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Rose Su B

All the roses are in bloom now, from tiny tormentil to the full-blown hybrids in your garden.

The rose family is a large one with many branches, and many different healing virtues. But they all share one quality, which is something you might not expect. It’s astringency; they are all rich in tannins, which give a protective and healing character, especially for digestive problems.

The strongest of all is tormentil root, which can calm down an inflamed bowel and so stop diarrhoea. Next might be agrimony, useful for treating gastritis, and gentle enough to be suitable for children.

Hawthorn is another member of the family Rosaceae, and it was also traditionally used for digestive problems, although nowadays we value it chiefly for its cardioactive glycosides, which can help the heart to work more efficiently and improve the health of blood vessels

We use the rose itself, of course, to heal the heart in other ways. In the language of flowers, the rose stands for unconditional love, and the essential oil can be used in massage to bring balm to a broken heart. Medicinally, it’s only the wild rose and some of the old-fashioned varieties that are of use, because the chief value of roses is in their amazing perfume.

But modern hybrids are medicine for the spirit rather than the body, and that has its own kind of value.

EDITOR: Su has an excellent handbook that can be purchased directly from her website or from Amazon.

Meet The Author...
Su Bristow
Who Am I?
I studied at the School of Herbal Medicine for four years, and qualified in 1989, becoming a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists ( The road to herbal medicine led from my early interest in organic gardening and healthy eating, through the study of social and physical anthropology at Cambridge, where I specialised in medical anthropology. What fascinated me was how people deal with their health problems when they have only the natural resources around them, and their own ingenuity. I went on to learn massage and reflexology, and worked at a residential naturopathic clinic, where I learned about the use of diet and other natural ways of healing. After qualifying as a herbalist, I set up practice in mid-Devon. Since then I have continued to expand my expertise, with counselling skills, first aid, and knowledge of the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of herbal medicine. Besides one-to-one consultation, I have also taught evening classes, students of the Westcountry Massage Association, and various private courses.
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