Stopping to smell the roses eases post-surgical pain?!

Dear Reader,

For millennia, cultures around the globe have associated roses with love. But these fragrant flowers also have many practical uses.

In fact, they have been used for centuries to fight off colds, inflammation, infections, upset stomach, weight loss, and depression.

And now, research shows one ancient rose from the Middle East can even help reduce post-surgical pain.

Let’s get right to it…

This flower of love might reduce physical pain

Roses belong to the large Rosaceae family of plants—which also includes strawberries, raspberries, almonds, and apples. They have a long history of use as a potent medicinal remedy.

In fact, in his Canon of Medicine, the 10th-century Persian physician Avicenna (Ibn Sina) recommended using damask rose to help ease pain. And modern studies confirm that this Middle Eastern rose has many biologically active ingredients with known pain-relieving properties.

In a new analysis of 16 previously published studies, researchers looked at the effect of damask rose on pain in more than 1,000 men and women. (The participants had pain relating to burns, labor, kidney colic, menstruation, or surgery.)

In 15 of the studies, the participants inhaled damask rose oil as part of aromatherapy. In the remaining study, participants massaged the rose oil into their skin. They rated their pain scores at the outset and after completing treatment.

It turns out, both aromatherapy and massage therapy with damask rose oil had “significant effects on pain reduction.” Plus, the oil worked well for all of the pain conditions tested…but it seemed to work the best for post-operative pain. This is great news all around—especially when you consider the opioid crisis, which has reached a tipping point here in the U.S.

Mind-body approaches are effective

In my view, damask rose oil works, like all aromatherapy, by sending messages to your prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain sits right behind your nose—and its job is to process sensations. And, of course, by inhaling the pleasant aroma, it may also calm your nervous system, which can help reduce stress (an underlying factor of pain).

Not to mention, massage is a mind-body approach to pain, which is quite effective for many people. That’s why I recommend either approach as a safe, effective remedy to any type of pain.

(You can learn more about non-drug approaches to managing pain—and which techniques will work best for you—by checking out my book, Overcoming Acute and Chronic Pain: Keys to Treatment Based on Your Emotional Type. I also encourage you to take my “emotional type” quiz.)

In the end, receiving a rose on Valentine’s Day may or may not heal the pain of a broken heart. But it can be good for just about every other kind of pain.

P.S. Not a fan of roses? Well, you’re still in luck this Valentine’s Day! In fact, modern science shows there are more than a dozen types of flowers that are both ornamental and beneficial to your health. I tell you all about them in the March 2020 issue of my monthly Insiders’ Cures newsletter (“Six flowers that can combat everything from obesity to anxiety”). Not yet a subscriber? Click here to become one! Happy Valentine’s Day!