Dog rose (Rosa canina L.)
This bush grows practically everywhere, so it will not be hard for you to gather some fresh hips.
Beside roads, near forests, some lower mountains (up to 1600 meters).
It is very easy to distinguish from another bushes. Grows to 3 meters tall (10 feet) with lots of thorny stems, either brown or green (depending on age). The leaves are grouped (5 to 7) and are also thorny.
It blooms between May and June.
Blossoms are 5-leaved, pink or white - often grouped in 3 to 5, but can also grow single. Specific rose aroma, which often attracts bees and small wasps which help pollinate the blossoms.
In some parts of the world, apiarists (beekeepers) are growing large patches of dog roses around the beehives. They produce rose hip honey. One proven healthy and with high quality.
Health benefits of the rose hip
- Improves immune system (Vitamin C)
- Helps the kidneys to excrete small stones naturally.
- Ease stomach pain from overeating.
- Helps stop internal bleeding.
- Reduces bleeding in female periods.
Gathering and drying
The useful part is the rose hip, when completely mature but still hard.
(The best time to gather them is between September and October, before the cold freezes the hips)
The rose hips are shiny red, filled with hard yellow seeds.
They need to be dried in herbal drier with temperature around 100 C. Drying the hips naturally is hard, because the hot days are over and you risk spoiling the whole harvest with mold and fungi.
When dry, the hips don't have any distinctive aroma. They still have sour taste because of the ascorbic acid inside.
Approximately 12% humidity can be allowed in the dry rose hip without risk of mold.
You may keep the dry herb in paper bags or herbal boxes for 6 months. After this, most of the vitamins will be lost.
Keep the hips away from other dried herbs or food (such as dried red peppers) because they attract seed-eating parasites very often.
The most important one is Vitamin C.
100 grams of rose hips provide approximately 450mg vitamin C.
About 160 calories with 40 grams of carbohydrates and ~2 grams of protein. (and lots of Insoluble fibers)
Other important micronutrients include Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids and some bioflavonoids. They are extracted from the seeds by crushing them (see below).
Infusions, wines and decoctions
The tea is very easy.
- 1 tablespoon rose hips are crushed or chopped.
- Boil for 10 minutes, sift and drink.
Add honey if you like.
DO NOT crush and chop the hips with metal knife or mortar. Iron destroys vitamin C.
- Crush finely 3 tablespoons of rose hip seeds and put in a small bottle of olive oil for 2 months. (about 300 ml or one cup oil is just fine)
- Keep in dark stove, far from sunlight.
The decoction is very good skin moisturizer and is recommended for dry flaky skin.
It also improves ellasticity and regenerates broken tissues.
Rose hip "wine"
Okay, it's not truly wine. But it is sour-sweet and quite good with dinner.
Get a large mixing bowl and a wine jug with wide bottleneck and good cap.
- Half kilogram (one pound) of dried hips are crushed and put in the mixing bowl.
- Add half kilogram (one pound) of sugar and mixed with the crushed hips.
- Let it rest for 20 minutes.
- 4 liters of water are added and mixed well, until the sugar disolves completely.
Put the whole mix in the jug and close/screw the cap.
It is ready in 6-7 days. You need to shake the jug few times every other day, so the sugar and the nutrients mix in the liquid.
This wine has all the properties of the herbal tea infusion, but I find It tastier and more enjoyable.
Filter and keep in bottles. It is good for one month.