Rose is classified in Chinese medicine as an herb that stabilizes and binds because its sour and astringent nature can stop diarrhea and other leakages. It is neutral in temperature so most people can use it if directed to by a doctor. The most common historic medicinal uses for Chinese rose supplements involve the Kidneys, Liver and Large Intestines, which are the main meridians affected by the herb.
A potent antioxidant and powerful (but gentle) diuretic, Chinese rose extracts have long been used to minimize the symptoms of a variety of conditions, most commonly diarrhea and chronic urinary tract infections. For the same reasons, it has also long been used to improve kidney health. Today, we know some of the methods of these actions: powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well as antifungal and antiviral properties. The roses themselves have been used to stop postpartum bleeding. That said, there is still limited research into the full biological and medicinal function of the fruits of this plant.
Another commonly-described historical application for Chinese rose supplementation is the alleviation of the symptoms of nephropathy — a kidney disease characterized by damage to and a lack of function in the small blood vessels, which can purportedly be dramatically improved via Chinese rose supplementation. Today’s research further supports this anecdotal knowledge of Chinese rose’s kidney- and liver-protective effects, even (and especially) under high-stress. Much of that research involves animal study, however, with few human trials, meaning that much more research is needed to verify the degree of this action in humans.
Nevertheless, given that nephropathy is the most common complication of living with diabetes, Chinese rose supplements show significant promise for improving the health and quality of life of people with diabetes (when used to prevent and alleviate nephropathy, in combination with other diabetes control medicines). More recent research has combined what we know of Chinese rose’s kidney-protective effects with new evidence that it has some antimicrobial properties. Consequently, the newest body of research suggests that Chinese rose may be a safe and effective alternative therapy for urinary tract infections.
PREPARATION & ADMINISTRATION
The most common medicinal preparations of Chinese rose involve harvesting the flowers in the bud stage or the fruit when ripe, then drying them. The fruit can then be eaten raw, processed into encapsulated or powdered supplements, or cooked before ingesting. Rosebuds are not commonly eaten but are infused as tea or tinctured.
It’s necessary to exercise caution if processing the fruits at home yourself. The region around the seeds, just beneath the flesh of the fruit, is coated in hairlike spines which can cause mouth pain and digestive distress if accidentally ingested.
Anyone interested in taking Chinese rose or other supplements should talk to a physician, certified herbalist, or other qualified healthcare professional. Because Chinese rose may have significant diuretic effects in humans, people who are prone to dehydration or are suffering from kidney disease should not take Chinese rose buds or hips. Additionally, Chinese rose contains a large amount of vitamin C, making it unsafe in large doses for people who are pregnant (vitamin C overdoses may have an abortifacient effect). Moreover, it is possible to overdose on vitamin C by taking too much Chinese rose at once. The primary symptoms of a vitamin C overdose are: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, headache, heartburn, and insomnia. The buds are too astringent to overdose on in forms where they can be tasted.
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