Rose bushes have been cultivated for thousands of years so ancient healers could have easy access to the bright red vitamin-packed berries that grow on the bushes each fall.
Healers and nutritionists have long known about the powerful health benefits of using the berries to make rosehip tea to protect against illness and keep the whole body strong.
The berries of the dog rose bush (rosa canina) are one of the best naturally occurring sources of Vitamin C, and when they are steeped in hot water they make a pleasantly tart yet delicately sweet tasting rosehip tea that is terrific hot or cold.
Herbs such as peppermint leaves, spearmint and lemon balm or fruits such as raspberries or strawberries can be added to the mixture to make endless varieties of rosehip tea that will please everyone’s palate.
How They Grow
Rosehips grow wild in many climates around the globe, and they need plenty of sunshine and regular rain in order to thrive.
After growing all summer long, the bush drops its leaves in the fall and the berries turn bright red or orange as they ripen around the time of the first frost, which is the signal that the fruit is ready to be harvested.
The fresh fruit can be used right away to make a brightly flavored rosehip tea that is tangy and tart and tastes like the flower petals that gave it energy to grow.
The berries can also be dried and stored in a cool dark place such as a refrigerator or freezer for later use. Rosehip tea made from aged berries will have a darker, more jammy flavor than rosehip tea made with freshly picked berries. (Check out our recipe below for Sunrise Rosehip Tea.)
Vitamin C Kick
Rosehip tea delivers a powerful punch of Vitamin C, and a single cup typically contains an entire day’s supply of Vitamin C needs.
Some varieties of the berries can have as much as 40 times more Vitamin C than citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that helps keep bones strong, promotes blood circulation, regulates blood pressure, encourages the growth of new blood cells and is critical for overall health. A deficiency can lead to serious medical conditions such as scurvy, as well as hair loss, bleeding gums and other ailments.
Because our bodies can’t make it on their own, we must get it from the foods and beverages we consume, such as rosehip tea.
Rosehips also have B Complex Vitamins, Vitamin E, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, polyphenols and dozens of other vitamins, nutrients and beneficial compounds that help keep our bodies strong.
Natural Energy Boost
Rosehip tea is an herbal tea, meaning it’s naturally caffeine free. Consuming too much caffeine, especially late in the day, can lead to restlessness and prevent you from falling asleep at night.
The acid and harsh chemicals in caffeinated drinks such as coffee can cause acid indigestion, sour stomach and other problems with the digestive tract.
Get a natural, healthy energy boost from rosehip tea that lasts all day and doesn’t cause a crash later. The B Complex Vitamins and Vitamin C work together to increase energy, improve your focus and keep you clear-headed without the jitters that caffeine can cause.
Rosehip tea is gentle enough to drink any time of the day, and because there’s no caffeine, it’s a terrific choice for children, women who are pregnant or nursing, the elderly, and anyone who wants to eliminate caffeine from their diet.
Rosehip tea is a great immunity booster, and the Vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells and respiratory health to combat colds, flu and other common illnesses.
The berries are also full of carotenoids, flavonoids and polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants that fight the free radicals that can damage cells and are linked to cancer.
Studies have shown that rosehip tea can reduce inflammation, promote heart health, help our bodies regulate blood pressure, improve circulation, strengthen our bones, boost digestion, regulate blood sugar levels, help wounds heal faster and relieve pain.
Pliny the Elder, a Roman savant and one of the first authors to write about natural history, recorded dozens of uses for the berries and described rosehip tea and other drinks as medicinal cures that could treat stomach illnesses and fatigue in addition to helping wounds heal faster.
More recently, the British government used rosehips to make a dietary supplemental syrup during World War II to prevent scurvy when military blockades prevented fresh food shipments to the island nation.
Some nutritionists recommend rosehip tea as part of a healthy diet, and the therapeutic and medicinal benefits of rosehip tea are being studied by scientists and doctors who are hopeful that the healing properties might become more mainstream in modern medicine.
Brighter Skin and Hair
Check out any beauty counter or cosmetics store, and you’re bound to see dozens of products featuring rosehip oil.
The high concentrations of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, antioxidants and other beneficial compounds help brighten skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots, improve elasticity and even out skin tone.
You can rub pure cold-pressed rosehip oil right into your skin, or mix a few drops with your favorite lotions and other skincare products for an extra boost of moisture and nutrients. It absorbs into your skin right away, and doesn’t have the heavy, greasy feeling of some products.
Celebrities including Miranda Kerr and Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge and wife of Prince William, have raved about the anti-aging effects of rosehip oil.
Amplify the benefits of rosehip oil by drinking rosehip tea, which contains the same natural oils, vitamins and minerals that brighten skin and keep hair shiny and healthy.
Rose bushes have been cultivated for more than 5,000 years, and historians think that garden cultivation probably began in China. Nowadays there are more than 150 species of roses in the Northern Hemisphere alone, and many of them can be used to make rosehip tea.
Roses were prized during the Roman period when they were used to make perfume and rosehip tea like drinks that were used as medicines. The Romans even planted large public rose gardens for citizens to enjoy.
During the 15th century, roses took on a more sinister meaning when they came to symbolize the warring noble families in England.
The House of Lancaster used the red rose as its symbol, while the House of York used the white rose. Decades of civil wars between the families called the “Wars of the Roses” tore the nation apart and eventually eliminated the male heirs of both family lines.
Ultimately, the families were reunited again in the House of Tudor, which combined the red and white roses into a new emblem that is still used today.
Roses also have an honored tradition in literature, poetry and music.
In the 1500s, the playwright William Shakespeare was so taken with the rose that it inspired one of the most famous lines in Romeo & Juliet: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
DIY Rosehip Harvesting
Harvesting your own berries to make rosehip tea is an easy and rewarding process.
Be sure to choose bushes that haven’t been treated with pesticides or other harsh chemicals, and wear gloves to avoid being scratched by thorns.
Choose berries that are bright red or orange, and firm to the touch. Don’t pick any that have been broken open, eaten by birds or bugs, or show signs of rot.
Harvest them by hand by snapping the berries from the branch, or use clippers to gently cut them from the branches.
If you are using the fresh berries to make rosehip tea, you can leave the seeds in the berries — simply mash the rosehips to release the juice and flavor, and steep them in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes.
Freshly made rosehip tea can be cooled, stored in a glass container and kept in the refrigerator for three days.
Here is a delicious recipe for Sunrise Rosehip Tea, which is loaded with Vitamin C, B Complex Vitamins, antioxidants, polyphenols, flavonoids and dozens of other healthy compounds that will give you a natural energy boost that lasts all day.
Sunrise Rosehip Tea
1 cup of rosehip berries (either fresh or dried)
4 strips of fresh lemon peels, twisted to release the oils
4 strips of fresh orange peels, twisted to release the oils
If using fresh berries to make this rosehip tea, mash them to release the juices and open up the flavors. Place 1 tsp. of rosehip berries and 1 strip of each lemon and orange peels into a tea ball or tea strainer basket placed inside a mug, and pour boiling water over the mixture.
Allow it to steep 10-15 minutes until the rosehip tea is a bright orange color and very fragrant. If desired, stir in a small amount of honey, stevia, sugar or your favorite sweetener. Makes 4 servings.
Sunrise Rosehip Tea can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days to enjoy at another time.
Rosehip tea is also a great mixer for refreshing cocktails. Amplify the floral taste by making rosehip syrup. Simply boil 2 tbsp. rosehips with 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar for about 10 minutes or until it reaches a syrupy consistency.