Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gather ye rose hips while ye may: Homestead Herbal

Fall is rosehip season. We gather the rosehips from the abundant wild rose plants that are scattered around our 140 acres. Then we dry them for winter tea. They taste citrus-y like lemons and add vitamin C to our diets -- a good antioxidant and useful for cold or flu symptoms.

A recent case of Swine Flu in New Zealand was treated successfully with IV vitamin C, after all other therapies had failed. Vitamin C works by combating free-radical damage caused by oxidization of our cells -- adding fresh electrons to our body system for cell regeneration.

Rosehips contain tannins, vitamin C, pectin, caratene, fruit acids and fatty oils. A syrup can be made from the fresh hips after the blossom end and seeds are removed from the fruit. Add honey to a strong decoction made with fresh hips. Keep refrigerated.

We prefer to make a rosehip tea and sweeten the tea with honey when ever needed, at the first sign of cold or flu symptoms.

To dry rosehips, remove the blossom end from fresh hips and put on the lowest shelf of a dehydrator when you are drying other fruits. Stir once a day until very dry and hard. Store in a glass jar away from light. Crush hips in a mortar and fill a tea ball to make a strong decoction.

To treat cold or flu symptoms add peppermint leaves, juniper berries, wild strawberry leaves, golden rod leaves, oregano, or willow bark.

Other plants that are rich vitimin C -- spruce or pine needles -- gather from the wild as needed year round.


  1. for those of us who are city folks can you take a picture of rose hips and post it. thanks

  2. Do you dry your hips in a dehydrator or just on a screen or something. Isn't the vitamin C kind of volitile? We have lots of hips here and I was just thinking about gathering them too. I often end up feeding them to my chickens because I haven't quite got the hip drying down.

  3. Hi, Brigid
    I dry them in my dehydrator on the very bottom shelf at a fairly low temperature. Usually at this time of year I also have apples or pears drying at the same time so it doesn't use extra electricity.

    If you have a wood stove you can dry them on a shelf above the stove pipe or in the warming cabinet.

    Or in your oven with just the light bulb on. They are fairly dry so it doesn't take much heat just a lot of air circulation.

  4. I finally got a picture of the rosehips up. Sorry for the delay. Aren't they pretty? Birds and goats like them too, so they don't keep on the rose bushes very long once they are ripe.