Rose hips are the fruit part of wild roses that grow just below the petals of the plant and contain the seeds of the rose plant. Once the petals drop the pods mature and can be harvested to be used in foods, medicines, and drinks. Common varieties of rose hips are elongated, round, or bottle-shaped and come in red, black, purple or orange. Inside they are filled with orange flesh and seeds, of which the seeds may be removed during preparation. Being closely related to crabapples, rose hips have a slightly tart taste with a hint of sweetness. These heralds of autumn can be found growing in Europe, North and South America and Asia.
Historically the red color of roses has been a symbol of love, attraction, and matters of the heart and rose hips are no exception! This tasty fruit carries astringent properties that have been known to lower blood pressure, total cholesterol, and LDL (bad) cholesterol. However rose hips are not only valued for their heart health properties. Because rose hips are packed full of Vitamin C, lycopene and beta carotene, they have also been known to promote skin and eye health.
The red color of rose hips has also represented the ability to target wellness of the organs related to the root chakra. The fatty acids found in rose hips, along with various vitamins and antioxidants, make them useful in treating bladder disorders, heavy menstrual bleeding, and urinary tract infections. Rose hips also encourage pH balance and have the ability to strengthen capillaries and connective tissue which promotes fertility and may act as a uterine toner prior to birth. It's amazing to think about how this little fruit can make such a large impact on our health!
Of course when working with any plant material it is important to consider the risks as well. Due to high levels of Vitamin C, 400-2000 mg per 100g compared to 53mg per 100g of Oranges, found in rose hips allow for easier absorption of certain medications and supplements. This may be helpful for some however take caution when using with aspirin or medications that impact blood clotting. Also consider that too much of a good thing can activate unpleasant side effects such as stomach upset, cramping, diarrhea, and kidney stones. Always use recommended serving amounts when creating teas, balms, jellies, and jams made of rose hip or work with an herbalist who has experience working with the plant.
Interested in trying rose hip at home? Rose hip teas are now commonly found in grocery and health food stores. You can also purchase dried rose hips at a local herb shop. Then give this recipe a try! You will need a tea bag, tea ball, or something to strain loose material as well as something to cover your tea as it steeps. Steeping the tea, while covered, for 5-15 minutes will allow the tea to cool while also imbuing the drink with the health properties of the plant. This recipe can be enjoyed warm or iced!
Rose Hip Tea with Mint
1 heaping tablespoon dried crushed rose hips
1 teaspoon dried mint leaves
1 teaspoon honey or sweetener
Pour the hot water over the dried rose hips and mint.
Cover and allow the tea to steep for 15 minutes.
Strain the tea through a fine mesh filter to remove the seeds and any pulp present.
Sweeten the tea with desired sweetener.
Sarah Foster is a Holistic Wellness Educator and Full Spectrum Doula in Altamonte Spring, FL that provides whole person wellness education along with a full spectrum of support for all birthing outcomes. This support includes providing thoughtful emotional, spiritual, and physical support before, during, and after pregnancy and pregnancy release. If you or someone you love are interested in support let's connect! I look forward to meeting you!