Rose hips–the fruit that comes from the rose bush–are one of my favorite herbs to work with. They are full of vitamins and minerals and are great for herbal projects.
Why You Should Be Using Rose Hips
Rose hips are full of antioxidants, including one of the most important: Vitamin C. Pound for pound, most rose hips contain more Vitamin C than oranges. They also have other nutrients like Vitamin A, pectin (a water soluble fiber), manganese, and calcium. They’re good to eat, and an excellent ingredient for DIY skin care products.
How to Find Rose Hips
After the flower is done blooming, there is a green knob that forms at the stem end of the flower. This will get larger and will gradually become red to orange in color. If you leave these, they will dry on the bush and contain seeds that can be planted to grow more rose bushes. It takes a few years for them to mature enough to grow flowers, but it’s worth it. There are many types of roses and they can all produce hips, which range in size from very tiny to as large as a ping pong ball.
If you can’t forage them for free you can buy them online here or at a natural food store. As with any plant based product, be sure to not use hips from plants that have been sprayed for pests or diseases. Inspect for bugs and be careful when you pick them, most roses have nasty thorns.
Eating Rose Hips for Health
Rose hips can be eaten directly from the plant, but most people find them too acrid to just eat plain. Try them one of these ways instead:
Syrups, Sauces, Jellies, or Jams
Rose hips are perfect for making a syrup, jelly, or jam. Learn how to make your own Delicious Rose Hip Syrup with our instructions. To make a tasty sauce for ice cream, simply cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, and puree.
Make a Pie
When I traveled to Denmark, rose hip pie was one of my favorite desserts. Prepare them just as you would apples, and bake. No need to peel them though!
Make a Tincture
In the winter, I seek out the local multi-flora rose hips here in North Carolina. They are tiny, but pack a punch. If harvesting your own, be sure they have gone soft (the frost helps to soften them) which is the reason I wait for winter.
- Fill a quart jar about half full with the bright red berries.
- Cover them with brandy and mash it all together.
- Place in a sunny window for a few weeks.
- When the mixture turns reddish-brown, strain and use as a health tonic.
Anytime I start to feel like an illness is coming on, I take a dropper full. Once is usually enough to chase it away. In cases when I end up with full-blown illness, I use a dropper full a few times daily.
Make a Non-Alcohol Tincture
Have little ones and don’t want to use alcohol for your tincture? You can make the same thing with vegetable glycerin. Follow the same directions above. (Find organic vegetable glycerine here.)
Using Rose Hips for Body Care Products
There are so many ways you can use rose hips in your beauty routine. Here are just a few suggestions:
Make a tincture as above, but use vodka instead. When you strain the liquid, use about ¼ cup in a bottle and then add a cup of distilled water. Shake and label. Dab on your face with a cotton ball.
Grind dried rose hips with Epsom salt and oats. Use equal amounts of each. Place in the palm of your hand (or wash cloth), wet, and scrub your body well, avoiding sensitive areas. Rinse well.
Boil rose hips in a small amount of water (just covering the amount you want to use) and let sit to cool. Strain when completely cool. Add the liquid to your favorite lotion. This will provide your skin with Vitamin C, a nutrient thought to have benefits that help keep your skin from aging.
Follow the recipe and instructions for this Handmade All Natural Soap. At the trace, add ¼ cup of crushed dried rose hips. You can also add rose essential oil.
Do you use rose hips for health or body care? If so, how are you using them?