Roses (rosa spp)

Roses (rosa species) have always been associated with beauty, youth, joy, & love. One of my favorite stories is Roman mythology about the origin of the rose. A princess decided to go bathing in the sea and she swam out to bask in the sun's rays. The sun saw how beautiful the princess was bathing in his rays, and he forgot his duty and came down to cover the princess in kisses. By leaving his post night takes the opportunity to advance and reign over the world with darkness. Since then, to put the sun back in his place, the lord of the universe changed the princess into a rose. To this day, it is why the beautiful rose hangs her head and blushes beneath the sun's rays. Another story suggests a different origin of the rose. The deity of flowers (Chloris) came across a dead nymph. She was very sad to see the beautiful nymph lying there dead. She called on the help of the other gods and deities and they transformed the nymph into the rose. She was give to Eros, the deity of love, who named her the Queen of Flowers. 

This is not the only story associating roses with love and death. It is a common English customary to plant a white rose bush at the head of a grave of a deceased lover, especially if they died before marriage. The rose is also held in close association with the Virgin Mary in Catholic religions, members of the faith often use a rosary (prayer beads made of rose petals) while praying.

The rose was highly revered with the phrase sub rosa meaning "sworn to secrecy under the rose." This meant that conversations and information were confidential in Roman banquet halls where a rose was painting on the ceilings of the room. Covert operations in today's governments are still often given the name of sub rosa because of this. 

In Hindu legend there is a story that Vishnu (protector) and Brahma (creator) argued over which flower was more beautiful; the lotus, or the rose? Vishnu argued for the rose while Brahma, the lotus. Once Brahma saw the rose, he immediately decided that the rose, was indeed, more beautiful. Responding to this Brahma raised up Vishnu's wife, Lakshmi, from rose petals. Roses are an important plant to the Hindu religion and culture, as well as Catholic.

What can roses do for you physically? Rose tea, flower essence, or elixir is great for loving. Specifically, when you feel unmotivated to love or be loved due to stress or tension and allows you to open up for intimacy. It is a nervine that really focuses on the heart area to cool and calm. It is an incredible cooling herb, especially for when you are hot, irritated, stuffy and stressed. Even just rose fragrance helps relieve tension and stress through aromatherapy. Consuming and smelling rose will help you feel good about yourself, I personally feel wrapped in love when around rose, and every time I drink it. Here in town, our favorite restaurant is an Afghan place and they serve the best rose water green tea. It helps aid and improve mood for those with anxiety, fatigue, and minor depression. I've also seen it help when someone is coping with grief and have experienced this myself.

Rose tea, can build your immune system, digestion and detoxify. It also contains antioxidants (lycopene) which have all the benefits of typical antioxidants but some evidence supports anti-cancer properties. Rose hips contain insane amounts of vitamin C as well. When you compare rose hips to oranges, rose hips contain about 40 times the amount of Vitamin C than oranges. The rich nutrient content of rose hips can assist with digestion and help lead to a healthier system, resulting in decreased flatulence and help reduce diarrhea. Digestion is specifically aided when the digestive problems are of a hot/damp nature. There has been some use of roses to treat colds and flu as well, most likely good for when a fever is involved.  

I use rose in a lamp balm I make. It is incredible softening and so pleasant because of its aroma. It is inspired by my high school love of the smith's rosebud salve.... but I'm not so fond of slathering my lips with petroleum. Also here is a posting about tulsi and rose tea.

Get some rose petals/rosehips/rosewater, make some tea, a syrup, an elixir! Experience, play, and get some lovin'.

Information came from:

The Folk-lore of Plants (1848) by Dyer-T.F. Thiselton

Matthew Wood - check out his site.

Beets (Beta Vulgaris)

Next time you buy some beets at the store, don't sniff at spending a little extra for the local kind. You are actually getting quite a deal. It was said by the Oracle of Delphi of Ancient Rome that beets are "worth their weight in silver." Beets were offered to the god Apollo and goddess Aphrodite. Aphrodite ate beets to help retain and enhance her beauty.

Beets come from seabeets, a coastal plant, eaten for the greens. Beet greens are one of the oldest known crops for human consumption. In an Assyrian text (800BC) it was said that beets were grown in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Although is was not until the ancient Romans, who adored beetroot, that people began to frequently eat the root rather than the greens. 

Often times you can gain insight and significance about a plant, herb, or vegetable by looking at it. The deep, rich, red/purple color of the beet symbolizes the heart, blood, and love. It is no surprise that beets are an aphrodisiac! Not only do they spread the love, but they also create a feeling of relaxation and well being. No wonder the Romans offered their goddess of love and beauty a beet, Aphrodite should expect no less. The science behind this is beetroot is rich in boron. Boron is a mineral that is essential in the production of human sex hormones! Folk magic references that if two people eat from the same beetroot, they will fall in love. (I wish I would have know this one time when I had 4 guy friends (and my boyfriend) over for dinner... I served them all chocolate beetroot cake. Chocolate AND beets! Double whammy there.) 

