Yall are going to have to indulge me here, for this plant is very dear to my heart, and I will probably get "wordy". (I've grown roses since I was eight years old, my father was a member of the National Rose Society, and even tho he was a burly, "macho" type, the local membership nicknamed him "Rosey"..lol..if you'd seen my father you'd understand the humor in that...theres a photo of him under Cypress in this library) Rose (Rosa Species) was cultivated by Egyptians as early as 4000 B.C. Sappho, the legendary poet of ancient Greece, called the Rose "The Queen of Flowers". One tale about "The Trail of Tears", (the forced "relocation" of the Cherokee Nation from Georgia to Oklahoma by the white oppressor) goes thus: every time a Native's tear hit the ground, a Rose we call the 'Cherokee Rose', grew in that place. Nurseryman Thomas Affleck sold huge numbers of Rosa Laevigata (the Cherokee Rose) to homesteads and plantations. The Cherokee Rose naturalized successfully and is now a common sight blooming wild in the South. I find it often in my wildcrafting in Georgia where there are a lot of old homesteads falling down, and it is magnificent blooming en masse.
Rose is an aphrodisical herb, a funeral herb, an herb of consecration, and an herb of love. The Rose is sacred to Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty. There is a legend that the red Rose gained its color from spilled blood after Aphrodite caught her foot on a thorn when with Adonis. Roses may be used in rituals to honor the Goddess or by a priestess when Drawing Down the Moon. The Rose represents the love the Goddess has for her children, and it is a patron herb of lesbians. If one is consecrating an Emerald for Magickal work use Rose oil to dress it. Rose is also associated with Handfastings and rituals of union. Some bring Roses into their sabbat rites, recommending white for Autumn Equinox, yellow for Eostara, while Midsummer calls for red, and any color is acceptable for Beltane. Add dried Rose petals to Love Oil to increase its strength. (see my oils page)
Medicinal and Other Uses:
The seed pods of Roses, called Rose Hips, are an excellent source of Vitamin C (they have more Vitamin C than most of our cultivated food crops, including citrus), Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, and Folate. Hopi natives gather the hips to eat raw. Rose hips help the body defend itself against infections, especially colds and flus, by stimulating the immune system. Rose hip's anti-inflammatory properties are useful in relieving inflammation caused by sore throats and skin irritations. The astringent properties of Rose hips also make them beneficial for treating diarrhea, bladder, and kidney problems. Considered to be a great body tonic, Rose hips help combat exhaustion, as well as alleviate stress and nervousness. The essential oil, called "attar of rose", is used in aromatherapy as a mild sedative, antidepressant, and anti-inflammatory. Rose hips are also used for soups, teas, jams and jellies, and in baking. **WC** Ripening of Rose hips is indicated by the hip beginning to change color, becoming yellow, orange, reddish brown, olive green, or purplish, depending upon the seed parent. **GT** If you live in a humid area make sure and spray your Roses monthly with a fungicide to deter Black Spot which will kill the plant.
"There's Rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember...
And there is Pansies, that's for thoughts...
There's Fennel for you, and Columbines...
There's Rue for you; and here's some for me, we may call it 'Herbe-Grace O'Sundays'.
O...you must wear your Rue with a difference!
There's a Daisy, I would give you some Violets,
But they withered all when my father died,
They say he made a good end..."
Hamlet, Act IV, Scene V
by William Shakespeare
The above scene in Hamlet wrenches the heart. Poor Ophelia, the fair maid in love with Hamlet has found out Hamlet killed her father, and she went insane from the grief. Hamlet had plunged his sword through a wall tapestry thinking he was killing the hiding King, (his uncle)..who had murdered Hamlet's father to obtain his crown, kingdom, and wife. Ophelia's father was hiding behind the tapestry instead and was pierced by Hamlet's sword and died. Upon going mad Ophelia began handing out herbes to those around her...only they weren't herbes, they were dead twigs and bones...she 'saw them' as living herbes. Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) the botanical name for Rosemary, means "dew of the sea". The ancients were well acquainted with Rosemary, which had a reputation for strengthening the memory. Ancient Greek students wore Rosemary in their hair while they studied because of this belief. Brides wore it to signify they would remember their families, and Rosemary was buried with the dead to signify they would not be forgotten. It eventually became the emblem of fidelity for lovers. Many herbs have been called "witches herb". Personally, I believe that title should be reserved for Rosemary because we use it for so many purposes.
