Rose Hips

Roses have been grown for centuries as an important source of food and medicine. They are not only beautiful to look at, the fruit bulbs that appear below the flower are packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Best known for their abundance of vitamin C, rose hips provide many health benefits.

The rose hip, or rosehip, is the red-orange spherical fruit of the Rosa genus in the Rosaceae family. Seldom found on modern roses, the old-fashioned shrub-type, especially rugosas, produce a copious amount of rose hips. This rose hip bulb is typically smooth on the outside. Inside, you’ll find a mash of seeds and some stringy pulp. A fresh rose hip can taste tart, like a green apple.

Rose hips contain many essential vitamins, minerals and phytochemical compounds such as ascorbic acid, phenolics and healthy fatty acids. As a result, some rose hip uses claim to be helpful in treating a variety of diseases, including skin disorders, kidney disease, diarrhea, arthritis, diabetes, obesity and cancer.

You can benefit from rose hips in many forms, such as purees, jams, syrups and sauces used as flavorings in recipes. Rose hip tea is often blended with hibiscus or flavored with mint for a mild laxative effect.

Vitamin C is an essential water-soluble vitamin that your body cannot produce, so you must get it from food. Vitamin C has long been associated with its effect on the common cold. It turns out that extra vitamin C, such as the amount in a cup of rose hips, can help alleviate your stuffy nose, congestion and other symptoms of a cold.

Rose Hip Herbal Tea with Star Anise, Cinnamon Stick, and Lemon

Rose Hip Herbal Tea

Makes 4 cups

Rose hips produce a mild, tangy, fruity tea. Use them solo or combined with a hint of fresh spearmint or peppermint leaves. Chilled and sweetened with stevia, the tea is a vitamin-rich, sugar-free alternative to fruit juices or Kool-Aid that is appealing to kids and adults alike.

1) Combine 4 rounded teaspoons cut-and-sifted rose hips (ground in a spice mill or not) or 4 tablespoons whole dried rose hips with 4 cups of water in a nonreactive saucepan. Cover, bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

2) Alternatively, place fresh or crushed dried rose hips in a warmed teapot, pour boiling water over them, and steep, covered, for 10 minutes.

Caution

Eating an excessive amount of rose hips to get extra vitamin C could be harmful. Too much vitamin C can cause digestive distress, such as diarrhea, stomach cramps and nausea. If you have hemochromatosis, a condition that causes your body to store too much iron, high intakes of vitamin C could make your condition worse and damage your tissues.

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