I’ve seen wild roses in abundance along many country roads. Most people only think of the rose as a fragrant flower; and in the wild, a pesky weed. But I’d like to share not only fragrant ways to use the roses, but healthful ways to use the rose hips.
Source of Vitamin C
The rose hip is the large seed pod left on the vine when all the petals fall to the ground. They resemble small, egg-shaped cherries. Check you bottle of vitamin C in your cupboard and you will probably find that it contains ascorbic acid with rose hops. This little fruit contains more vitamin C than any other herb. I think we all know the value of taking vitamin C: wards off colds and flu, fights infections, strengthens blood vessels, and reduces inflammation. Let’s look at some ways to supplement our diets with vitamin C using rose hips. Although all rose species produce rose hips, the Rosa canina and Rosa rugosa have the highest vitamin C content. Also some prefer the taste of the hips from the Rosa rugosa.
How To Add Rose Hips To Your Diet
Make Some Tea
The most obvious is rose hip tea. Bring 2 ½ teaspoons of cut hips with a cup of water to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain. Blending rose hip tea with an infusion of mint or hibiscus, or sweetening with honey, will improve the flavor.
Make A Syrup
For children, rose hip syrup is a delicious way to get vitamin C into their systems. According to Rosemary Gladstar, in her book The Family Herbal, four to six drops of the syrup every hour can relieve teething symptoms in infants. To make the syrup, add two ounces of the cut hips to one quart of cold water. Simmer to reduce down to one pint. Strain and return the liquid back to the pot. Add one cup of honey and warm just enough to mix the honey and liquid. Bottle. Refrigerated, this will keep several weeks or months.
How About Some Jam
Gladstar also gives a simple way to make a delicious rose hip jam for your morning toast. Simply cover the dried, seedless hips with fresh apple juice and let soak overnight. The next day, it’s ready to spread. Cinnamon or vanilla extract can be used for added flavor.
Can I take too much of rose hips? No. According to James A. Duke, Ph.D., retired ethnobotanist with the USDA, rose hips are safer to take than your morning coffee. All these recipes you may take freely.
But most people think of the rose’s beautiful scent. Add a few drops of the essential oil to cornstarch for a nice body powder. Aromatherapists use rose oil as a mild sedative, anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory. Rosewater is mildly astringent and makes a valuable lotion for inflamed and sore eyes and toner for fair and dry skin. To make you own rosewater, pack a quart jar with fresh roses. Completely cover with a mixture of three parts witch hazel and one part distilled water. Make sure the liquid covers the petals by at least two inches. Cap and let stand in a warm area for two to three weeks. Strain and re-bottle.
Historically, the rose was used in festivities and the petals eaten. Sappho, the 6th century Greek poet described the red rose as the “queen of flowers.” As most of us know Shakespeare wrote, “a rose by any other name would not smell as sweet.” So go for a walk and spy out those wild roses. Add a few petals to your salad, sip on rose hip tea and thank God for all the abundance packed in a simple flower.
Photo by Yvonne in Willowick Ohio