Rosa Gallica (U. S. P.)—Red Rose.
Preparations: Confection of Rose - Honey of Rose - Infusion of Linseed - Fluid Extract of Rose - Syrup of Rose
Related plants: Rosa Canina.—Dog Rose - Rosa Centifolia (U. S. P.)—Pale Rose - Oleum Rosae (U. S. P.)—Oil of Rose
"The petals of Rosa gallica, Linné, collected before expanding"—(U. S. P.).
COMMON NAMES AND SYNONYMS: Red rose petals, French rose, Provence rose; Flores rosarum rubrarum, Rosae gallicae petala (Br.).
ILLUSTRATION: Bentley and Trimen, Med. Plants, 104.
Botanical Source.—The Red, French or Provence rose is a dwarfish, short-branched bush, 2 to 3 feet high, with the stem and petioles armed with numerous fine, nearly equal, uniform prickles and glandular bristles intermixed; the leaflets, mostly 5, are stiff, elliptical, and rugose. The flowers are large, erect, and several together, with leafy bracts; sepals ovate, leafy, and compound. Petals 5 or more, obcordate, large, spreading, and of a rich crimson color. The fruit is oblong or ovoid, glossy, and very coriaceous (L.—W.).
History and Description.—This plant is indigenous to Austria and other parts of the middle and south of Europe, and is common in the gardens of that country and the United States. There are a great many varieties known in cultivation. With this plant as with other species, cultivation multiplies the petals very much, by the conversion of stamina. The official parts are the petals. They should be collected previous to the expansion of the flowers, freed from their calyces and claws or heels, and speedily dried in the sun or by artificial heat. When dried they are sifted to remove the stamens and insects, and should be kept in a dry place, as for instance, in well-covered tin canisters or bottles. "When dried they have a velvety appearance; their color is purplish-red; their odor is much improved by desiccation" (Pareira). As officially described they are "usually in small cones, consisting of numerous imbricated, roundish, retuse, deep purple-colored, yellow-clawed petals, having a roseate odor and a bitterish, slightly acidulous and distinctly astringent taste"—(U. S. P.).
Chemical Composition.—Infusion of red rose yields a black precipitate with ferric salts, and is changed to a scarlet color by sulphuric acid. Water takes up their properties. Cartier found in the petals volatile oil, coloring matter, tannic and gallic acids, fatty matter, albumen, soluble potassium salts (the ash containing 42 to 44 per cent of potassa, Niederstadt), calcareous insoluble salts, silica, and oxide of iron. Filhol found a notable quantity of quercitrin in them, to which he attributes their astringency, also a large amount (20 per cent) of non-crystallizable sugar. Bowman (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1869, p. 194) finds 5.4 per cent of tannin present. The coloring matter, according to H. Senier (1877), is insoluble in ether which dissolves quercitrin and fat, soluble in much alcohol, precipitated by lead acetate. Acids color it a more vivid red, while alkalies turn it dark-red with green reflection, then yellow. Adulteration sometimes consists in artificially dyeing rose leaves with aniline colors (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1881, p. 314).
Action and Medical Uses.—Red roses are tonic and mildly astringent. They have been used in passive hemorrhages, and excessive mucous discharges. They have also been found beneficial in bowel complaints, and are more commonly used in ophthalmic diseases as a poultice, or, the pith of sassafras and infusion of roses as a collyrium in acute ophthalmia. The infusion is also used as a vehicle for various other remedies. The confection is mostly employed as a basis for making pills. If iron be added to the confection, or any of its preparations, it forms a hard black pill, which passes through the alimentary canal unchanged.