Would you like to boost your Vitamin C intake for the sickly winter months, but want to avoid commercial products that may or may not be effectively absorbed by your body? Sweeten up your Vitamin C and your day by enjoying a simple cup of rosehip tea.
Before we Begin
If all you need is the recipe, please scroll down.
What Kind of Rose Hips
Any rose will produce a hip but, in my opinion, the best rosehips come from rugosa roses. Why? Because their hips are large, fleshy, sweet and abundant. Also because, and this is important for you gardeners out there, the bushes are relatively easy to grow and maintain.
To learn how to grow your own rose hips, click here.
You can also learn about growing Goji berries (an optional, but special ingredient in this tea), click here.
Rose Hips and Vitamin C
Apart from the fact that rosehips are simply gorgeous in the garden and provide natural forage for wild birds, they’re also ripe with Vitamin C. I believe that the best way to ingest the vitamins and minerals we need is through the foods and herbs we eat. When we eat foods rich in Vitamin C (like broccoli, papaya, peppers and rosehips) our bodies recognize those substances as food–plants, to be specific. It says, “Hey, I know you! I can totally break you down an assimilate your goodness. Come on in!”
Commercial vitamin capsules are confusing to the body, depending on brand and quality. Ever taken a name-brand commercial vitamin and then still been able to read it’s name embossed on the vitamin body as you flush it down the toilet? Make it easy on your body: eat and drink your vitamins in real, actual, identifiable food.
More on Vitamin C
According to The Complete Home Health Advisor, by Rita Elkins, Vitamin C has a wide range of actions, including, but not limited to: can boost the immune system, is an antioxidant, aids in tissue repair, fights infection, aids circulation, has antiviral properties, detoxifies the body and even aids in stress relief. It is useful in assisting with a wide range of ailments from acne to infections to sore throat.
Vitamin C is not a miracle cure. It’s simply a powerful tool in our arsenal of natural health. Ingest Vitamin C along with other healthy foods like:
Please also bear in mind that there is a world of difference between pasteurized orange juice and raw orange juice when your child next has a cold. Something for you to research later.
Hips for Rose Hip Tea
Rose hips can be grown or purchased on line from places like Mountain Rose Herb. The added benefit of growing your own rose hips, especially if they’re rugosas, is that you then have rugosa rose petals for this delectable Rose Petal Ice Cream.
Using Fresh Rose Hips or Dried
Rose hips can also be dried whole on a flat surface in a place with good air circulation. Be sure to run your hand over them to move them around, exposing all sides to the air. A dehydrator works wonderfully well for rosehips.
If you have fresh hips for your rose hip tea, the best thing to do to preserve them is to slice them in half, scrape out and remove their seeds and give them a good rinse. Both the rosehips and the seeds contain irritating hairs that need to be washed off as much as possible. To further ensure that the hairs are removed, bring the rosehips to a brief boil and let steep for fifteen minutes.
You can then finely strain the hips to remove seeds, flesh and other debris. I’m way to lazy for all that slicing and scraping and just leave them whole. I’ve never had a problem with them after steeping them, but if you end up irritated by them, be sure to remove the seeds. You can use this decoction as an herbal syrup by adding enough raw honey to create a thick liquid, or to taste.
Making Rosehip Tea
Making rose hip tea is no more complicated that the process described above.
Using whole or minced, dried or fresh rosehips, use just enough water to cover them in a medium sized saucepan. Steep and strain. I give amounts in the recipe below, but they’re not sacred – feel free to experiment with your own amounts. The less water, the more concentrated the tea and the stronger the flavor.
- 1/2 cup dried or fresh rose hips
- 3 cups filtered water
- 1 tablespoon raw honey or to taste
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dried Goji berries optional
Chop (or blend lightly, if dried) rosehips.
Bring water to just boiling and cover rosehips and Goji berries (also high in Vitamin C), if using.
Steep for thirty minutes if using dried rosehips; steep fifteen if using fresh. The longer it sits, the stronger the tea.
Once cooled to around 115 degrees, add raw honey and lemon juice.
Drink once or twice a day for maintenance; drink up to six times a day for acute issues.
A Few More Rosehip Tea Tips
To read more on the benefits of raw honey, please click here.
Be sure your tea has cooled to around 115 degrees to preserve the raw nature of the honey–that’s usually cool enough that you can stick your finger in your tea and feel the robust warmth, but not need a lavender poultice to help repair burned fingers.
You can learn more about Goji (or wolf) berries, please click here.
Learn to grow more herbs wherever you live with our e-book, Herbs in the Bathtub.
If You Don’t Have Rose Hips
For an alternative to rosehip tea, but still in keeping with our search for sweet Vitmain C, you can try a little trick my Russian friends taught me and steep fresh fruits and jams in hot water to create a fruit tea.
Mix one cup of fresh fruit like mangoes, papayas and blueberries and slightly mash. Add one three cups of boiling water and steep for thirty minutes. Or, add one tablespoon of homemade, honey-sweetened jam to one and a half cups of just boiling water and let steep for fifteen minutes.
Would you like to learn more about planning and planting your own medicinal herb garden? We have a great post about that here. Or, even better, the topic is given a whole section in our upcoming book The Do It Yourself Homestead. Other topics include healing foods you can make yourself, container and in-ground gardens, vermicomposting and so much more! Click below to join our Book Circle to be the first to learn about it’s release and for special offers and discounts.
Sources for information include:
Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses, by Deni Brown; The Complete Book of Herbs, by Leslie Bremness; The Complete Home Health Advisor, by Rita Elkins.