If you aren't impressed yet then maybe space will convince you! Apollo 18 astronauts were served borst ( a russian beetroot soup) when welcomed by the USSR soyuz. So basically, the US and Russia ended the space race over a bowl of beets... in zero gravity. 

Beets are love and if you want a good fiction pumped full of beet references. Check out Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins - one of my favorite authors. 

What does my body get for eating all this pink stuff?

Antioxidants

Aphrodisiac

Asthma - helps symptoms

Blood cleanser

Blood Pressure - helps balance

Cardiovascular health

Cataracts & Macular degeneration reduction

Depression - helps increase mood

Eye health

Plus a whole load of vitamins and minerals.

Be a goddess - eat your beets. For recipes click here.

Want more beet talk?

Carrots (Daucus Carota)

Carrots growing in a garden, if allowed to escape and grown on their own, will revert back to its wild variety in just a few years. Its wild ancestor is known as Queen Anne's Lace (Daucus Carota) - the beautiful white lacey flower adorning dry, abandoned fields.  It is commonly named after the Queen Anne of England who was a talented lace maker. It is said that the center purple/red bloom on the flower is stained so after Queen Anne pricked her finger while making lace. This wild carrot is edible but don't try it unless you are sure, poison hemlock is a close look alike. Carrot blooms were used in ancient communities to increase fertility in women and in men to increase desire. The ancient Greeks had a love potion made from carrots as they believed it had a property to inspire love and "serv(ed) for love matters." Carrots seeds & flowers use to be considered an aphrodisiac. Although, this directly contradicts the laster use of wild carrot as a birth control method. This is partially true because carrots block the production of a essential baby-making hormone, progesterone.

Carrot drawings & paintings have been discovered in the tombs of the pharaohs from the 3rd millennium and was depicted as an important plant for them. One pharaoh around 2000 B.C was depicted holding what is believe to be a purple carrot. In Babylon they were cultivated for the fragrant flowers and foliage of the plant, rather than the root. The roots of carrots originally occurred in a variety of colors from yellow, to red, to purple but surprisingly not orange. It was rare for there to be an orange carrot. Orange carrots were selected for long ago because the color was less likely to tint the color soups and stews. Although, at one point, the Dutch became known for having the most vibrant and delicious butter.  The Dutch said the trick of the trade was to feed the cows orange carrots to give butter vibrant color, which they did regularly. 

Carrots have numerous health benefits but none so widely spoken about as the benefits for the eyes. Carrots even provided a coverup for the initial use of radar technologies in war planes during the Battle of Britain. The Brits claimed that the consumption of carrots was responsible for their ability to shoot down German planes in the dark, instead of the new radar technologies. This has some science to support it because the large amounts of beta-carotenes in carrots gets converted into Vitamin A, which through several processes, is converted into a purple pigment (rhodopsin) essential in night vision.

Carrots even played a roll in English fashion. During the reign of James the I (around the early 1600s) women use to adorn their head-dresses with plumes of carrot foliage because of the resemblance to feathers. 

Carrots, of course, have many health benefits. One of them being a fabulous source of antioxidants (specifically lycopene) which helps offset heart disease, cancer, cataracts, tumor growth, and aging. Another anti-cancer compound in carrots is falcarinol, a natural pesticide made by the carrots to protect its roots. Carrots have high levels of beta-carotenes which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Beta-carotenes help protect against macular degeneration and eye cataracts, people have a 40% decreased risk of these aliments if they consume large amounts of beta-carotenes. Vitamin A provides benefits to your skin and helps against anti-aging because of the tendency to prevent wrinkles, pigmentation, acne, dry skin, and protects against the sun. Carrots also have the most amount of sugar in a vegetable, second only to beets. This is not unhealthy, white sugar, but essential natural sugars your body needs. People use to consume carrot seeds slightly bruised as good roughage for the digestive track but carrots themselves are carminatives, which help aid digestion. 

Listen to you Grandma, eat your carrots.

"Carrots were so highly valued as an aphrodisiac in ancient Roman that, in memorable instance of voyeuristic extremity, the emperor Caligula invited the entire Roman senate to dine and fed them a banquet composed solely of carrot cuisine, so that he might have occasion to observe them "rutting like animals."- Alluring Lettuces by Jack Staub pg 146.

Information from:

Alluring Lettuces and Other Seductive Vegetables for Your Garden by Jack Staub

The Folk-lore of Plants by Dyer & T.F. Thiselton

American Household Botany by Judith Sumner

Plant lore, legends, and lyries. by Richard Folkard