Herbal First Aid: Rose Petal Bandages, My Favorite Burn and Sunburn Remedy

I adore Rose Elixir as a tasty, versatile Rose flavored preparation. I use it for blending tinctures to add depth of flavor and sweetness, as a heart-centered remedy for anxiety, inflammatory states, sleep, the emotional heart and circulation.

Sometimes I blend a Rose Elixir with others herbs to create a heart-centered formula, or a spicy herbal aphrodisiac.

My favorite way to use Rose Elixir is in first aid situations, as a burn remedy. This is where it’s healing properties really shine! Honey is fabulous for burns. Roses are wonderful for hot inflammatory states, and together they accentuate each other.

Basic Rose Elixir Recipe for Rose Petal Bandages

  • Add Rose petals to a jar, about 2/3 full. To make Rose petal bandages, use fresh or freshly wilted WHOLE Rose petals.
  • Pour in alcohol halfway filling the jar. Brandy or Vodka are fine.
  • Fill the rest of the jar with honey (or glycerine).
  • Let steep for at least 4 weeks. Shake often.
  • Place a bunch of Rose petals in a jar with elixir covering them. Label.
  • Pick out a Rose petal as needed to place directly onto burns.

You can see there’s a couple differences in making Rose Petal Bandages compared to a Rose elixir – first, and most important, we must keep the petals! The petals are placed directly on burns as bandages. The Rose petals are precisely what makes this such a healing burn remedy.

I only use fresh whole Rose petals for making bandages. When I am making a Rose Elixir formulation, I often use freshly dried and chopped or crumbled Rose petals to increase surface area for extraction.

One could use freshly dried whole Rose petals for a bandage batch, though. Most important is that the are intact to cover a lot of surface area or wrap around a curved area for utmost adherence.

These Rose petal bandages are so so so useful; I can’t imagine living without them.

Years ago I was taking a sauna at the gym, and the wooden ladle to pour the water over the sauna heater had a short handle, not a long handle as was typical for saunas. This was when I lived in Northern Minnesota where saunas were taken seriously – a short handled ladle is against sauna protocol!

That ladle handle so short that when I poured the water over the heating elements, the steam instantly singed my hand. I had known other people who had the same thing happen to them in this same sauna. One had to spend the night in the burn center, it was that bad.

I tried all the burn things I knew at the time. Nothing worked. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t work. I sat around with my hand in a bucket of cool water for about 2 days straight, moaning and groaning.

I so wish I would’ve tried honey. Honey creates a barrier over the skin to stop the burning process. It prevents the burning process and it is very healing to damaged skin. Everyone I knew was telling me to use lavender essential oil – ugh, that did not work for me.

And really, I wish I had this remedy around.

A few years later I came across this remedy, from a blog I read at the time from Kiva Rose. I experimented on everyone I knew who was willing. I sent out jars and jars of it. Everyone reported success, often amazing success.

I had many chances to practice on myself, too. It turns out that I burn myself often because, well, I am kind of careless with the oven.

We don’t use a toaster, so I toast things directly on the bottom oven rack. I repeatedly stick my bare hands in the oven, and if I’m not careful, I get a burn on the top of my right arm of where I brushed the rack above.

Yes, I have many a burn on that arm, same size, shape and location. Rose petal bandages have been used on most of them, and I can tell you that when I use them, the pain is significantly reduced and the healing heightened.

This year I received a pretty bad burn on my hand. When I was making a cup of chai one afternoon, I poured some boiling water into a PLASTIC honey container, to get out the stuck honey I couldn’t tease out with a spoon. I do NOT know what I was thinking – I must’ve had exhaustion plus Lyme brain?

The plastic container melted as I held it. The boiling water burned all of my fingertips, ran between my fingers to the webbing, and down to the palm of my hand and inside of my wrist. Some spots were immediately blistering or looked ashy white – not good.

I soaked my hand in room temperature water a few times. Slowly, I made it a little cooler. Don’t start with cool or cold water – it’s too shocking.

When I could stand a minuet with my hand not being immersed in cool water, I found my jar of Rose petals bandages. I plastered the hand in Rose petals and excused myself to rest as long as I could with the petals on my skin.

The Rose petals stayed on for about 2 1/2 hours. The pain was significantly reduced within minutes of putting the Rose petals on, and steadily declined as time went on.

