Rosa Centifolia (U. S. P.)—Pale Rose.
"The petals of Rosa centifolia, Linné"—(U. S. P.).
COMMON NAMES AND SYNONYM: Hundred-leaved rose, Cabbage rose-petals; Flores rosarum incarnatarum.
ILLUSTRATION: Bentley and Trimen, Med. Plants, 105.
Botanical Source.—This is an erect shrub, 3 to 6 feet in height, having the branches closely covered with nearly straight prickles, scarcely dilated at base, and glandular bristles of various forms and sizes; the large ones are falcate. Shoots erect. Leaves unequally pinnated; leaflets 5 to 7, oblong or ovate, glandular-ciliate on the margin, and subpilose beneath. The flowers are large, usually of a pink color, but varying in hue, form, size, etc., through 100 known varieties, several together, and, drooping, with leafy bracts; flower-bud short and ovoid. Sepals leafy, compound, viscid, and spreading in flower. Petals 5, and usually pale-red. Fruit ovoid; calyx and peduncles glandular-hispid, viscid, and fragrant (L.—W.).
History, Description, and Chemical Composition.—The native country of this rose-bush is unknown; but it is extensively cultivated in nearly all parts of the world, forming a valuable ornament to gardens. There are many varieties, the most fragrant of which are the best adapted for use. (For some accounts of the cultivation of roses, see Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1887, p. 33, and 1893, p. 603.) The parts employed are the petals, which are "roundish-obovate and retuse, or obcordate, pink, fragrant, sweetish, slightly bitter and faintly astringent"—(U. S. P.). They should be gathered before they are fully blown, freed from the calyx cups and stamens, and dried in the air. To preserve them they are frequently salted. The petals contain volatile oil (otto of roses, see Oleum Rosae), tannic acid, coloring matter, saccharine matter, mineral salts, salts of malic and tartaric acids, etc. (J. B. Enz, Wittstein's Vierteljahrsschrift, 1867, p. 53).
Pharmaceutical and Medical Uses.—This rose, on account of its delightful fragrancy, is principally employed in France for the distillation of rose-water, so much used in collyria and other lotions; taken internally, it is said to be gently aperient, but is seldom, if ever, administered for this purpose.