Rosemary is an herb of protection, purification, a funeral herb, and a Greene Herbe. Rosemary is an excellent herb to hand out to the guests at a Handfasting or ritual of union. Rosemary is considered a symbol of love, loyalty, fidelity, and remembrance. Place fresh Rosemary upon your altar on in the temple as an offering. It may be worn as an oil or used as a bathing herb prior to a ceremony. Rosemary is a good herb for women who carry positions of responsibilty, who are striving for success in the corporate world, or who wish to increase control in their lives. Rosemary makes an excellent incense for all ritual workings. It is also used to protect one against dark forces, or to bring purification. Rosemary is said to have been one of the herbs used by Solomon when aspurging his temple. Rosemary may also be used in rituals of death and dying. There is an interesting Deva associated with Rosemary. In Sicily it was believed that faerie folk inhabited Rosemary, and they were able to shape-shift and appear as small snakes. Add Rosemary to love sachets, or carry for protection when taking a journey. Some believe it wards off thieves. Rosemary has connections to the sea, so its a good herb to use with any sea ritual, or to carry to insure a safe passage on the water. Use Rosemary to cleanse yourself before rituals.
Medicinal and Other Uses:
Rosemary is a carminative (gas relieving) and an antispasmodic. Rosemary is an excellent herb to add to warm towels being applied to headaches. It invigorates the circulation and stimulates digestion as well. Rosemary is an astringent, nervine, antiseptic, diuretic, and cardiac tonic. It can help promote sweating and bile flow. Rosemary oil can increase blood flow to an area, act as an analgesic, its an antirheumatic, and a general stimulant. Some use the oil as a hair tonic to encourage growth. Rosemary is found in numerous commercial shampoos and cosmetics. And, of course...Rosemary is a great cooking herb. **WC** The undiluted oil should never be taken internally. **GT** Rosemary can tolerate dry areas well. It is easier to propagate it from rooted cuttings than seed.
Rowan (Sorbus Species, also known as Luis, Witch Tree, Witchwood, European Mountainash, Delight of the Eye, Ran Tree, Roden-Quicken, Mountain Ash, Thor's Helper, Whitty, Roundwood, Wicken-tree, Witchbane, Common Whitebeam, Wild Service Tree, Royentree, and Swedish Whitebeam) was once was known in Europe as a tree of house protection that could ward off unwelcome visitations. The common name for the tree, "Rowan" is derived from the old Norse word "Røn" meaning "rune". The Norsemen carved their runic alphabet on tablets of Rowan as well as stone. Some say the name comes from the Sanskrit "Runall" meaning "magician". Rowan's Celtic name is "Luis", and it is the second letter in the Beith-Luis-Fearn alphabet of the Celts. Fairies were said to celebrate and dance around the Rowan. In Ireland it is believed the Sidhe brought the seeds to "Eire" from the Fairyland. Roman officials carried staffs made of Rowan as symbols of their authority. Even though many of Rowan's nicknames contain the word "Ash", it is not related to the Ash family. (This came about due to the leaf structures of both trees being so similar)
Rowan is an herb of countermagick, a visionary herb, and an herb of protection ruled by the Sun and Moon. Rowan respresents the Divine Mother manifest upon the Earth. Some make wands for divining metal from Rowan wood. Its invocator can be Thor, Brigid, or Rauni. The Silver Branch carried in Druid rites to represent and honor the Goddess, is made of Rowan. Rowan is used for healing, and psychic power. Rowan is also used for protection, especially against dark psychic forces. A Rowan wand is most excellent to draw the Circle, and a wand of Rowan is a great source of wisdom and knowledge. Rowan is often called "Witch Tree" because a pattern on the berries of some varieties resembles a pentagram (See photo to left). Add the leaves or berries to incense for scrying. Rowan is a good herb to add to luck and success sachets and charms. Use Rowan to invoke the Goddess when asking for help, direction, or bounty. The berries or wood may be used to invite familiars, astral guides, and teachers from the world of spirit. Rowan may be used in house blessings in any form. Gather Rowan at Beltane and tie with red string to hang above portals to protect your home. Some believe Rowan protects against lightening.
