Friday 28 November 2008

Rosehips and autumn roses

A few late roses are still blooming in my garden despite storms of recent weeks. The bushes are also laden with rose hips.

When I was a child, my aunt used to feed me rose hip syrup to ward off winter colds, and rose hips - often taken in the form of tea or syrup - have long been thought to be good for you.

My copy of Kitchen Pharmacy by Rose Elliot says that as far back as 16th century France, Nostradamus used rose hips, among other things, to treat people with the plague. Rose hips are high in Vitamin C and are slightly diuretic. Recent research has also found that rose hips might be able to help sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis by reducing pain.

Magically, rose hips, like roses, are associated with love as well as with healing. The Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs (Llewellyn's Sourcebook Series) by Scott Cunningham suggests enchanting rose hips and then stringing them as beads to wear as a winter love token. Rose hip tea is also supposed to aid prophecy, and you might want to try drinking a cup before scrying.

If you want to make your own rose hip syrup, which can be diluted to drink or used as a sauce over desserts, take 700g of fresh rose hips, 600g of sugar and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Wash the rose hips, cut off the calyx, cover them with water and simmer for 20 minutes until they are soft.

Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and return the pulp to the pan. Add some more water and repeat the process a few more times. Put the juice into a clean pan, add the sugar and lemon juice, then simmer for another 20 minutes until it turns syrupy. Remove any froth with a spoon, then leave to cool and store in the fridge in a sealed bottle.

For a delightful winter love potion, try adding a dash of rose hip syrup to a glass of sparkling wine and murmur a few words of romance before sharing with your lover.

If you are going to pick rose hips from your garden, don't take them all. They provide food for many wild birds such as the thrush and the waxwing, and creatures often shelter from predators in the thorny bushes.

This is for general information/entertainment purposes only and is not advice. Always consult a qualified medical herbalist before taking any herbal remedy. If you are unwell, see your GP.

Kitchen Pharmacy
Encyclopaedia of Magical Herbs (Llewellyn's Sourcebook Series)


Anonymous said...

I was meaning to gather rosehips this year but just did not get round to it, I will next year for sure, but I am getting a book for Christmas called 'Rose Recipes From Olden Times', so perhaps in the summer I can make some lotions and potions, and delicious edible goodies using rose petals following the recipe's from the book.

I found what you wrote about rosehips very interesting, great blog by the way.

Blessing Be


Badwitch said...

That sounds like a wonderful book, I think I shall have to look out for a copy myself!

Anonymous said...

I cant wait to get it, my dad bought it for me from Amazon, I'm sure there will be other copies on there.

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