Summer Solstice is on June 20th this year, but you can already feel it in the air! The sky is still light at 9:00 at night and the garden is overflowing with roses.
Heirloom roses are better than gold to me– they smell incredible (seriously, better than any rose scent you’ve ever smelled) and are really useful in herbal medicine.
(yes, yes, you can eat them too)
Today I’m using rose petals to make a richly moisturizing skin salve for my dry, cracked, achy gardening hands. Combined with red clover, violet, marshmallow, and meadowsweet, this salve will be exactly what my summertime skin needs.
Happy Solstice! And remember, it’s always a good idea to salve up after all that sun 🙂
The bulk of our planting is done and everyone is digging in and sprouting up. It looks like a garden out there again!
I’ve started harvesting heirloom roses, but don’t have a plan for them yet. Maybe a glycerite? A perfume? Definitely some infused oil!
Rose petals help smooth and soften dry, wrinkled skin, so I like to use the infused oil in face and eye creams. It also makes a great addition to an all-purpose healing salve for its antiseptic and irritation-soothing properties.
I once made an incredible batch of incense with roses– I think it had myrrh and orange peel in it too. Wonder if I’d ever be able to find that old recipe in my piles of notes….
This creme is a customer favorite. Light-textured, smooth and creamy, it moisturizes and protects the delicate skin around your eyes.
Handmade with organic rose petals, my garden violets, and fresh cucumber, as well as organic rosehip seed oil, mango butter, aloe vera and organic rose hydrosol. With a gentle rose aroma. Also available unscented (no essential oils).
Now in a new (and can I say, more stylish) jar. I’m so excited my glass distributor has started carrying these little beauties!
Who cares about Roses? With a reputation for being fussy and needy in the garden, I sure didn’t. The tough, hardy ones that take care of themselves (you know, the weeds) are more my style.
But you almost can’t pick up an herbal medicine book and certainly won’t find an herbal cosmetic book that doesn’t include Rose, so a few years back I made a token planting of 1 sprout each of 3 old-fashioned varieties: Apothecary’s Rose (Rosa gallica ‘Officinalis’), Rosa Mundi (Rosa gallica ‘Versicolor’), and Rugosa Rose (Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’).
These sweet shrubs turned out to be anything but fussy! Almost a little too robust, the Gallicas throw seed and are having a go at becoming a hedge while the Rugosa sends out runners in every direction! I didn’t pay much attention to them, though, until last Summer.
It was the bees I noticed first. There are so many bees working these flowers it’s actually noisy! Then, the aroma caught me. All throughout the garden I could smell those Roses. Suddenly, I was in love.
I’d only dabbled with Rose in salves and perfumes, so I gathered as many petals as I could in anticipation of Winter experiments: Oils and balms, tinctures and elixirs. Infused into aloe vera, witch hazel, apple cider vinegar. Whatever I could think of!
Today my herbal pantry shelves are brimming with rosy goodness and I can’t figure out how I ever lived without it. “Queen of the Garden” as nickname makes sense to me now.
Though I did intend to clip them back this Spring, I’ve decided instead to let the Roses run wild. Wonder who will be happier with the overflow this Summer, me or the bees….
Roses used topically are wonderful for the skin. And not only for beauty. Rose is a revered healer of wounds and important first aid plant 🙂
BIG THANKS to Jennifer Goodheart at Acadia Herbals, Brittany Wood Nickerson of Thyme Herbal, and everyone at the “D.I.Y. Herbal Spa Meetup” on Sunday! SO much fun to relax and swap tips and recipes with other bathtub goddesses while sipping Jennifer’s delightful Jasmine-Lemongrass tea 🙂
Brittany advocates using salt scrubs to keep skin exfoliated and moisturized for its optimal health, and explained how this also supports our lymph and nerves.
She demonstrated an easy-to-make recipe that I know will leave you feeling just sparkling:
1 cup finely ground sea salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. lemon peel powder
add a few drops of lemon, sweet orange or grapefruit essential oil if you’d like to make it aromatic
I talked about my great love for tub teas (of course!) and all my favorite ingredients for a bathtub spa including salts, baking soda, oatmeal, and apple cider vinegar.
Vinegar restores skin and scalp’s natural pH and is said to draw pollutants out of the body. A soak in a bath with a little vinegar can help relieve sore muscles, itchy skin and sunburn (*but be aware that vinegar can irritate open sores and sensitive skin).
Herb-infused vinegars are really simple to make and make a fabulous addition to your herbal pantry. Some of my favorite blends are:
3 parts rose petals, 1 part spearmint
1 part rosemary, 1 part lavender
2 parts lavender, 1 part lemon balm, 1 part lemon peel
All you need to do is add 1 oz. (weight) herbs to 2 cups apple cider vinegar. Let it steep for 1 – 2 weeks, then strain.
To use, add ½ to 1 cup of vinegar to the tub when it’s filled. Makes a great salad dressing too!