The Journey of the Rose
~ A Shamanic Herbal Tale Part III
by Julie Charette Nunn, Crow’s Daughter
The wild rose is quietly growing now outside my door. All her energy is going into the ripening of the wild rose hips. There is a subtle peace in acknowledging rose’s task of ripening, putting forth energy into her fruit so that she will continue. I like to think I am doing the same, working hard at tasks, expanding and ripening my work in the world. I enjoy noticing that rose is outside, without complaining, growing in heat or cold and continuing.
The medicine of wild rose is something rather awesome. I met a man a few years back at an herbal fair in eastern Washington. He noticed that I had wild rose tincture for sale. He told me he was one of the researchers of Pacific yew who discovered the incredible anti-cancer properties in it. He continued to talk and shared that the University of British Columbia has been doing laboratory tests on Rosa nutkana and a few other plants. He said that Rosa nutkana aka wild rose tincture kills the cold virus in the laboratory. He shared that the tincture was made with the leaf and flower tips of the wild rose in full bloom. Up until this point, I had been making wild rose tincture with just the flower and flower buds. Well, I couldn’t wait to try this method of making the tincture.
Just a year ago, I had the opportunity to utilize this wild rose tincture when I had a cold. I used 25 drops of tincture about every 3-4 hours. The energy of the tincture is gentle and rather calming. And I was able to recover from my cold within a few days.
This “Pacific Yew Man” (I call him that because I didn’t get his name) said that the reason the wild rose tincture was made with the flowering tips was so that they could positively identify the species of rose they used as Rosa nutkana. He thought wild rose hips tincture would also be effective.
When autumn equinox comes round this year, the wild rose hips will be ready to harvest. I have heard that waiting until the first frost to pick will insure a higher concentration of vitamin C in the hips. It rains so much here in fall that waiting may mean soggy rose hips. There are numerous herbal preparations to be made with these plump red berries. Collecting the hips and drying them is quite a joyful task. I like to collect the hips in a bag I can sling over my shoulder. Gathering and dropping them in the bag is a peaceful way to spend a fall afternoon.
Once the wild rose hips are dry you can make nourishing herbal infusions with them. Here is how I do it. Put one ounce of rose hips in a quart jar, fill to the top with boiling water and let this sit overnight, the typical infusion recipe. Doing it this way will allow the Vitamin C in the rose hips to be utilized. But I don’t feel like I get enough of the goodness from the rose hips this way so, after I strain this brew, I take the rose hips and boil them again for a while and thus get more juice out of them. I then mix these two concoctions together. It is a bit of work, but so worth it. This wild rose hips brew is deeply nourishing and sensuously delicious.
Last fall I made rose hips vinegar, rose hips infused oil and rose hips infused honey. The vinegar is rich in Vitamin C and other fine minerals. The rose hips infused honey is the most amazing concoction and can be used medicinally when a cold overtakes you. But don’t wait to get sick to try this delicacy.
The wild rose hips herbal infused oil is really intriguing me right now. It smells wonderful and feels very good and wholesome to touch. I get the sense that it has deep healing within it.
I remember the day I returned to the place on the Olympic Peninsula to gather wild rose hips in October. I picked rose berries, one by one, noticing which ones were most vibrant and the varying shapes and sizes. I was entranced with the deep medicine of this plant . . . love and beauty again came to mind, but in the fall season I also sensed a strong pull toward Earth. The wild rose blossoms expressed to me a manifestation of heart, while the ripe, red berries spoke of womb medicine, the deep dark medicine of feminine power.
May it be in beauty.
© 2008 Julie Charette Nunn
Julie Charette Nunn Crow’s Daughter joyfully teaches the shamanic herbal tradition of the wise woman through apprenticeships, classes and one to one teachings at her farm on Whidbey Island and Puget Sound. She lives and works close to the earth, gathering and crafting plants for nourishment and healing. She sees the common plants as her wisest teachers. She is delighted to be expanding her work to include a workshop in Missoula, Montana in September.
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