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 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 and eat 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
- aids in stress relief
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:
Using Fresh Rose Hips or Dried
If you’d like to retain the most Vitamin C for this tea, use fresh rose hips. To do this:
- Score around the hip with a sharp knife and remove the cap.
- Scrap out the seeds.
- Use immediately.
Both the rosehips and the seeds contain irritating hairs that should be washed off as much as possible, if you know you have a sensitivity to them.
If you already know that you do NOT have an allergy to rose hips seeds, you can skip this step and use whole, raw rose hips. This is how I use mine because I know that I do NOT have a rose hip allergy.
To Dry Whole Rose Hips:
- Lay the rose hips on a flat surface in a place with good air circulation.
- Run your hand over them to move them around, exposing all sides to the air.
- Allow several weeks to ensure complete dehydration.
To retain as much Vitamin C as possible, do not apply artificial heat as from an oven or a dehydrator.
Vitamin C is Temperature Sensitive
There seems to be some debate about the level of thermo-sensitivity in Vitamin C but the experts do agree that it starts to degrade at high temperatures. The research I’ve done suggest that anywhere between 85°F/29°C and upwards of 140°F/60°C will cause the Vitamin C to denature (a fancy word for degrade).
How quickly and by how much is also a matter of debate!
Vitamin C is ascorbic acid and there seems to be some indication that sodium ascorbate, which is one of the salts of ascorbic acid, is more available. Sodium ascorbate has the same biochemical effect as ascorbic acid and so the body would process it about the same.
For this reason, I don’t worry to much about Vitamin C retention in my cooked foods. I eat some citrus, drink my rose hip tea, and figure that I’m covered in the Vitamin C department.
When I need a little more (like when I’m sick), I make this great Herbal Vitamin C nib from Joybilee Farm.
Making Rosehip Tea
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.
Rose Hip Vitamin C Tea
- 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 finger hot temperature of around 100 °F/38 °C and cover rosehips and Goji berries (also high in Vitamin C), if using.
- Steep for thirty minutes. The longer it sits, the stronger the tea.
- Add raw honey and lemon juice.
A Few More Rosehip Tea Tips
To read more on the benefits of raw honey, please click here.
Be sure your tea is no hotter than 115°F/46°C to preserve the raw nature of the honey. That temperature is 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, The Potted Herb.
If You Don’t Have Rose Hips
For a different but equally valuable wellness tea, please visit Simply Beyond Herbs for Vladka’s Immune Boosting Tea recipe that includes elderberries and other potent ingredients.
- 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