the perfect cuppa for valentines day

A cup of rose tea can put a rosy glow in your cheeks, a glint in your eye and some lift to your libido. Roses don’t just symbolise love they have a phytochemistry conducive to optimum health and the engendering of positive emotion.

Rose flower tea is most often derived from the petals or unopened flower buds of Rosa rugosa or select species of R. canina, R. damascene, R. laevigata & R. gallica var. centifolia. No matter the rose, the tea bears a delicious floral fruity flavour. Sometimes it comes in specialty teas and herbal teabags. Dried rose buds are available in some health stores and most Asian markets.

Traditionally the petal tea is made up from dried petals separated from the rest of the flower while the bud tea is dried immature buds kept intact. Rose flower tea aka Mei Gui Hua or Yue ji hua has been utilized in Chinese medicine for over 5,000 years to invigorate blood and Qi, relieve depression, revive the convalescent and address gynaecological conditions.

In the western traditions, Rose tea has a history of use as cooling beverage to remedy menopausal hot flushes and night sweats and in its sedative and nervine actions to address irritability, mental and physical fatigue and also mild depression. Its oldest tradition is to relieve uterine and menstrual irregularities and to attenuate PMS –

Certainly its supply of calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium and b vitamins are of benefit and also the flavonoids that contribute to improved blood flow – hence its use too as an aphrodisiac – it also has an impact upon the production of sex hormones and decreases stress chemicals in the body; That things helpful to getting in the mood.

Beyond a love token and being a good mood stimulator there are many benefits in rose tea: Rose petals store a good quantity of vitamin C which is immune boosting and system cleansing and that accounts for its reputation in viral illness recovery and general pick-me-up applications.

Rose petals also contains significant amount of polyphenols that actively repair cellular damage and act as free-radical scavengers contributing to its association as a rejuvenating tonic. Polyphenols also exert influence on gut bacteria and on the chemistry of inflammation and further help attenuate bacterial and viral infection.

Rose tea stimulates bile and is viewed as a detox and digestive. Its antimicrobial nature is beneficial to gut health and also to urinary tract health. Rose tea shows some antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus epidermidis, S. aureus, Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Micrococcus luteus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus mirabilis and also against two significant yeast strains Candida albicans & C. parapsilosis.

The tea contains quercetin and ellagic acid – both of which support the body’s natural defenses against allergens and cancers and which have a role in slowing the progression of diabetes and other obesity-mediated metabolic complications. Roxyloside A and other flavonoid glycosides within rose petals have a role in cardiovascular and venous health via suppression of angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) activity.

How to make: To maximise the Vitamin C and other antioxidant agents it is best to rest boiled water for 30-60 seconds before making an infusion. Fresh petals will need the bitter white portion at the base of the petal removed; dried petals are good to go. The standard ratio is 1-2 tsps per cup required.

As roses contain many flavourful and bioactive volatile oils it is good to make in a teapot or covered cup. Infusion duration is 3-5 minutes. Can be sweetened with some honey or stevia. Suitable cooled and served over ice.

Main medicinal actions: Antibacterial, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, aphrodisiac, astringent, blood tonic, detox, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, nervine, sedative, uterine. Dosage: The standard range is 1-2 cups daily over therapeutic duration. Over consumption can cause nausea or headache. Caution: Avoid in pregnancy due to uterine activity. Caution in recurrent use if on blood thinning medication.

About The Holistic Gardener

author of wellness books, columnist, keynote speaker.
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