Rose hips are a perennial plant with thorny branches that give way to pink and white flowers and scarlet fruits, called “hips.” These rose hips are the ripe ovaries or seeded fruit of roses forming on branches after the flower. They are oval in shape and appear fleshy, shrunken, and wrinkled. Inside the hips are 3 or more small yellow-brown seeds. R. canina is native to Europe, North Africa, and temperate areas of Asia. The fruits (hips) are picked in autumn and used medicinally.
Scientific names: Commonly derived from Rosa canina, R. rugosa, R. acicularis, or R. cinnamomea. Numerous other species of rose have been used for the preparation of rose hips.
Common names: Rose hips also are known as heps and dog rose (R. canina).
Rose hips are typically colored orange or red and resemble a berry. Rose hips are the fruit of rose bushes and, when fresh, can have more than 60 times as much vitamin C as one orange. The rose hips valued for their medicinal use in folk medicine come from two rose varieties: Rosa gallica and Rosa canina, which are native to Asia, Northern Africa and Europe. The medicinal properties of rose hips can be obtained by using them to make teas, syrups and jellies. They are also used to make oils that are used to help the complexion. Rose hips have many culinary uses. They are used in soups, stews, puddings, apple sauce, tarts, breads, pie, jam and marmalade.
However, what makes Rose hips extra special is that it also serves as an herbal medicine and a holistic treatment for a lot of diseases and conditions. Rose hips provide a robust source of vitamin C and are believed to have more vitamin C than any other citrus fruit.
Modern medical scientists have found out that the Rose hips have an anti-inflammatory property that helps patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis, a known condition that causes the breakdown of important joint cartilages that allows bones to rub against other bones thus causing loss of movement and pain during sudden movements.
The scientists have found out that a powder of a wild variety of rose hip known as Rosa canina can be “three times more effective than standard paracetamol” in pain remedy and also highly effective and powerful than glucosamine.
Researchers based in Denmark also reported their conclusion based on a study, that patients who consumed daily a rose powder made from dog rose enjoyed lesser joint pain and stiffness and an overall improvement in posture, mood and well being within 4 months of rose hips treatment. They also gathered that it is because rosehips contain a high amount of antioxidant flavonoids which is known to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties.
Rose hips also protects from cardiovascular disease and cancer because it contains a high dose of anthocyanins, catechins and other known phytochemicals and polyphenolics that protects the body from cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Rose hips also contain plant sterols, carotenoid pigments and tocotrienols. Aside from these, researchers later found out that Rose hips also contain pectin, a strong soluble fiber that builds a wall that protects against all sorts of cardiovascular diseases. Clinical trials results show that rose hips greatly reduce the effect of C-reactive protein levels that cause cardiovascular diseases thus lowering the possibility of it to happen.
Being a true holistic remedy, rose hips is also used as herbal teas, by letting the crushed or dried rose hips boil for 8-10 minutes. With the rose hips herbal tea, one can add half teaspoon of dried mint for additional flavor and add 2 tablespoons of berries per pint of hot water. Rose hips herbal tea is very effective as an anti-oxidant and helps cleanse the body system with unwanted chemicals and contributes to a smoother blood stream flow.
Other benefits of Rose hip Tea
Disorders and Diseases
Rose hip tea may be used to help treat disorders such as chronic diarrhea, allergies and asthma as well as bronchitis and stress. It's also thought to benefit those with (as well as help prevent) heart disease. Because the pectin in rosehips binds with intestinal fats prior to absorption, it may relieve constipation, cleanse the intestines and help lower cholesterol.
Rose hip tea simulates the immune system. As a result, it can help relieve irritation in the urinary tract, particularly given its mild disinfectant properties. Consequently, sometimes is used to treat urinary tract infections.
Cold and Flu Prevention
Thanks to its high vitamin C content, rose hips can be used to prevent and treat colds and flu. The antioxidants and bioflavonoids in rosehips also play a role in boosting the body's immune system response by causing it to attack free radicals.
Rheumatism and Water Retention
Rose hip tea acts as a diuretic, meaning it helps the body eliminate water within body tissue. It also has been used to relieve mild pain associated with rheumatism.
How to grow Rose Hips
Home gardeners don’t start roses from seed, use cuttings or seedlings. Choose a location that will get a lot of sun, and can handle the plants growing to a height close to 5 feet. Roses will grow into a very dense and thorny shrub, so don’t plan on using it too close to any walkways or paths. Brushing up against the rose bush can be unpleasant and prickly.
Dig a hole large enough for the roots of your rose seedling, and plant it to the same depth as it was in its original pot. You don’t need to add any compost or fertilizer, but give it a generous watering.
Though they can grow into large shrubs, you can certainly grow roses in containers. You will need a large pot, 5 to 10 gallons in size for each rose bush. Water a potted rose a little more often than a garden-planted one, but don’t let it get water-logged. Your container should have very good drainage. Use regular soil without added compost, and even add a little sand to help with draining.
Pests and Diseases
Roses can also suffer from stem cancer, a fungus that usually attacks the stems but can also effect the flowers. You will first notice brown or reddish patches on the stems of your roses, that eventually dry out and leave a shrunken lesion on the branch. If it goes all the way around the stem, the branch will die off above that point.
Fungicides can help, and you can help prevent it with a bit of care. Prune out any dead branches in the shrub and try to remove any that are rubbing against each other. If you do water your roses, do so at the soil not over the leaves. The water will spread the fungus spores.
Whether you are using fungicide or pesticide, make sure you get one intended for edible plants. Buying products for roses may make your hips toxic because the sprays are not formulated for “food plants”. Any products that are labeled for vegetables or fruits will work fine.
Harvest and Storage
Most rose hips will be ripe for picking, orange hips are not quite ripe, but deep red ones are over-ripe. You have to judge the right color in between to get the highest levels of vitamin C. They should be just slightly soft, not mushy.
Use clippers to snip the rose hips off each stem. Spread them out in the sun and let them dry until you notice their skins starting to wrinkle up slightly. You need to slice each hip in half, and scrape out the little seeds. Once the seeds are out, leave the hips to dry out completely.
After they are dried, you can store them in the refrigerator for several months. If you freeze them, they will keep for a year or longer.