All About Rose Hips and A Delicious Rose Hip Syrup

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Rose Hips

Roses remind me of my grandmother.

She was especially talented with tea roses. During the summer, she never visited without bringing a beautiful bloom with her. For the two weeks that I pick roses each year she is very present in my mind.

As I use plants for my family’s health I find that I take a lot of things for granted. I am very accustomed to using roses in my food, but that’s not the case with many of my customers. Visitors to our farmer’s market booth often wonder why they would eat roses, as if the only use for them is found in a vase on the family table.

Roses have a long history of use in food and medicine. In most of the literature, it is the dog rose, Rosa canina, that was used most often. Today we also use Rosa rugosa in many preparations. Sadly, my grandmother’s tea rose is too altered to have much in the way of medicinal value. All parts of the rose have been used at different times in history. It is the petal and the hip which you will encounter most frequently in food and medicine.

All About Rose Hips

These fruits are just about ready to be harvested here on the farm. Roses are in the apple family, so their fruits resemble small fleshy apples. Just like apples, they are best after a few cold nights or even a light frost. The cold sets the sweetness. Rose hips are a bit of a bear to prepare for eating as they seem to have a million seeds inside, but they are worth the trouble.

I like to use dried rose hips in any tea I make for pregnant clients. They are very high in Vitamin C, but more importantly, they are also high in bioflavonoids. This combination is particularly helpful in strengthening the walls of our blood vessels, protecting against infection, improving liver function, decreasing blood cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. Most importantly, during pregnancy adding rose hips to food daily helps to support a healthy placenta.

The high vitamin content of rose hips lends credibility to a long history of the use of the rose plant in addressing the health of the eye. In the case of vision, cataracts and inflammation, rose hip or petal tea has been used topically as a wash to improve capillary health in all parts of the eye. (Find dried rose hips here.)

Both the hips and the petals of rose are anti-inflammatory because of their astringency. The petals are sweet and often do more for our emotional wellbeing. They are very effective for conditions of anxiety. The hips are tart in a tea, but not unpleasant.

If you grow Rosa rugosa and have noticed the shiny, red flesh of the rose hip, it’s high time you thought of harvesting these helpful fruits. There are so many ways to add them into your food! Try a warm tea for a sore throat, or make them into a syrup. This syrup can be used when a boost of immunity is needed, or when you want a topping for ice cream or pancakes that is just a bit different.

Rose Hips Syrup



  1. Chop up the rose hips by hand or in a blender. (If you use a blender add a bit of water to get it to do a rough chop easily).
  2. Bring approximately 3 cups of water to a boil and immediately after you have chopped the rose hips, transfer them into the boiling water.
  3. Bring the water back to a boil and then turn off the heat. Cover and allow the pan to sit for 15 minutes.
  4. Strain the whole mixture through a jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth. Reserve the liquid.
  5. Add the rose hip pulp back to your saucepan and just cover it with the remaining water (get it boiling beforehand), add more if needed. Bring the water back to a boil again.
  6. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes and repeat the process. This can be done 2-3 times depending on the color and consistency of what you are getting.
  7. Put all the rose hip “tea” you’ve made so far together into a pan. Add the sugar and adjust to taste. Remember that the more sugar you add, the better the syrup will keep, but you don’t need to overdo it.
  8. Bring the syrup to a boil for 5 minutes.
  9. Bottle it in sterilized glass jars. Small is better. These do not keep well once they’ve been opened, though you may add a few drops of an alcohol like brandy to help with that.

Have you ever done anything with rose hips?

Share your experience in the comments section below! 


About Dawn Combs

Dawn is a wife, mother, farmer, author, ethnobotanist, professional speaker, and educator. She has over 20 years of ethnobotanical experience, is a certified herbalist, and has a B.A. in Botany and Humanities/Classics. Dawn is co-owner of Mockingbird Meadows Farm. Her books include Conceiving Healthy Babies and Heal Local.

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  1. Peyton says

    Good idea I need to try them sometimes. I have high blood pressure, and having problem taking prescription medications, I tried a lot of different kinds of blood pressure pills. It’s hard enough to get use to it without bad side effects, in two weeks i get better, after 2 or 3 or more months I got swollen parts of my body like face, legs arms coughing etc. I can hardly wait to go to the Health store and buy it so I can try. Thanks.

