• Rose hips, also known as rose hep or rose haw, is the name for the fruit that blooms from a rose plant. The rose is a part of the Rosa genus, within the family Rosaceae. There are over 100 species with some being native to North Africa, North America, Europe, and certain climates of Asia. However, not all rose plants grow fruit, or the rose hips. Rose plants are perennial, while the rose is actually the state flower of Georgia, North Dakota, New York and Iowa, as well as the District of Columbia. The rose is also America’s National Floral Emblem. Rose hips have been used for many different things since the Stone Age. Many species of rose hips are used as a source of vitamin C. Did you know that during WWII, German submarines sunk commercial ships that were importing citrus fruits? So British people were encouraged by dieticians and even newspapers, to use rose hips to make a vitamin C syrup for their children.
• Since there are so many different species of the rose plant, plant height greatly differs in size. For example, while the Groundcover Rose only grows from 1-3 feet high, the Climbing Rose can grow anywhere from 8-20 feet high. However, most species of roses tend to have leaves and thorns that alternate up the stem, while the leaves vary in length from about 2 inches to 6 inches. The hips are usually a red-orange color, but in some species can even vary in color from blacks to purples. They are usually wrinkled looking and an oval shape.
• This fruit can be used in many different industries and products. It can be used for medicinal purposes, bath and body products, food and beverages, soaps, skin care, hair care, and even nail care. Did you know America’s very first president, George Washington was actually a rose plant breeder?
• Since there are many different species of the rose plant, each have their own conditions needed for growth. The Rugosa rose plant however is the best for growing rose hips. Rugosa roses are known for spreading out. They do well in a location with partial to full sun exposure. Preferably, they should be planted in well drained, rich soil, however they are very tolerant and can handle horrible poor soil as well. They can handle almost all kinds of weather such as frigid temperatures, high humidity and even droughts. So almost any climate around the world can work to grow Rugosa roses.
• The roses themselves will bloom usually from late spring to early summer, but the rose hips usually do not appear until fall time. Flower colors can include lavender, pink, white, and red and can from 2-3 inches in width. Once the flowers die, in order for the rose hips to form, the dead flowers need to be left on the plant. They will be ready to be picked based on their coloring. If they are a deep red, they are over ripe and if they are orange, they are not ripe enough. It needs to be a nice in between color.
• Rugosa plants do have some pest problems. Japanese and June beetles like to eat the leaves, while birds will eat the hips. You can easily keep the birds away by covering the plant with netting or by mounting a fake owl nearby. Roses also suffer from a fungus called a stem canker that attacks the stems of the plant.
Rose Hips Uses in Industries
• Some rose hips will taste different from others. The seeds will have a bitter taste, and can irritate the digestive tract and mouth, so be sure to just eat the hip itself. The Rugosa hip is said to be one of the best tasting rose hips. The fruit itself is actually edible right off of the plant when it is ripe. Some foods it can be used for are jelly and jam, soup, pies, bread, and syrup. “Nyponsoppa” is a rose hip soup that is extremely popular in Sweden. There is also a rose hip tea that can be made. A nice rose hips infusion tea can be made by just putting one or two teaspoons of rose hips into hot water and letting it sit for about ten minutes. In Hungary and Romania, rose hips are used to make an alcoholic beverage called “palinka”. In Slovenia, the national drink is a fruity-tasting beverage called “cockta” that is also made with rose hips.
Bath and Body Products
• Rose hips are used in many different industries and common products. They can be used for food and beverages, hair care, skin care, nail care, soaps, bath and body products, and medicinal purposes. For soap making, ground up rose hips powder can be added to bath tea and soap recipes.
• Common products that include rose hips are ointments, creams, lotions, conditioners and shampoos, massage oils, face masks and herbal waters.
• There are many benefits to your skin from using rose hips. It is great for hydration, locking in moisture, soothing sunburns, acne problems, slowing the aging process, giving your skin a nice glow, and makes scarring less noticeable.
• For hair care, rose hips will help soften the hair, add silkiness and bounce, and helps with dandruff problems.
• If used on nails, rose hip oil helps to nourish and hydrate brittle nails.
• There are many medicinal and health benefits to using rose hips. It can be used to treat the flu, colds, arthritis pain, diarrhea, constipation, gallstones, gallbladder issues, kidney disorders, stomach disorders, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, fever, chest problems, leg pain, black pain, gout, fluid retention and it can even help with weight loss. Rose hips have been used for chest pains and ailments since the Middle Ages.
• There are many skin problems that rose hips can treat as well. Burns, sunburns, acne, healing wounds, regenerating skin cells and they also keeping the skin hydrated.
• The immune system benefits from rose hips as well. They help to strengthen it and fight off any infections.
• Most pregnant women tend to stay away from anything herbal during their pregnancies. Rose hips however, contain Vitamin C which is essential for collagen formation during pregnancy. So rose hips tea is actually recommended for pregnant women.
• Itching problems can also be taken care of with rose hips. An itching powder can be made from the fine hairs inside the hips.
• Rose hips can also be awesome at preventing cancer because they contain polyphenols, carotenoids, catechins, flavinoids, and leucoanthocyanins. These antioxidants also help protect from heart diseases.
• In the Middle Ages, women carried bouquets of roses to cover up body odors and also put actual petals in their baths.
• Before the medicinal benefits of rose oils were discovered, it was added to medicine just to cover up the bitter taste.
• You can also make a rose hip relish mixed with cranberries.
• Nature’s Garden sells rose hips for external use only. We do not sell it as a food item. The information above talks about how great rose hips is for many industries, however we only sell it for external use. We provide this data for educational purposes only. Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using this product or any of this information for treatment purposes.
• Are you ready for some fun rose hips recipes? We offer many different free recipes including a Shea Lotion with Herbal Infusion!