Rosehips are the bright red fruit that form after the flower has faded away from the Rose plant. This fruit is one of the oldest medicinally used plants in human history dating back to the first century. The medicinal properties of the rosehip are so rich in nutrients that it’s considered a superfood. They contain vitamins A, B complex, C, E, K and minerals including calcium, silica, iron and phosphorous. Rosehips are particularly high in bioflavonoid rich antioxidants including rutin that help strengthen our heart and blood vessels, and prevent degeneration of tissue. They contain carotenes including lycopene that have been linked with cancer prevention. Natural pectin found in rosehips is beneficial for gut health.
The most common use of Rosehips throughout history has been for the prevention and treatment of colds, flu and viruses. Wild varieties, such as the Wild Rose of Alberta, have the highest concentration of vitamin C, exceeding citrus by 30%. During WWII oranges could not be imported into Europe so Rosehips were carried on the boats to prevent sailors from getting scurvy. The most common way to ingest Rosehips was through a syrup made from the bright red/orange fruits.
There are many different ways to ingest the nutrients from Rosehips, including teas, oils, and eating the fruit itself. You can find Rosehip tea in health food stores.
However, humans must be careful how they ingest Rosehips, because inside the red flesh are seeds, and surrounding the seeds are little hairs that irritate our intestines and can cause pain. If you are interested in foraging and consuming Rosehips, please do your research on how to prepare them.
Rosehips are also used in face oils to regenerate the skin and add a rosey glow! This is what I have done with the Rosehips that I collected. I simply respectfully foraged the Hips, placed them in a jar, covered them in a carrier oil, (such as Almond oil), put the jar in a sunny window and let stand for a week or so. I then drained the oil from the hips and apply to my face once a day, especially during the winter months.
Rosehips are best collected in the Autumn, after the first frost.
The red fruits are plump and hard when fully ripe, but the frost softens the flesh and assists in extracting the beneficial nutrients.
At this point in the year you will find the shriveled up fruit dangling from bare plants but still bright red amongst the brown background of dead plants. Rosehips are also an important food source for birds and animals throughout the winter and spring while the emergence of other plants are being waited upon.
So while on your spring walks looking for new plant growth, try to keep an eye out for Rosehips growing in the wild and reminding you to stay bright and healthy!