Medicinal and Other Uses:
Rowan berries are a good source of Vitamin C. Rowan flowers give rise to bitter scarlet berries in September which can be used to make jelly, or a type of brandy or wine. The berries taste similar to cranberries. A tea can be made from the berries to use as an astringent in treating hemmorhids and diarrhea. The wood is used for tool handles and other wooden wares. **GT** Rowans need full sun, but they don't like intense heat. They should be watered well and mulched during periods of dry weather.
Rue (Ruta Graveolens, also called Herb-of-Grace, Herbygrass, and Garden Rue) was much used by the Ancients; Hippocrates specially commended it, and it constituted a chief ingredient of the famous antidote to poison used by Mithridates. The name "Ruta" is from the Greek "Reuo", meaning "to set free", because this herb was considered so efficacious in treating various diseases. Pliny reported Rue to be so good for the preservation of sight that the painters of his time used to devour a great quantity of it. In olden days Rue, called "Herb of Grace", stood for sorrow and repentance. (See my exerpt out of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" above under Rosemary) I discussed Shakespeare's use of Rue with Prof. Ed Baker (a Shakespearean scholar). Prof. Baker related the following regarding the exerpt above: "Sometimes the best understanding comes from the mad. Rue stands for sorrow and repentance. By stating that he (the King/Murderer/Incestuous brother-in-law) must wear his 'differently', she seems to be making a statement about his guilt, especially when followed by a Daisy (infidelity, the King’s marriage to his sister-in-law) and the fact that she has no Violets for him (faithfulness), which tends to reinforce his infidelity."
Rue is a countermagick herb, a Greene Herbe, a visionary herb, and an herb of protection, purification, and consecration ruled by Mars. Rue is an excellent herb to use for house blessings and in Magick to bring both protection and good fortune to one's home and family. Rue has a strong, sunny disposition. It was once grown around temples in Rome which had been dedicated to the god Mars. Rue has an affinity for Rubies, so store a Ruby with your ritual Rue. For those who work within the astral or who journey often, Rue is a good herb to carry with you for protection.
Medicinal and Other Uses:
Rue is used as an anti-spasmodic, emmenagogue, anti-tussive, anti-microbial, bitter, and abortifacient. Rue will ease griping and bowel tension. Its also used to increase peripheral circulation and lower elevated blood pressure. Some chew the leaf to relieve tension headaches. Rue can also be used as an insect repellent. **WC** The herb should be collected before the flowers open in the summer. Caution: oil of Rue is a powerful abortifacient, therefore the plant is best avoided during pregnancy. **GT** Rue leaves are food for the black swallowtail caterpillar (Butterfly).
The S's Are Next...
A Compendium of Herbal Magick by Paul Beyerl
A Modern Herbal by Maud Grieve (Vol 1 & 2)
Magickal Herbalism by Scott Cunningham
Edible Wild Plants by Thomas S. Elias & Peter A. Dykeman
Indian Herbalogy by Alma R. Hutchens
Sacred Plant Medicine by Stephen Harrod Buhner
Coyote Medicine by Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D.
Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants by "Wildman" Steve Brill
The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman
The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody
Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham
Magic and Medicine of Plants by Inge N. Dobelis
The White Goddess by Robert Graves
Information given on this site is not intended to be taken as a replacement for medical advice. Any person with a condition requiring medical attention should consult a medical doctor. This information is given as reference only.