Rose Awareness Week: The Benefits of Roses to Humans

Between the 19th – 25th June 2023, we will be celebrating Rose Awareness Week. It’s impossible to ignore the beauty of roses and their transformative role in the garden, but there’s more to roses than meets the eye. In fact, roses pack a bundle of benefits for humans, from top-notch nutrition to delicate natural perfumes. This Rose Awareness Week, discover what your Harkness roses have to offer, beyond their unbeaten ornamental beauty… 

Eating roses!

Did you know that all roses are edible? And not only are they safe to eat, but they can also be delicious and pack a nutritional punch, too! Rose petals are rich in vitamin A, which helps to strengthen your immune system and keeps your skin healthy. They’re also rich in vitamin B, which could help to reduce the risks of heart disease. Plus, they contain vitamin K, which is necessary to help with blood clotting and healing wounds. 

When you’re consuming so much goodness, you’re going to want it to taste good too. Most often, it’s the roses with the sweetest fragrances that carry the best flavour. So, consider Harkness’s Rose Diamond Days with its strong, sweet, and pleasant fragrance. Or the Rose York Minster for a more unusual, yet welcome, zesty kick. Add your rose petals to your salads, for a splash of colour and subtle flavour. 
You can also infuse your honey with these fragrant petals. Once picked, let them wilt for a day. Next, place them in a jar and cover them in honey. Seal the jar and leave the petals to infuse for a week or so. Strain the petals after 1-3 weeks and enjoy some delicious honey on your toast, cereal, and yoghurt! 

You can even crystallise them to add the finishing touches to cakes and other desserts. To do this, simply pick the roses on a sunny day, when they are fully open, and remove the stalks. Lightly beat some egg whites in a dish and place another dish of caster sugar beside it. Using tweezers, dip the petals into the egg white, then sugar. Shake off any excess sugar before laying the flowers on a sheet of baking paper, and leave to dry in a warm, airy spot for 24-48 hours. 

Rose-tinted water…

Rose water has been used for centuries. The Romans used it to treat as many as 30 ailments. The Egyptians used it for beautifying baths. The Greeks created ‘tonics’ as a treatment for headaches and other diseases. Although we have since developed some more efficient forms of medicine, rose water is still used today. 

Rose water is said to have anti-inflammatory properties, which help to soothe external and internal ailments, like eczema and sore throats. Rose water is also said to have antiseptic properties, which help to treat and prevent infection. In fact, one study found that rose water was used as an effective treatment for the eye infection ‘Conjunctivitis’, though it’s best to seek professional medical attention before trying this.  

To create your own rose water, simply distil rose petals with steam. For added effect, pick a rose with vibrant, colourful petals, like Harkness’s Rose Glowing Pink and Rose Raspberry Royale. Whether or not you’re interested in its medicinal properties, you’ll still benefit from a beautiful fragrance, a gorgeous natural alternative to chemical-based perfume. 

The hype around the rose hip…

Rose hips are the accessory fruit to the rose, usually produced in autumn. They are typically red and orange, however, some varieties can be dark purple and black. Their red orange colours are thanks to carotenoid pigments, known as lycopene and beta carotene. These pigments are said to promote skin and eye health. Plus, they are packed with ten-times the amount of vitamin C than an orange! This is an antioxidant that helps to fight against the effects of free radicals. 

 And because roses are the blooms that don’t stop giving, the hips are edible too! They taste almost like a tart crab apple. This makes them the perfect addition to salads, soups, sauces, and teas. For the sweetest flavour, wait to harvest the fruit until the first frosts have softened them. It’s as simple as plucking them from the rose canes with your fingers or using scissors. Just make sure to wear gloves to prevent any pricking from thorns! 

So, roses aren’t just pretty faces after all…Of course!  By growing your Harkness Roses today, you can reap an abundance of benefits.

David introducing rose on This Morning.