The mention of rose hips brings to mind the fragrant bushes of summer, and later images of red swollen seed pods shining from hedgerows in the misty air of autumn. Visiting insects pollinate the flowers, enabling the fruits to swell slowly as the season moves on. To complete the cycle, birds eat the seeds which are then deposited to germinate and grow into new plants.
Nature’s Versatile Ingredient
Other foragers include rabbits, squirrels and deer but luckily there’s always plenty left over. The haws, as they are also called, are used to add flavour to tea, syrup, jelly, oil, wine and other drinks, or to jam, marmalade, bread, soup and pies – all with the added health benefits of Vitamin C and more!
A Nice Cup of Tea
Nowadays rose hip tea is easy to buy, but it’s rewarding to dry and grind the rose hips at home for a fresh and healthy product. Recipes vary according to taste, but two teaspoons steeped in hot water for ten to fifteen minutes will give a pleasing and healthy result. The drink can also be made from the fresh fruit by baking prior to grinding.
A Natural Superfood!
Throughout history, rose hips have served as a traditional remedy for many complaints but today, the potential health benefits can be backed up or dismissed by scientific knowledge. The haws are known to contain one of the highest plant levels of vitamin C, with species such as the wild dog rose Rosa Canina being a particularly valuable source. During the Second World War it was gathered to produce a children’s syrup packed with goodness, at a time when imported citrus fruits were scarce.
Anyone suffering from a cold will turn to medicines and products containing vitamin C. Its ability to boost the immune system has been well-documented, but it also helps to build healthy cells, bones and connective tissue, and speeds the healing of wounds. An excess can cause temporary stomach problems for some, while a shortage could lead to scurvy, which was prevalent among poorly-fed sailors at sea until the close of the eighteenth century. Neither should be a problem with a balanced diet today but as the body doesn’t store vitamin C, a daily intake is important.
Other Health Benefits of Rose Hips
As a medication, the seeds possess some anti-inflammatory properties, with research suggesting that they may bring some relief to those with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Claims have also been made for their effectiveness in dealing with respiratory conditions, diabetes and digestive disorders, while the high levels of anti-oxidants are said to aid the fight against cancer and heart disease, and to control cholesterol levels.
If all that isn’t bring enough benefits, rose hips are also a mild diuretic and contain vitamins B1, B2, B3 and K together with components such as tannins, pectin, flavonoids and carotenoids. It’s even possible to buy them in tablet form but it’s not the same as a nice cup of tea!
About the Author:
Vanessa Tutzke is an editor at couporando.co.uk and specialized in saving tips and health trends. In addition she works for public relation & marketing.