Roses have been used for cultural and medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
The rose family has over 130 species and thousands of cultivars. All roses are edible and can be used in tea, but some varieties are sweet while others are more bitter.
Rose tea is an aromatic herbal beverage made from the fragrant petals and buds of rose flowers.
It’s claimed to offer numerous health benefits, though many of these are not well supported by science.
This article tells you all you need to know about rose tea, including its potential benefits and uses.
Many popular hot drinks, including coffee, tea, and even hot chocolate, contain caffeine.
Though caffeine offers many positive effects, including reduced fatigue and increased alertness and energy levels, some people prefer to avoid it or are unable to tolerate its side effects.
For instance, caffeine may increase blood pressure and cause feelings of anxiety in some people.
Rose tea is naturally caffeine-free and thus could be a great replacement for some of the more common hot caffeinated beverages.
Still, keep in mind that some rose teas are a blend of regular caffeinated tea and rose petals, so if you’re going caffeine-free, be sure to choose 100% rose petal tea.
Rose tea is caffeine-free and a great hot drink option for those wanting or needing to avoid caffeine.
Hydration and weight loss benefits
Rose tea is primarily made up of water. For this reason, drinking one or more cups per day can significantly contribute to your total water intake.
Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, which can cause fatigue, headaches, skin problems, muscle cramps, low blood pressure, and rapid heart rate.
Thus, it’s important to get enough water throughout the day by eating water-rich foods and drinking plain water, teas, coffee, and other beverages.
Additionally, water can aid weight loss by boosting your metabolism. In fact, research has shown that drinking 17 ounces (500 ml) of water can increase your metabolism by up to 30%.
What’s more, some evidence suggests that drinking water before meals may aid weight loss by making you feel fuller and reducing your calorie intake.
Finally, adequate water intake may help prevent kidney stones.
Staying hydrated is key to good health. Rose tea is primarily made up of water, and drinking it is a good way to increase your fluid intake, which may also aid weight loss.
Rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that help combat the effects of free radicals. These are reactive molecules that cause cellular damage and lead to oxidative stress, which is associated with many diseases and premature aging.
The main sources of antioxidants in rose tea are polyphenols.
Diets rich in polyphenols are thought to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, as well as protect your brain from degenerative disease.
A study of 12 rose cultivars found the phenol content and antioxidant activity of rose tea to be equal to or greater than those of green tea.
Rose tea is particularly rich in gallic acid. This antioxidant compound accounts for 10–55% of the tea’s total phenol content and is known to have anticancer, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects.
The tea is also rich in anthocyanins, which comprise up to 10% of its total phenol content. These are colored pigments that are associated with good urinary tract and eye health, improved memory, healthy aging, and a lower risk of some cancers.
Other phenols that contribute to antioxidant activity in rose tea include kaempferol and quercetin.
However, it’s important to note that hot water is unable to extract all of the antioxidants in rose petals. In fact, rose petal extracts boast 30–50% greater antioxidant activity than rose tea.
Rose tea is rich in polyphenols, such as gallic acid, anthocyanins, kaempferol, and quercetin. These antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and contribute to good health.
May alleviate menstrual pain
Menstrual pain affects approximately 50% of girls and women, some of whom experience vomiting, fatigue, back pain, headaches, dizziness, and diarrhea during menstruation.
Many women prefer alternative methods of pain control over regular pain medication.
For example, rose tea made from the buds or leaves Rosa gallica has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat menstrual pain.
One study investigated the effects of rose tea in 130 teenage students in Taiwan. Participants were instructed to drink 2 cups of rose tea daily for 12 days, starting 1 week before their period and for 6 menstrual cycles.
Those who drank rose tea reported less pain and better psychological well-being than those who did not drink the tea. This suggests that rose tea may be a suitable way to treat menstrual pain.
However, the results are only from one study and need to be confirmed through more research before any definite conclusions can be drawn.
Drinking rose tea before and during a menstrual period may reduce pain and psychological symptoms, but more research is needed.
Other claimed benefits
Many additional health claims have been made about rose tea. However, they are based on research that used very potent extracts.
Its purported benefits include:
- mental benefits, such as to treat dementia and seizures
- relaxation, stress reduction, and antidepressant effects
- reduced severity of allergic reactions
- antibacterial properties
- improved insulin resistance and heart health
- treatment of liver disease
- laxative effects
- anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic properties
- anticancer effects
While some study results are promising, only the effects of rose extracts, isolates, and oils of very specific species have been tested. Thus, the findings cannot be attributed to rose tea in general.
Plus, all studies were conducted in test tubes or on animals — not on humans.
Furthermore, some of the claimed benefits of rose tea that are circulating online really refer to rosehip tea and not rose petal tea. For example, rosehip tea is high in vitamin C, but no evidence suggests that rose petal tea is high in this vitamin.
It’s important not to confuse these two teas. Rose hips are the fruit of the rose plant. While they have many health benefits, they are distinct from rose petals.
Due to limited research and confusion over teas made from different parts of the rose plant, it’s best to be cautious of over-the-top or exaggerated claims about the health benefits of rose tea.
Many health claims about rose tea are based on test-tube and animal studies that used very potent rose extracts. While some of these studies are interesting, their results most likely don’t apply to rose tea itself.
How to make it
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes four rose species as generally safe in extracted form — R. alba, R. centifolia, R. damascena, and R. gallica
Additionally, in traditional Chinese medicine, the species Rosa rugosa, which is called Mei Gui Hua, is commonly used to treat a variety of ailments.
Still, apart from these species, many other cultivars are used in teas and other rose preparations, including essential oils, rose water, liquors, extracts, and powders.
Preparing rose tea is incredibly simple.
You can use either fresh or dried petals. In either case, ensure that the petals are free of pesticides. It’s generally advised to not use roses from florists or nurseries, as these are often treated.
If you’re making tea from fresh petals, you need about 2 cups of washed petals. Simply boil them with 3 cups (700 ml) of water for about 5 minutes. Once finished, strain the tea into cups and enjoy.
If you’re using dried petals or buds, place 1 tablespoon of either in a cup and steep them in boiling water for 10–20 minutes. Different brands may recommend specific water temperatures and brewing times.
The tea can be drunk plain or sweetened with a little honey. The flavor is light, subtle, and floral and can range from bitter to sweet depending on the variety.
Rose tea can be prepared by steeping fresh or dried petals or flower buds in hot water. If using fresh flowers, ensure they’re free of pesticides.
The bottom line
Rose tea is made from the petals and buds of the rose bush.
It’s naturally caffeine-free, a good source of hydration, rich in antioxidants, and may help relieve menstrual pain.
Though many other health claims surround rose tea, most are supported by little evidence or based on studies of rose extracts rather than rose tea.
In any case, it’s a delicious, light, and refreshing drink that can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet.
If you can’t use fresh, untreated petals from your backyard or another source, rose petal tea is available at specialty stores and online.
Title: What Is Rose Tea? Benefits and Uses