I took them off and washed my hand so I could help my kids (and myself) get ready for bedtime. My hand was already feeling totally better and I was tempted to not treat it, but I know that often the painful sensation of burns slowly creeps back. So again, I wrapped my hand again in the Rose petals and went to bed, with a number of towels and pillows around to keep my hand from getting the bed sticky.

When I woke the next day, my hand felt and looked completely normal.

This summer I had the opportunity to use these Rose petal bandages on my 5 1/2 year olds sunburned shoulders.

I saw a bit of sunburn on the tops of each shoulder, so I treated those two areas.

A few days later he complained of being itchy on his back, and when we investigated he had peeling dry skin in between the shoulder tops. The two areas I treated with the Rose petals were tan and supple. The area in the middle was dry and kind of pink – which threw me off because I didn’t see that he had sunburn there initially. Perhaps the two shoulder tops were the most sunburn and there was minor sunburn I didn’t recognize as such in the middle?

In any case, the area I treated tanned easily and quickly with no dryness or peeling. I have seen this time and time again.

Once I treated a friends’ sunburn on one side only – we were in the testing kind of mood, I guess. She had one tan shoulder and one dry and pink shoulder for a long time that summer.

How Rose and Honey Work for Burns

Oh Rose and Honey, I am so thankful for you both!

Honey in and of itself is a great burn remedy. Honey locks out air from reacting with the burn, kind of smothering it. Plus, honey is antiseptic, skin and wound healing.

Honey is used and has been used in traditional folk medicine through time. There are reports of packing honey in non-healing wounds and ulcers, even helping to reattach digits that are hanging on by a thread. The key is not not wash it out, just place more honey on top of the old stuff, no matter how funky it looks. The honey creates a slowly thickening, polysaccharide-rich substrate through which regeneration can occur.

Honey is very, very rejuvenative. Even faky, cheap sugar-water fed honey has helped some serious wounds and injuries. I prefer using raw, local honey for myself, as I am extremly sensitive to sugar and have found mass produced, sugar-fed (I’m assuming) honey to cause my immune system to react as if I eaten sugar.

Rose is a cooling remedy and also anti-inflammatory and skin soothing. Normally I wouldn’t think of putting alcohol on burns, but this is a Rose-infused, honey-laden alcohol and adds to the aseptic qualities of the elixir. All around, a great combination.

The Rose petal itself creates an air-tight, medicated seal. It gives the Rose honey elixir a place to attach. The petal dries transparent or opaque light brown to pink; you can hardly see it.

How to use Rose Petal Bandages

  • Fish out a Rose petal with a utensil
  • Tear or cut to a shape suited for the burn and adhering to the contour of the affected area, if needed
  • Place on clean, dry skin, right over the burn
  • If Rose elixir runs, wipe it off with a wet towel or push back into the treated area – or you’ll create an even more sticky mess
  • Leave it on as long as you can, wrap it with other breathable bandages or towels if desired
  • After the bandage has been on for about 30 mins, it starts to dry and adhere to the skin quite nicely. Be careful not to bump the bandage or it will get stuck on clothes and things.

This is a VERY sticky remedy. Rose elixir is half alcohol and half honey after all. Glycerine is less sticky but also much less effective for burns (although it makes a fine vegan-friendly elixir).

You can cover it with a piece of gauze and a regular bandage to keep it on and protect your bedding or clothes from being a sticky mess.

I’m just getting to the bottom of a batch of Rose petal bandages I’ve had for over 6 years, and they work just as well as they ever did. Honey and alcohol are both fine preservatives.

This remedy is definitely a part of a traveling first aid kit, although I pack it cautiously and in small quantities for air travel.

I can’t say this enough: this is one of my favorite and most useful remedies

What can I say…this is one powerful remedy that I cannot recommend enough (if you are okay with using honey).

The application of one Rose petal can help immediately.

I’ve seen the residual burn feeling completely disappear after 4-6 hours of using one petal, even one hour for minor burns, although I often keep it on longer because it helps heal the skin.

Each time I make this I like to gather as many small jars I can find so I can share with family and friends.

Tell me..have you used this remedy for burns? What do you think???!!!

Thanks for humoring my passion about Rose petals bandages. If you make it, let me know how it went.

Take good care,

Celia

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