Rose, Rose, so stunning!
Rose, Rose, so ravishing!
You open in late summer on tip of a branch,
Rose, Rose, I love you!
- 玫瑰玫瑰我愛你 (Rose, Rose, I Love You) a Mandarin pop song from the 1940s composed by Chen Gexin and first recorded by Yao Lee
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), each individual has a unique response to health and disease based on the nature and energy balance of their organ meridians. Energy balance is explained in terms of five elements (water, wood, fire, earth and metal) that are balanced or imbalanced in the five organ meridians (liver, heart, spleen, lungs and kidneys). The five colours of green, red, yellow, white and black and the five emotions of anger, joy, worry, sad and fear are also intertwined in the mix, resulting in complex relationships that can be used to classify every aspect of a person’s physical, emotional, and spiritual health. We look to these linkages to understand how individuals respond to health and disease.
I find these connections fascinating, and I've spent over twenty years researching the five elements. To me, TCM is the knowledge collected for over 5000 years and the link between us and our natural environment. Different herbs and botanicals affect the five elements, and in this post I would like to share some of my knowledge about the relationship of TCM and a particular flower
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and one flower reigned supreme. Roses are most commonly associated with love and romance. In TCM, herbs, food and plants that are red in colour are associated with the feelings of joy and happiness and they nourish the heart meridian. TCM teaches that the heart is a mirror and sad, angry or strong emotional moments can cause a stagnant flow of "chi" and blood. We can align this imbalance with red roses that are used in traditional Chinese herbal teas to remove blood stagnation and to allow blood to flow smoothly. Red roses nourish the heart to bring joy and happiness. They are often used in teas to relieve menopause or pre-menstrual problems and to relieve emotional fluctuations. When your physical heart is nourished and blood is circulated throughout the body, the spiritual heart can send joy outwards into the world.
Every morning I prepare a rose tea with dried red roses, chrysanthemums flowers, goji berries and Chinese red dates in a tea bag so I can enjoy this fragrant infusion throughout the day. It keeps me calm and happy, and I swear I get better sleep as a result! Try using red rose in your tea the next time you want to drink a warm beverage; your heart and health will thank you!
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Kastner, J. (2009). A Introduction to the Basic Principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Chinese Dietetics: Traditional Chinese Nutrition Theory. Chinese Nutrition Therapy. doi: 10.1055/b-0034-67023
Shimada, A., Ueno, H., Inagaki, M., & Yoshimitsu, H. (2020). Comparative studies of the biological activities of selected herbal extracts and phenolic compounds isolated from Rosa gallica. Zeitschrift Für Naturforschung C, 75(1-2), 31–39. doi: 10.1515/znc-2019-0117