Nature's Medicinal Gift - Rose hips

For years I have eaten rose hips directly off the rose plant for their medicinal value, especially when I have been working in wet condition, as Nature's Medicinal gift - Vitamin C.

How do I eat rose hips raw?

To eat them raw and get the most possible vitamin C, choose hips that are very ripe, if not over ripe.  After removing the spent petals at the end of the hip, you can either peel the flesh off the mass of central seeds or you can toss the whole thing in your mouth and slowly eat the flesh off like an apple, spitting out the seeds at the end.  You don't want to eat the seeds because there is a reason they are called "itchy" and were used to make itching powder.  The flesh has a very pleasant, if not sweet taste to it.

What other uses for rose hips are there?

I have also picked them when fully ripe, put them in a pot with some water and simmered them till they turn to mush, using a potato masher on them to help extract the juice.  Pour the mush into a piece of cheese clothe or use a t-towel to drain off the liquid.  I then used the liquid to make a very nice, semi-transparent pink jelly that has a bit of a very mild perfume taste to it.  But quite nice.

How do I dry rose hips?

I air dried my rose hips as I did not have a dehydrator at the time, although I do now.  I spread them out on a cookie sheet and put in a darker room.  Putting them on a drying screen would work as well.  It took a few weeks but they dried nicely.  Although I have bought the Excalibur 9 tray dehydrator, I think I will still air dry to help preserve the highest levels of vitamin C possible.  Regardless of the drying methods, the hairs of the seeds can cause some problems if not dealt with accordingly but being you are drying them whole, the seeds have had not itching affects.

Are rose hips truly Nature's Herbal gift?

 In my search to find possible substitutions for some of the herbs that I can not grow here or are required to be bought, I look to the woods around me at My Boreal Homestead.  I had an interesting conversation about the uses of chokecherries and it got me to thinking and doing some more research. I created a blog about it  called Nature's Medicinal Gift - Choke Cherry .   Low and behold, it had been staring me right in the face and like a sign from above I got an email from Homestead Teas about this very thing I have been gathering and using for years.....Rose hips.  " Rose hips have many medicinal uses. Native Americans used medicine derived from the rose to treat diarrhea, indigestion, colds, wounds, and as an eye wash for snow blindness. Rose hips are packed with vitamin C. Early western pioneers planted roses near their homes to help prevent scurvy, a disease caused by a vitamin C deficiency." (From the Ground Up, Volume 8, issue 3). Dried rose hips are used to make a fruity tea that is high in Vitamin C, some 50 times higher than citrus. They also have vitamins A, E and K.  Seeds, the true fruit of the rose, are diuretic. Interestingly rosehips have 541 mg/cup of vitamin C vs elderberries which only have 52.2 mg/cup. 

Roses, and their hips, also have may other medicinal qualities.  One report stated that " They are known to have a high level of antioxidant and antimicrobial action. Their antioxidant activity is due to their content in polyphenols, vitamins C, E, B and carotenoids and these compounds may have synergistic effects. Rose hips also have an anti-inflammatory action, as well as anti-diabetic and anticancer effects very good antioxidant properties."  But it also went on to say that depending on where the roses were grown would affect these levels.  They compared Rosa Canina, Rosa Rugosa and  Rosa dumalis, all grown in different locations and found that levels were different in each location due to growing site.  I will include the link to the report if you are interested.... . 

 I do realize that all the various varieties of Rosa spp (over 100) will be slightly different and that site will also affect, but based on the other studies, I think one can safely say that they will all contain the same properties at slightly different levels. A Healthline report ( states that rosehips have: 

Calories: 26 
Carbs: 6 grams 
Fiber: 4 grams 
Vitamin A: 4% of the Daily Value (DV) 
Vitamin B5: 3% of the DV 
Vitamin C: 76% of the DV 
Vitamin E: 6% of the DV 

 With this information in hand, I am led to believe that the roses that grow wild here, Rosa Woodsii, may have different antioxidant properties and vitamin levels, but could be a great source to supplement.  For years I have gathered them for jelly and dried for teas during the winter not really knowing why I liked them or why they were not very often mentioned in literature  But now, I think I understand it and will continue to add them to my herbal shelf.  And I am also thinking that with the high vitamin C and antioxident properties, a combination with the chokecherry syrup and some of the other herbs will be making an appearance on the shelf in the form of a tincture and/or as a tea with chokecherry syrup to sweeten.   

How do I make rose hip tea?

To serve the dried rose hips as a tea I add some (about 1 tbspn) to a mug, pour boiling water over them, cover the mug with a plate and allow to steep for 15 minutes.  After that time, strain tea to remove hips and sweeten to taste.  Enjoy.  If it is to cool for you to drink, reheat by inserting the mug of tea into a hot pot of water.  Do not microwave.

A final google search revealed the following: " Additionally, systemic–oriented autoimmune condition with inflammatory signatures (i.e. Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, allergies, etc.) will show betterment with Wild rose hips. As a cancer–preventative it combines well with Turmeric. As a ward against cardiovascular inflammation, use it with Hawthorn"   This is certainly interesting and perhaps warrants more research.

Hope you found this information useful.  Do you use rose hips?

Leave a comment