A Delicate & Delicious Hug From Rose

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Seasonal celebrations are upon us. Happy Imbolc! Imbolc is the Celtic celebration of the hope of Spring. St. Valentine’s Day, a celebration of the heart is quickly approaching us. I thought I’d take a moment here, at the start of the season of hope, to share a favorite recipe of our Heartsease Rose Elixir.

A delicate & delicious hug from rose

That’s what I think of when I take a few drops of the Heartsease. One of the medicines at the top of all the other benefits from this lovely medicine, is that it tastes delicious. And I’m saying this as a person who isn’t normally drawn to the taste of rose.

So why would I be drawn to making this?

A few years ago when our native kin across the country were standing up for our rights to clean water there was a callout to send supplies to help. And then there was another shooting, this time in a club where some of our young LGBTQ kin were shot, another callout to send supplies, and then our kin in Charlottesville, more calls out for herbal help.

Unfortunately, I imagine the calls will keep coming.

In the beginning we sent beautiful rose elixirs others had made. We recognized the need for the medicine rose could bring and we didn’t have anything already made. We knew there would be more callouts. We knew we wanted to send her medicine. We wanted to send something that would help protect the vulnerable hearts, provide a loving container for their grief and just plain sooth & comfort the wounds all of our heart’s suffer from living in the current times. 

A big prescription to fill and Rose can provide all of it. 

And she does.

Enter the Heartsease Rose Elixir.

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The first year I made it, I only made a gallon and that didn’t last very long. The Rosa rugosa bushes we had around our land can only make that much, so of course, we planted more. Since the new bushes are still establishing themselves, we needed to go elsewhere to gather more rose petals. Lucky for us, the International Herbal Symposium happens in Massachusetts and was happening right at the time the roses were blooming. So off to the beach for a little adventure with friends to gather rose petals from the dunes and infuse them right there with all the sun and fun. The harvested rose petals were also used to make the hydrosol right in the rented kitchen.

Have still will travel.

How can you make this delicious elixir yourself?

The recipe calls for four things. Rose infused honey, Rose infused brandy, Rose hydrosol and as much joy & loving kindness you can muster and infuse into it while you’re making it. 

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Step One: Rose Petals

All the different components of the recipe calls for freshly harvested rose petals. I mostly use the Rosa rugosa but I have also used the wild rose all over our property as well. The petals are smaller, so you harvest more, but they are abundant. Any fragrant rose will do as long as it’s not sprayed with anything! Walk around your bushes and gently cup the petals of the whole flower in your hand and pull leaving the ovary of the flower in place to become the rose hips we so love. When the flowers are in bloom, we get 3-4 harvests from the bushes. The whole harvesting process takes about a week. 

How much? A lot. The final recipe is 2 parts infused honey, 1.5 part infused brandy and 1 part hydrosol. The amount of petals you will need for the hydrosol will be equal to or greater than all the petals you use for the infused honey and brandy.

While you harvest, try to stay in a grateful place. Your intention & loving kindness is a key ingredient to the medicine you are making. What are you wishing for for the people who will receive this? Feel it as you harvest, as you make your medicine. It’s ok if you slip out of the space, just come back. Each day when you are done with the harvest make your medicine right away. You want all the sweet rose terpenes in your medicine.

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Step Two: Rose Infused Honey

Pay attention because this is really complicated.

Ok, I’m kidding.

  1. Fill a jar with the rose petals and cover with your favorite honey. Save a little space in the jar because after about a day there will be more room to add more rose petals.
  2. Seal the jar good and tight.
  3. Flip it upside down twice a day to mix the rose and honey.
  4. Add rose petals so eventually you end up with about ⅔ of the jar full of rose petals.
  5. Taste it every day and wait until you can taste the rose (approximately 3-5 days). Strain the honey.
  6. Squeeze with your hands as much of the honey out of the rose you can. We always put the rose petals out on our garden wall to nourish the bees and insects. You can’t ever get all the honey off the rose petals.
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Step Three: Rose Infused Brandy

Same complicated step as the infused honey, except this time you use brandy. 

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Step Four: Rose Hydrosol

If you have a still, you already know how to make a hydrosol. Do what you know! If you don’t have a still, ask around in your community, someone will have one and you could perhaps do this project together. You can also buy organic rose hydrosol from reputable companies online. If this is the case, you can decrease the amount of hydrosol in the recipe if cost is a factor.  

Step Five: Mix Them All Together

The measurements are not exact. Roughly 2 parts infused honey, 1.5 part infused brandy and 1 part hydrosol. 

Dosage? Drops, dropperful. Take as needed. Your heart knows what it needs. 

Store it like you would all herbal medicines. In a glass jar in a cool dark place out of the sun. 

Step Six: Give Some Away

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That’s it. The hard part of this whole process is having to wait a full year to do it again.
Good luck and enjoy the process.


I'm a researcher, educator, guest lecturer, and co-founder of Heartstone Center for Earth Essentials in Van Etten, NY.