ml of boiling water poured over 28 grams (one ounce) of dried rose petals and adding 15 drops of oil of vitriol (sulfuring acid) and 5-7 grams of sugar. The tincture is recommended at a dosage of three to four teaspoonfuls twice or three times daily.

Drug Interactions:
None known

None known

Side Effects:
Allergic reactions are possible in susceptible persons. Also, some species of roses, such as Damask rose, Rosa damascena, are used for their cathartic quality and an infusion made with only 1 – 3.5 grams of dried leaves can make a good purge. Therefore, caution should be exercised when using whole flower preparation containing green parts of the calyx.


Akhmadieva AK, Zaichkina SI, Ruzieva RK, Ganassi EE. 1993. [The protective action of a natural preparation of anthocyanin (pelargonidin-3,5-diglucoside)]. Radiobiologiia. 1993 May-Jun; 33(3): 433-5. Russian.

Foster S, and Duke JA. 1990. Rosa rugosa Thunb. in Medicinal Plants. Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, NY, p. 234.

Trovato A, Monforte MT, Forestieri AM, Pizzimenti F. 2000. In vitro anti-mycotic activity of some medicinal plants containing flavonoids. Boll Chim Farm. 2000 Sep-Oct; 139(5): 225-7.

Rossnagel K, Willich SN. 2001. [Value of complementary medicine exemplified by rose-hips]. Gesundheitswesen 2001 Jun; 63(6): 412-6.

Shiota S, Shimizu M, Mizusima T, Ito H, Hatano T, Yoshida T, Tsuchiya T. 2000. Restoration of effectiveness of beta-lactams on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus by tellimagrandin I from rose red. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2000 Apr 15; 185(2): 135-8.