Shakespeare said, “A rose would be a rose by any other name.” And, while this might be true, there is only one Rosa rugosa, known as mei gui hua (玫瑰花) in Chinese medicine. This is one of nine species of rose covered in the Grand Dictionary of Chinese Medicinals and one of many used around the world.
Mentioned first in the Materia Medica for Food, published in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), as sweet, slightly bitter, warm and non-toxic; it retains those same energetic characteristics in modern materia medicas such as the Pharmacopeia of China. Rosa rugosa is native to the coastal areas of Northern China, Korea, Siberia, and the surrounding areas. However, it has naturalized in many places around the world, including my home town of Truro, MA (Cape Cod). It is considered a weed in many places because it dominates the sand dunes and pushes out native flora causing lack of habitat for native plants.
Mei Gui Hua is one of my favorite medicinals, perhaps because it is a plant that I have seen since the first weeks of my life (it grows at the beach where I spent much of my early youth and was no doubt in bloom the first time I went there which was within the first week of my life), but also because it is a gentle, yet effective, mover of qi, particularly liver qi. It combines with one of my other favorite herbs for this Cyperus rotundus (xiang fu 香附) and is very important for liver qi with stomach pain. For this I may also combine it with Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis (fo shou gan 佛手柑). I also like the former combination for menstrual irregularities and pain.
Modern materia medicas say this herb:
1. Courses the liver and resolves constraint for liver qi stomach pain patterns
2. Regulates the menses and stops pain for irregular menstruation or early menstruation with breast distention and pain
3. Quickens the blood and transforms stasis for traumatic injury with pain
This was one of the first plants planted at the Autumn Reine Learning Garden, planted along the front fence of the garden as well as in a semi-circle around Autumn Reine’s headstone. If you don’t know who Autumn Reine is, you can go to the first two posts in Feb. 2011.
Also, a note to my readers. I and a partner are resurrecting Source Point Herbs and this url will be used for that website. Don’t worry, I will continue blogging, but I will be moving the blog to another address and will, of course let you all know. Thanks for stopping by and keep in touch!