Rose hips (Rosaceae)

Another offering for this season are the abundant rose hips, found growing in our local hedgerows. Rosehips contain polyphenols and anthocyanins, which may ease joint inflammation and prevent further damage. It is good one to try if you suffer with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or joint pain.

Most often enjoyed as rose hip syrup, this was a popular tonic for children after the Second World War as it is very high in vitamin C. It was thought to keep colds at bay and leading up to these winter months I like to make a stock of this syrup to keep in the fridge alongside my elderberry syrup.

The syrup is a bit fiddly to make but well worth the effort. Coarsely chop the rosehips, you can use a food processor to speed this up. Put in a saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to the boil, and then simmer for about 20 minutes.

Then strain through a muslin bag or cloth, leaving the pulp to sit for half an hour or so to let all the juice run through. Repeat the straining process once more to ensure all the irritant little hairs have been filtered out before returning the liquid to the pan.

For every 500ml of liquid add around 300g of sugar. Dissolve the sugar by heating the mix slowly. Finally, bring to the boil for around 5 minutes, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface. Bottle, cool and store in the fridge. I usually take two teaspoons per day.

I also use Rose hip seed oil in my work as a massage therapist as it is excellent for scar tissue work and for healthy skin regeneration. It is high in essential fatty acids, especially oleic, palmitic, linoleic and gamma linolenic acid (GLA). These are converted into prostaglandins when absorbed by the skin, and are involved in cellular membrane and tissue regeneration.