The different parts of rosa chinensis, commonly known as the China rose, are used in a variety of herbal treatments, many of them designed to help ease women’s menstrual problems and to improve blood circulation. These treatments make use of mostly the flowers and buds, but can also use the leaves and roots. Rosa chinensis is also used in herbal concoctions to treat arthritis, coughs and boils. Rose hips, the fruit of the rose, have been used to treat wounds and sprains. The hips also are an excellent source of vitamin C and are frequently made into a tea.
A tea made from rose hips is an easy and popular way to ingest the health benefits of vitamin C offered by rosa chinensis. Tea drinkers, however, must make sure the rose bush from which they obtain the hips has not been chemically treated or sprayed with any type of pesticide,. Rosa chinensis also is a good source of vitamins E and B, antioxidants and the minerals zinc, iron and phosphorous.
Rosa chinensis is a common shrub in China. Traditional Chinese medicine makes use of the flowers in treatments for stomach problems, pain relief, thyroid problems and diarrhea in additional to menstrual problems. The vitamin C in the hips has been prescribed for colds and flu. Powders made from the dried rose fruit are sometimes used in treating horses’ hooves and coats. Other animals that have benefited from the rose’s vitamin C content are chinchillas and guinea pigs. People, too, enjoy the benefits of an oil made from the hips, which is used in some beauty products. Rose petals have been used for centuries to make perfumes, and they also can be sautéed and eaten, or made into a wine.
Rose shrubs have grown for thousands of years in Asia, where their red, white and pink blooms were quite popular, but not as popular as the camellia, chrysanthemum or peony. Europeans in the late 18th century fell in love with roses imported from China because of their ability to bloom more than once a season, but they found the rose bushes were not accustomed to the cold and needed some coddling. Europeans' desire for a combination of hardiness and repeat blooms led to experiments with hybridization.