  2. Jasmine says

    Thank you for sending nice and easy DIY’s tips.The tips are easy to follow,and recipes are natural.So it’s double goodness.I specially like everything Rose hip/ Rose hip oils.Thanks again Betsy and Dawn.


  3. Evelyn says

    Dawn, thanks for this timely post. I have been eyeing the beautiful rose hips that are here locally, they have been calling to me, and now through your blog, I know what I am meant to do with them. You and your family are a Godsend. thank you for all you share. I’ve been out of work, but when I get income coming again, I will support your journey financially. I have gotten so many wonderful tips from your blogs.

  4. Linda Smith says

    Almost forty years ago I had the opportunity to pick wild cranberries and discovered rodeos also growing in the same area so picked some. I had no idea they were so nutritional but having a large family I decided to make jelly with them. I was amazed at the taste…it reminded me of the candy apples you get at the fair. It has always been a fond memory and we were sad when it was gone. Over the years I have wondered if I could use other varieties but never had access to hips. I just used a common jelly recipe that comes with pectin but being from the apple family was a total surprise to me and they probably contains enough pectin on their own. I love making tea with raspberry leaves so wonder if the rose teas could be used as well as petals?

    • Dawn Combs says

      I have yet to make rose hip jelly… though I am imagining how wonderful it would be! Yes! You can definitely use rose hips and/or leaves with your raspberry leaves to make tea. It is a very delicious and nutritious combo.

  5. Liz Johnson says

    Thank you for the article on Rose hips. Three years ago, a great friend of mine had introduce me to what she calls “Healing Tea” made from Rose hip. As her son was a young boy he had suffered many illnesses and allergies, who is now in his late 30’s. Not agreeing with the doctors advice of putting him on all sorts of chemically filled prescriptions she researched the healing benefits of many types of herbs. After thorough research, she came of with a recipe for her healing tea. Her son started drinking it and soon he was over all of his allergies and a majority of his illnesses. To this day, they drink the healing tea faithfully. Her husband had to have brain surgery and was told that due to the area of the brain that had to be cut into it would affect his cognitive and motor skills in a negative way. Well he too drank the healing tea faithfully and when he had to go back for his 6 week check up, the doctors were astounded by how well his cognitive and motor skills were compared to what the outcome should have been. He told the doctors about the healing tea and gave the credit to his wife. There are more instances that she had told me about but I was so amazed that I asked her for the recipe since my health was horrible too. I was on medication for high blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, and for allergies. Four months after faithfully drinking the healing tea on a daily basis I was successfully removed from all of my prescribed medication. Oh, and both my husband and I suffer from arthritis and we rarely have a flare up since we have been drinking the healing tea.

    To make a gallon of the healing tea, you steep the following ingredients in a large pot on the stove over a med- high flame.

    4 cups water
    3/4 cups rose hip berries (dried)
    2 tablespoons dried, crushed mullein leaves
    2 tablespoons dried, crushed eucalypti leaves
    2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves (diced) or you can use 1 teaspoon of mint extract

    Once the tea brew is steeped, strain it and add the liquid to a gallon jug, fill the rest of the jug with water. When serving individual glasses of the tea, add honey or agave to sweeten it to taste.

    I love being able to stay healthy with alternative healing. I wish I would have known about it years ago, maybe I could have gotten my mother back on the road to being healthy and maybe she’d be here with me today instead of heaven.

    • Evelyn says

      thank you for sharing this recipe. It sounds wonderful! I am going to try it. I picked up gallon bottle recently and now I know why!

      • Liz Johnson says

        You’re welcome Evelyn. I might add that you can use anything for flavoring, mint is just something I prefer. If you try a different flavoring let me know what it was and what the outcome was please. 🙂

  6. Gigi Newman says

    I have wild roses on the property I use to grow my vegetables that I sell. I pick them and dry them and then use them in my dried herbal tisane mixes. I mix the herbs together with the rose hips in a bowl and then grind them coursely to get even distribution. Then I put a little in a self-sealing tea bag, and put the bags in a zip lock to maintain freshness. I use this myself and have sold many to my Farmers’ Market customers. So easy and so good! Gigi Newman