by Cassandra Elizabeth

the stray shiny bits
and pieces you kept
quietly and attentively
brushing off the noise

all mirrors and shadows
the same as the other
but imagined so fantastically different

their hearts were roses
rugged salt water sand roses

almost rebellious in their beauty
— Cassandra

Species: Rosa canina, Rosa rugosa, Rosa virginiana, Rosa canina, Rosa multiflora, Rosa damascena, Rosa gallica, Rosa centifolia, R. spinosissima...

Herbalist’s notes

psychic/ spiritual boundaries- thorns-must respect the thorn if you want the rose...

Because one can only be SO receptive… just enough tension and just enough cooling to have a beautiful, silky aromatic flower that transports us to the height of love- balanced FIRE element for the edgewalkers- offering protection in connectivity and appropriate discernment between self and other.

Sense of smell relaxing smooth muscles- reducing tension-creating vulnerability in the cardiovascular; Volatile rises- tonifying to the vagus nerve, combine with singing from the heart, whatever comes to mind… Mucous membranes are our intermediate between outside and inside and are vulnerable - gentle astringent helps tonify these places- infusion or sweet honey; Obviously want to limit receptivity of mucus membranes (and therefore strengthen immunity) to pathogens with thrive in dampness a.k.a WATER element, the abyss, the potential, the void

Botany & Cultivation

Many Roses are dense shrubs but some have vining habits; sometimes thorny, sometimes bristly stem, alternative pinnately compound leaf structure with 5-9 toothed leaflets; flowers radially symmetrical, colors ranging from white to red depending on species- sometimes fleshy hips orange-y-red and crowned with 5 erect sepals often forming a 5- pointed star shape. Inside the hip are many seed attached to hairs.

Most Roses like to grow in well-drained soil, some tolerating and preferring sandy maritime locations (the opportunistic Rosa rugosa). Others prefer woodland edge or hedgerow with dappled shade or the Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris) that likes to grow on the edge of wetlands or wet field edges, in acidic soil.

The hips of the native Roses here in Maine (Rosa virginiana and Rosa palustris) are dry and persist on the plant well into the Winter making them a valuable late foraging treat. (Some botanic language and information taken from PFAF and Arthur Haines’ Ancestral Plants ).


  • emotional and physical heart medicine

  • gentle astringent (mucous membrane tonic)

  • aromatic nervine

  • antispasmodic

  • anti-scorbutic

  • anti-microbial/ anti-biofilm

  • nutritive

  • inflammatory

  • antioxidant

  • immune system and connective tissue tonic (hips)

  • Anti-edemic (hips)

  • Anti-microbial (anti-microbial/ anti-biofilm science with Rosa canina leaf extract)


Clinical Uses

  • eyes (wash) and upper respiratory (teas)

  • disturbed Shen or anxiety/ depression

  • grief and loss

  • diabetes or metabolic syndrome

  • lyme disease (connective tissue tonic)

  • immune deficiency

  • cosmetic- rosehip seed oil, rose toners, ‘anti-aging’


  • With demulcents like Marshmallow or Cinnamon as mucus membrane tonics (mouth, G.I, vagina)

  • With cannabis (in my opinion a very- Metal medicine-helps us know what’s worth having a thorn about) to direct consciousness to heart

  • Paired with other Shen (the spirit that resides in the heart (TCM)) tonics like Reishi or Yin tonics like Peony Root or nourishing & regenerative adaptogens and nerve trophorestoratives like Ashwagandha, Licorice, Oats and Lion’s Mane

  • With other complementary aromatics in tea like Tulsi or Linden

  • With aphrodisiacs ( Cacao, Damiana)

  • With stronger antimicrobials in oral mouth rinses

I met the very empress of fire
in a mid-summer dream
her voice was blue and crystalline
and came with every expanse
she told me
“If you are wise, you may keep the crown of thorns…
and if you are wing-ed
lay and rest naked on my stars of silk
love comes in all forms
the only one to watch for is the neon spider
but most of them are small …
taste the sky
is full of salt
and the conduit of mineral
— Cassandra


  • water -infusion; in tea, in spiritual baths

  • infused in spirits, mead

  • honey based syrups or glycerin, confections

  • hydrosol or essential oil

  • rose hip jam (processed raw through food mill to remove seeds first, don’t overheat jam as heat destroys Vitamin C!)

  • Grinding whole dried fruits to include seeds as a form of nutrition (although some people complain of the hairs being irritating)

  • cosmetic- infused witch hazel, hydrosols in creams

  • yummy in smoking blends

  • rose petals in cakes and confections, rose water in cocktails

  • rose beads (how to make rose beads)

Make your own Rose Water (Hydrosol)

  1. Materials: large pot with a lid, ice, two bowls- one that can sit upside down in bottom of pot and another that can be placed on top face up), water filled to the level of the upside down plane of larger bowl.

  2. Place fresh Roses in the water

  3. Put on stovetop with lid upside down on pot and filled with ice

  4. Boil water/ high- then med-high heat

  5. The Rose infused steam will hit the cold lid and fall back into the empty bowl

Use this hydrosol as a mist to  freshen face or air, can also use for culinary purposes like cakes or cocktails

Specific Indications

  • not enough thorns (or too many)

  • boggy tissue states (inflammation)

  • grief

  • depression/ anxiety

  • romance and ceremony

About Cassandra
Cassandra designs and grows edible and medicinal gardens in Southern Maine. She has been a student of the plants her whole life and got the incredible opportunity to study with some really excellent teachers and complete the clinical training program at Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism in 2015. She works with children, teaches classes and is an apothecary bartender for private parties and events. Working toward becoming a professional member of the AHG, she is also a partner of The Maine Botanical Clinic in Portland, Maine- a sliding scale & collaborative pop-up herbal medicine clinic launching October 2018.

Visit Cassandra online at