This Summer while checking on the blooming status of the many large hedges of Wild Rose here, I noticed that the plants growing in relative shade were producing far fewer flowers, but also that their leaves smelled very strongly, a bit like the flowers, but muskier and more intense. The leaves on the heavily flowering bushes in the sun didn’t smell like that all, just a hint of the musk. Curious as usual, I gathered enough of the scented leaves to make into some tincture. When I’ve used Rose leaves as an infusion or tea, I find that to be pleasant, a bit astringent and the perfect balancer for Rose petals in tea, and I use them as an analogue for Raspberry leaves when I have enough of them (think I’ll switch to Mountain Spray or Saskatoon leaves for that next year though, far easier to gather). I find the infusion/tea to be very gently calming and somewhat blood moving.
Last night when I had an upset belly I thought I’d try a bit of the Rose leaf tincture. The tincture had retained some of the perfumed scent and much of the taste. I took half a dropperful and went, “wow, that’s really strong!” and immediately realized I should have started with a smaller dose. Sure enough, in about five minutes, I felt so relaxed I thought I might fall over, good thing it was bed time! It wasn’t nearly as astringent as I would have expected, though it did calm my belly a good bit, and was far more nervine than I’ve experienced the dried leaves to be. It seemed to share many tension relieving qualities with it’s relative Agrimony, but stronger.
Next year I plan to make far more of this lovely potion, as even in years that we don’t get many flowers we always have an abundance of leaves and in the future I will try a more modest dose. Now if only I could get a few hips. I noticed that up in the White Mountains they too had a distinct lack of hips on their otherwise prolific Wild Roses. The plants MAKE lots of hips, they just rot, fry or blacken before ever getting ripe. Yet when I was up north in the Pecos a couple years ago there were fat fruits aplenty, so hmmm.