The rose "hip" is the red-orange seed pod on the tip of the stem that's left behind after the petals fall off. Hips are formed in all varieties of roses, but the wild rose (rosa rugusa) is said to produce the best tasting rosehips, and the dog rose (rosa canina) is purported to have the most potent properties.
Rosehip tea is caffeine-free and has a refreshing tart, tangy taste very similar to unsweetened cranberry juice. Drink it hot or cold. Rosehips possess significantly higher levels of Vitamin C than citrus fruits. They also contain Vitamins A, B-1, B-2, B-3, E, K, P, organic antioxidant bioflavonoids, polyphenols, carotenoids, lycopene, rutin, potassium, calcium, iron and pectin, according to RoseMagazine.com.
History of Use
Rosehip tea has been used medicinally for centuries by indigenous peoples in North and South America, Scandinavia and northern Europe, northern Africa, and in central and western Asia.
For 1 cup hot tea: Add 2 tablespoons fresh rosehip hulls or 1 tablespoon dried rosehips in a stainless steel tea strainer and place in a ceramic cup or mug. Fill with boiling purified water and steep for 10-15 minutes. Drink 3 or more cups daily.
For 1 quart iced tea: Add 4 tablespoons dried rosehips in cheesecloth or small muslin bag and place in a heat-proof glass or ceramic jar or pitcher. Fill with 1 quart boiling purified water and steep for 10 minutes. Add slices of fresh lemons or lemon juice and/or your favorite sweetener, if desired, and refrigerate.
Rosehip tea is recommended by alternative medicine practitioners for relieving cold, flu and nervous stress symptoms, nausea, headaches, menstrual cramps, kidney and bladder infections, diarrhea and dizziness. The pectin in rosehips binds with intestinal fats in stools before they're absorbed in the bloodstream to relieve constipation and lower cholesterol. The antioxidants and bioflavonoids in rosehips enhance circulation and boost the body's immune system by attacking free radicals.
To soothe tired eyes, dip two cotton balls in cold, strong rosehip tea. Lie down, close your eyes and place one cotton ball on top of each eyelid.
Rosehip tea has also been given to horses to promote their kidney, adrenal, digestive and hoof health.
Picking and Harvesting Your Own
The best time to gather rosehips is after a frost, when they turn a deep red or red-orange in color. They should be soft, not shriveled on the stem. After they're picked, remove the stems. Spread them out on a stainless steel cookie pan and dry them out, but not completely-- that makes itl be too hard to remove the seeds. When they are partially dried out, cut each hip in half and scrape out all of the seeds and hairs. Dry the hulls completely and place in plastic freezer bags. They can be stored in the freezer for an indefinite time or in the refrigerator for a few months.
Always steep rosehips as an infusion. Boiling rosehips in water destroys the Vitamin C content. Avoid rosehips from roses sprayed with chemical insecticides or pesticides. Consult your physician or health pracitioner about drinking rosehip tea if you're taking any prescription medications. If you experience any side effects, stop drinking it immediately and see your physician or health practitioner. Avoid simmering rosehips in aluminum pans. Aluminum taints and discolors the tea and also destroys the Vitamin C content. Use stainless steel or glass. Avoid storing rosehips in metal boxes or containers, as they can also taint and discolor the tea.