Rosehips: The garden pain reliever

  • The ‘itching powder’ that could be good for you
  •  This anti-wrinkle treatment might be growing in your garden right now
  •  Revealed, a tiny fruit with more vitamin C than an orange, which can fight disease and lower pain

Let me tell you about Rosehips and pain relief…

…the story starts with a visitor.

A friend of mine runs a seedlings business.

Very kindly, he brought over a bunch of plants the other weekend for Lara’s birthday.

With his help, we’re going to attempt to grow some large banana plants out the front where there’s plenty of shade.

Obviously, I’m not expecting to grow any actual bananas, as it’s near-on impossible in the UK.

However, these plants look stunning – their massive paddle-shaped leaves adding a tropical taste to our little corner of England.

Anyway, my friend and I were perusing my garden, clutching a beer, when we arrived at my rose plants.

They were abundant in rosehips, those tiny red fruits which ripen at the end of summer and can be seen throughout the autumn.

If you’re not into horticulture you’ll know them anyway, most likely, as an ingredient in many herbal teas.

My friend laughed when he saw them.

He told me that when he was a little kid, he used to take rosehips from people’s gardens on the way to school.

Then he’d cut them open and covertly rub them on the arms of his schoolmates.

Suddenly, they’d be furiously itching themselves.

This is because there are little prickly hairs in rosehips that form the ingredient of the infamous ‘itching powder’.

I recall itching powder being a staple prank in comics like Beano and Dandy – but you don’t hear much about it these days.

The kids have lost the art of itching powder!

But this isn’t why I’m recommending rosehips to you today.

(Not unless you’re feeling a bit like Dennis the Menace.)

Instead, I wanted to share some of the nutritional qualities of these wonderful little fruits, which you could grow for free in your garden (or perhaps a friend or neighbour’s garden if you lack the space).

And I also want to show you a few ways to process them into beneficial teas and tinctures.

The fruit with more vitamin C than an orange

Rosehips are the fruit of selected rose plant species and are usually red or orange coloured but sometimes darker.

They taste sweet and tangy, with more vitamin C in a teaspoon of pulp than you’d get in an orange, plus antioxidants including catechins, quercetin, and ellagic acid.

This makes them a top disease-fighting ingredient!

For many centuries, they have been a staple of traditional medicine, used for anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving purposes.

Some scientific studies are beginning to back up this folklore, too. For instance:

  • A 2019 review of studies into rosehip concluded that they could relieve osteoarthritis symptoms.
  • In a study on people with rheumatoid arthritis, taking rosehip daily for six months gave them improvements in quality of life and physical function with a 20% to 25% increase in mobility.
  • A 2014 study showed that drinking rosehip tea daily could lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Of course, this doesn’t mean they are some miracle cure for pain but it could make them something to consider adding to your diet.

They can also help you stay younger looking.

The anti-wrinkle treatment that grows in our gardens

Rosehips get their colour from carotenoid pigments known as lycopene and beta carotene, which are good for skin and eye health.

They also contain lots of polyunsaturated fats which keep your skin’s membrane in good condition and protect it from ultraviolet light and airborne toxins.

In one 2015 study, taking 3 mg of rosehip powder every day led to a decrease in skin wrinkles, with improved skin moisture and elasticity.

The high vitamin C content can help too, as rubbing vitamin C directly on the skin can boost collagen production and help skin cells replenish.

How to enjoy rosehips

As I mentioned earlier, there are irritating little hairs inside rosehips, so one of the easiest ways to prepare them is to add them whole to teas.

Take roughly a tablespoon of the pods, add to boiling water and leave for 5 minutes. Strain and then pour (with some honey for sweetness).

Estimates are that you need to consume 2000g or more of the pods per day to get the medicinal effect.

You can also remove the hairs (scrape them out with a small knife) blend and add the pulp to sauces, juices and smoothies.

For a shortcut, you can get rosehip as an ingredient in this powerful combination of herbs, mushroom, bacteria culture, vitamins & minerals: Immunity Boost

Finally, if you want to use them on your skin, cut the rosehips and dry them in the sun.

For a speedier result you can dry them in an oven or use a dehydrator (this is a handy little tool that we have at home for purposes like this).

Once dried you can take a quality natural oil and infuse it with the dried fruits for a month or so in a cool, dark place.

Strain the liquid using a muslin cloth then bottle the oil and rub it on your skin to help moisturise and fight off those wrinkles!

Anyway, I hope you have some rosehips nearby so that you can give one of these tips a go this autumn!