Wild Rose Honey

wild rose honey prep.jpg

I love making herbal honeys. They're easy, safe, effective, insanely delicious, and are the kind of medicine that can be made with a tiny carbon footprint since local raw honey is quite abundant here in our region! One of my favorite herbal honeys to make is with Wild Rose (Rosa multiflora), which can currently be found growing here in the Valley and hilltowns alike with exuberant and wild abundance! If you're not familiar with this incredible bioregionally abundant medicinal, you can read all about identification, harvest, and complete materia medica of its medicinal voices in my Wild Rose Medicine post here, but today I'm going to focus on her medicine for the spiritual and emotional heart.  heart.

Rose is always talked about as heart medicine, but how does she effect our emotional heart exactly? When it comes to grief Rose helps us find our way to acceptance- a long and winding road though that may be. She eases difficult transitions and helps us feel into the vulnerable, tender, scared, and wounded parts that need to be processed in order to reach that place of acceptance (or next step in our healing journey), while providing a safe, protected container in which to do so (this is where those thorns come in). This is also applicable to trauma, and Rose is an ally for releasing trauma- particularly when our anxiety is up- again by helping us relax into those scary place (it’s a heart-opener) while providing a safe and protected place in which to do so (it’s also a heart-protector) so we can let that trauma go in a space of self-love and safety, or even just be soothed if that's the medicine we need in the moment. Spirit doses (aka drop doses, usually 1-3 drops as needed) of the flower essence are one of my favorite way to work with Wild Rose in this way, and also as a honey and an elixir (which also contains honey). Honey is heart medicine already- sweet and calming- and the addition of Rose makes perfect sense and tastes divine...recipe below 💕 .


wild rose honey.jpg

Wild Rose blossoms and buds
Raw Honey
Fill a glass jar with Wild Rose flowers and buds, gently packing down. Next pour raw honey over it, stirring until all the plant material is thoroughly coated with the honey. It's ok if some of sticking-out on top as long as the plant material is completely coated in the honey. Make sure the jar is free of excess moisture and the roses are free of dew and any surface water from rain, as this will promote mold. Let it sit at least 2 weeks, stirring now and then, and then it’s ready. I prefer not to strain my honeys because I find the honey does an amazing job of preserving the plant material and I think you lose a lot of medicine from straining. To use I like to eat a spoonful as needed or pour boiling water over a spoonful for the perfectly-sweetened cup of tea with Rose petals floating it in! ✨ 💕✨💕✨

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wild rose in basket.jpg

Wild Rose Elixir

Yesterday was filled with swim dates and harvesting Wild Rose.....it basically doesn't get any better than that! As my friend and I sat by the swimming hole, the smell of Wild Rose (Rosa multiflora), which is currently in full bloom throughout the Valley, kept wafting through the air.....it was truly intoxicating.  What a generous plant to share her medicine with us so freely.

This is quite possibly (dare I say it?) my favorite of our bioregional medicines. Among other things, Wild Rose is a powerful nervine and deeply relaxing.  It's also amazing for the spiritual and emotional heart. My favorite preparation for this might be the elixir, but you could build a whole apothecary with just this plant it's so versatile. Wild Rose works as a tincture, elixir, honey, oxymel, vinegar, infused oil, herbal ghee, glycerite, soda, mead, bath salt/scrub, tea, flower essence, and probably many more things I'm forgetting!

If you'd like to learn more about her medicine check-out the full materia medica I wrote about her here: http://www.milkandhoneyherbs.com/blog/2015/6/5/wild-rose-medicine 💖

I recommend playing with Wild Rose and preserving her virtues in whatever preparation calls to you, but thought I'd share one of my favorites, the elixer.  This preparation really captures the real essence of the rose taste, and the sweetness of the honey adds a grounding and harmonizing effect to the medicine as well. Here's the recipe!

