Rose Hips (Rosa spp.)
Rose hips grow abundantly in hedgerows and are ripe and ready for foraging in Autumn.
Found underneath the petals of the rose, they look like small, red / orange / yellow oval shaped berries. They’re edible fresh or cooked with the right preparation. They taste delicious and have many health benefits including respiratory, heart, eye and skin health. High in Vitamin C and antioxidants they have traditionally been used to boost immunity and lower inflammation.
Rose hips contain many vitamins, minerals and chemical constituents. Here’s the main ones:
Can help: heal wounds; regenerate skin cells; form collagen in bones, connective tissue, and blood vessels; absorb iron; support asthma treatment; and strengthen the immune system thereby shortening or prevent colds / flu.
Necessary to red blood cells and reduce the risk of anaemia.
Can help: manage blood sugar levels; promote regular bowel movements; reduce cholesterol and improve heart health.
High in catechins, quercetin and ellagic acid all which have antioxidant benefits through helping the body produce less LDL (bad) cholesterol and thereby also benefiting heart health.
An antioxidant which protects the body from free radicals which can damage DNA and other cell structures. It can benefit heart health and cancer prevention and recovery. It also helps maintain bone strength.
Our body converts beta carotene into vitamin A (retinol) which is essential for healthy skin and mucus membranes, lung health, eye health, the immune system and can help reduce cognitive decline in men.
Use in Herbal medicine
The hips are astringent due to tannins and demulcent due to pectins. Therefore, in herbal medicine they are used to tighten / tone and soothe / protect tissues. This makes them useful in treating gastro-intestinal issues.
The Antioxidants make hips beneficial for treating the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The astringent and pain relieving constituents make rose hips an excellent remedy for treating menstrual conditions.
Topically the carotenoids can benefit skin conditions.
Energetically rose is known for benefiting people who need a hug and some love and I always add it to herbal medicine when this is required.
Foraging and using rose hips
Once harvested, rose hips can be used fresh, kept frozen, or dried in a dehydrator or on a drying screen.
Wear gloves to gather the hips for protection from the thorns on the plant.
Squeeze the pulp out of the hip. Make sure you don’t eat the seeds and their tiny hairs as these are irritating to your mouth and digestive system. If you can’t squeeze out the flesh, they are not ripe so leave on the plant and forage later.
Drinking as a tea
Place a tablespoon of deseeded rosehips into a small saucepan with 250 mls of cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Strain off the rose hips and then drink the liquid warm or cool. Add honey to sweeten if desired. For coughs / colds / flu drink up to 3 cups per day.
Freezing for later use
Wash, cut in half and place in a freezer bag / container.
When you remove them from the freezer you can tap the bag / container against your bench to release the irritating seeds from the hips.
Drying Rose Hips to make powder
If you have a dehydrator, you can dry out the whole hips for 24-48 hrs. If using a drying screen, dry until no moisture is present.
Once dry, blend in a food processor and store the powder in a sealed sterilised jar.
You can make tea with this by stirring a teaspoon of powder into hot or cold water. You can also stir into a smoothie, fruit compote, yoghurt / cream / ice cream or sprinkle over porridge / cereals.
You can blend the powder into a cream or oil base for a moisturiser – always do a patch test first to check your skin reaction.
Rose hip syrup
This is delicious drizzled on pancakes, waffles, ice cream or fruit. It’s beneficial to take a teaspoon three times a day when you feel a cold coming on to reduce your symptoms.
Add your washed hips to a large saucepan and cover with cold water.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Take off the heat.
Mash with a fork or potato masher and then pass the whole lot through a sieve into a measuring jug.
Return the liquid to the saucepan and add concentrated apple juice at a ratio of two parts apple juice and one part hip liquid.
Boil for 10 minutes and then decant to sterilised bottles or jars and seal immediately.
Avoid if you're pregnant; breast feeding; have kidney stones; taking lithium medication.
Over to you
Happy foraging and cooking. I’d love to you to share your Rose hip recipe.
Always seek qualified Medical Herbalists before taking herbs and check with your doctor for any interactions with current medication.