The curative potential of rose hips-the fleshy red fruits of the dog rose and other types of wild shrub roses has been known since the Stone Age.
Today, as then, the fruits are mashed into a vitamin rich pulp and consumed raw or cooked. They are also often dried.
Rose hips are used to prepare teas, extracts, pure or marmalades.
PLANT FACTS: The dog rose, a main source of rose hips, grows up to 10 feet high and bears fragrant white flowers. The hips which have a slightly sour but pleasant taste, emerge in the fall, after the blooms have faded and the petals dropped off.
ORIGIN: Native to Europe, Northern Africa, and Central Asia, wild shrub roses now grow in many parts of the United State too.
PARTS USED: Rose hips can be used fresh or dried for medicinal purposes.To prepare them ,cut the fruits open. For wine or a smooth texture in jellies or purees, remove the seeds.When you are ready to store them, do not use a metal container because fruit acids can react with the metal, giving the hips an off flavor.
COMPONENTS: Rose hips are prized for their high Vitamin C content.The fruits also contain such health-promoting substances as carotenoids ( yellow orange pigments with anti-oxidant properties), fruit acids and pectin.
INDICATIONS: Because they are so rich in vitamin C-which strengthens the immune system-rose hips are often taken to prevent or treat colds.They also have very mild diuretic and astringent properties that may help with chronic kidney disease or poor bladder control.The fruit acids and pectin in rose hips can have a slight laxative effect.In addition, rose hips' antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties make them useful as a disinfectant.
EXTRA TIP: Just 1 tbsp. of rose hip pulp more than satisfies the adult Recommended Dietary Allowance for vitamin C 50 mg. To store the pulp, freeze it in small portions.
METHODS OF ADMINISTRATION
TEA: Pour one cup of boiling water over 1 tbsp. of crushed rose hips. Steep this mixture for 10 min. , then strain.Drink 1 cup 3 times daily.Commercial rose hip tea bags are also effective.
WINE: Remove the seeds from 3 1/2 oz. of dried rose hips and steep the hulls in 1 qt. of dry red wine for 2 weeks. Strain. SDrink a small glass of the wine daily.
SYRUP: Put 7 oz. of dried rose hips and 1/2 cup of sugar in 1 1/4 cups of 100 proof alcohol. Let this mixture sit for 4 weeks.Dilute the strained liquid with 3/4 cup of water.Enjoy a small liquer glass of the syrup daily.
PULP, RAW: In a food processor, blend the hulls of the freshly picked fruits into a puree and press the pulp through a sieve.The fresh uncooked fruits can be eaten raw or used to make rose-hip jelly.
PULP, COOKED: Steep the hulls of the freshly picked fruits overnight in water.Simmer this mixture for 30 min.,then strain. Eat it as is or add it to sauces.