Wild Rose Elixir

Wild Rose (Rosa multiflora) flowers, stems, and leaves (gather the flowering corymbs and 1 or 2 leaflets)
Raw Honey (local if possible)
Brandy, Gin, Vodka or Rum (basically use an alcohol you like that is at least 40% alcohol/80 proof)

Gather Wild Rose in flower and clip the whole bunch of flowers (botanically called a corymb) along with at least 1 or 2 leaflets. Chop it all up as finely as you can- stem, leaves, flowers, and all. Put into a glass jar and then cover the plant material about 75% of the way with your alcohol of choice, and then fill the remaining 25% of space with raw honey, until the plant material is completely covered. If your raw honey is crystallized you can still use it- it will dissolve in the alcohol. Let sit for about a month, strain, and it's ready to use! And if you forget to strain it, no biggie. It will keep with the plant material still in it for months, if not years!  This can be taken on it's own- a medicinal dose is about 2-3 tsp/day. Or you can combine it with other nice nervines. In my practice, I often combine Wild Rose Elixer with Tulsi Elixer and Blue Vervain Tincture, along with whatever else that person may be needing, to make a delicious and effective nervous system support formula.  You can also use it like a cordial and sip on it straight, or add to tonic or bubbly water for an herbal cocktail. Enjoy!

Looking for online herbal learning? Or just want to say “thanks” and help support this blog? In addition to our in-person classes, we also offer online learning through our Patreon Community! Membership starts at just $5/month and there are offerings like monthly online classes, monthly herbal study groups, and more. And if you’ve got enough content in your life it’s also just a great way to say “thanks” if you enjoy the blog!


Wild Rose Medicine

It's that special time of year again when the Valley is awash with the scent of Wild Rose (Rosa Multiflora). Have you been lucky enough to catch it wafting on the wind like thick perfume?

Anyone who knows me well knows I'm basically obsessed with this plant and with good reason- it's amazing!  I first started thinking about working with it after reading folk herbalist Kiva Rose's work with the native roses of her New Mexico home.  I've found our resident Rose to make good and powerful medicine, and have come to rely on it often both in my practice and personally.  It's truly a treasure and such abundant bioregional medicine.

Wild Rose (Rosa multiflora) Materia Medica

Wild Rose (Rosa Multiflora, Rosa sp) syn Multiflora Rose, Baby Rose, Seven Sisters Rose, Japanese Rose, Ye Qiang Wei (China), No-Ibara (Japan), Jjillenamu (Korea)
Family Rosaceae

Part Used: Flowers + Leaves (collected together).  Hips.

Habitat: Woodland and field edges, yards, bikepaths, farms, disturbed soil.

Cultivation:  Prefers full sun to part-shade.  Wants to create a hedge and will sprout young bushes next to the parent bush. Tolerant of a very wide variety of soils.

Description:  Medium-sized, thorned shrub that can form a thicket.  Compound leaves with 5 to 9 leaflets and feathered stipules.  Multiple white (most common in our area) to pinkish flowers arise on corymbs in early to mid-June, are 2-4 cm in diameter, and have an incredible fragrance.   They have the classic Rose Family 5 petals and numerous yellow stamens.

Herbal Ecology:  Rose multiflora was introduced to the Northeast in the 1930’s originally to provide wildlife forage in the winter (rose hips), for soils stabilization, and living fences.  It is now completely naturalized and found throughout all of the northeast, most of the central states, and the west coast states.  Is not present in the inter-mountain west and Rockies.  It can also be found in Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, and northern Europe.  Originally native to eastern Asia- China, Japan, and Korea.  The rose hips do in fact provide excellent winter forage for birds, deer and other wildlife. They also provide excellent shelter and many birds nest in them.  It is a plant of edges and seems to protect exhausted agricultural land, and prevent further encroachment on woodlands.  It is a definite "people plant" and likes to hang-out in areas disturbed by us humans. 

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Collection: Flowers bloom in early-mid June.  Each cluster will have flowers in varying stages of flowering- it's fine to harvest as long as some of it is in flower. No need to pluck off the stems unless you're making Rose Flower Honey.  I like to collect a full cluster of flowers and 1-2 leaflets.  I collect the collect leaves any time before frost. Collect hips after a strong frost.

Taste: Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Astringent

Energetics: Cool, Dry/Contracting. VPK= (may increase Kapha and Ama in excess)

Herbal Actions:  Flowers + Leaves- Anti-inflammatory, Vulnerary, Relaxant Nervine, Astringent, mild Anti-Infective (esp topically), Hemostatic/Styptic, Cardiovascular Tonic, Blood Tonic (esp Hips), Liver Relaxant, Aphrodesiac, Blood-Mover, Shen Tonic  Hips- Blood Tonic, Astringent, Vulnerary

Constituents: Flowers- B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Carotene, Calcium,Potassium, Anti-Oxidants, Bioflavinoids, Polyphenols. Hips- Vit C, Vit A, Vit B1, Vit B2, Vit B3, Niacin, Bioflavinoids, Vit K, Vit E, Polyphenols, Pectin 

Uses:  Flowers + Leaves-  Helpful for recovering from gut inflammation from food intolerance.  Reduces pain, heat and inflammation from wounds and skin abrasions, rashes, bites and stings- great first aid medicine.  Sunburns and mild burns (especially the vinegar).  Skin infections (cellulitis). Heart Tonic for the physiological heart and spiritual-emotional heart.  Useful for trauma, sadness and grief, depression, anxiety, heartbreak.  Heart-opening, and well known flower of love and devotion. Makes an excellent nervine- deeply calming and very fast-acting. Cardiovascular tonic, promoting proper vascular functioning, treating high blood pressure and poor circulation.   Osteoarthritis ("wear and tear arthritis"), sore muscles, chronic muscoskeletal pain.  Helps promote beneficial bacterial in our guts.  Aphrodesiac, helpful for low libido, erectile dysfunction, frigidity.  Relieves menstrual cramps, mood swings and scanty menses resulting from pelvic congestion.  Combines well with safflower or hibiscus for this.  Helpful for feelings of anger and frustration.  Smooths Liver Qi.  Helps with an overworked and congested Liver and excess heat in the digestive system.   Signs include anger and frustration, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, IBS, gastric inflammation, food allergies and intolerance and sluggish digestion that stems from stuck Liver Qi.  UTIs, yeast and vaginal infections. Major medicine in Ayurveda and Unani-tibb. Also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Tibetan Medicine. Great for all classic Pitta (excess heat) imbalances. Ayurveda often combines rose with shatavari as a tonic. Use the honey for sore throats, to stop bleeding and help minor wounds heal.  Hips- Nutritive, rich in Vitamin C and excellent for colds, flus and low immunity. Weakness, fatigue, dry skin and hair (signs of blood deficiency).  Rich in bioflavonoids, important for cardiovascular health.

Rosa Multiflora  Rose Hips

Rosa Multiflora Rose Hips


Preparations: Vinegar, Infused Oil, Essential Oil, Salve, Cream, Honey, Rose Water/Hydrosol, Tincture, Glycerite, Elixer, Liniment, Infusion, Poultice, Compress, Flower Essence, Hand/ Foot Bath, Sitz Bath, Spiritual Bathing, Vaginal Steam.  Liniment-25% Tincture/75% Oil. Tincture-50% Alcohol/ 50% Water.  Glycerite- 80% Pure Vegetable Glycerin/20% Water.  Elixer-20% Honey/80% Brandy. Vinegar- 100% Raw Apple Cider Vinegar.

Dosage: Apply oil, salve, cream, liniment, compress and poultice liberally as needed.  Honey- Eat liberally and as needed (you will probably "need" a lot!- it's amazing). Tincture, Glyerite, Elixer- Take ½-1 tsp 3x/day or more if needed. Can also be done in drop-dosing. Dilute a few tsp of vinegar in water for burns or use freely on food.

Contraindications: Rose Petals contraindicated in early pregnancy because of blood-moving effects. 

Wild Rose at home

Wild Rose at home

References & Resources:

Herbs for the Spiritual Heart
By Paul Bergner

The Yoga of Herbs
By David Frawley and Vasant Lad

Wild Rose Elixir: A Favorite First Aid Remedy By Kiva Rose

Rose Vinegar: My Favorite Sunburn Soother  By Kiva Rose

Rose Monograph By Kiva Rose

World Economic Plants: A Standard Reference, 2nd Edition
By John H. Wiersema, Blanca León

Looking for online herbal learning? Or just want to say “thanks” and help support this blog? In addition to our in-person classes, we also offer online learning through our Patreon Community! Membership starts at just $5/month and there are offerings like monthly online classes, monthly herbal study groups, and more. And if you’ve got enough content in your life it’s also just a great way to say “thanks” if you enjoy the blog!