Wild Rosehips - Plentiful on the Prairies
by Amy Johnson
Edmonton's river valleys and parks are blessed with lots of wild rose bushes. I take joy in going into the valleys in the fall and winter to collect them. They're beautiful bright red blotches in the landscape. A good rule of thumb when foraging is to take less than 30% of the fruits from a bush, leaving some for wildlife (like birds that much on them in the winter when food reserves are scarce) and so as not to shock the plant by taking too much. A little goes a long way with rosehips!
What are rosehips?
Seen here, they are the bulb or fruit of the rosebud essentially. They are an excellent source of vitamin C. They have been used for centuries by aboriginal populations for this reason. It's interesting to note that during World War II, there was a public campaign started by a registered dietitian, Claire Loewenfeld who was working for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children encouraged people to collect wild rose hips and make a rosehip syrup for children. The topic even made it into the British Medical Journal (BMJ)! (1). Citrus fruits imported during this period came on ships and like many other ships with various goods heading to Britain, they were a target, resulting in a shortage of imported citrus fruits during the war.
Rosehips have been used for medicinal and therapeutic properties for centuries. Rosehip fruit and rosehip seed oil are extracted from the rosehip. Not only is it high in vitamin C, the rosehips and in this case the oil pressed from them is high in vitamin A and B in smaller quantities. Rosehips contain more vitamin C than many citrus fruits, which is great to know for wild foraging and for those wanting to live local. No need to buy citrus fruits to get your vitamin C, you have a plentiful source in your backyard.
Ways to enjoy rosehips. You could dry them on a dehydrator and then:
- Add to loose leaf tea blends
- Add to a sea salt bath and enjoy watching them float!
Or use them fresh from picking and:
- Infuse in Apple cider vinegar
- Infuse in honey
- Infuse in olive oil for adding to your DIY skincare creations.
What do we do with rosehips at PLANTiful?
We infuse them fresh into organic extra-virgin olive oil to extract the antioxidants and vitamins. This oil extraction then goes into our: lip balms, and our Prairie face + hair oil to add locally grown rich nourishment to our herbal products. We also dry & powder them into our Sweet Citrus & Rosehip Castille Soap & our Rosy Glow Cheek + Lip Tint for their beautiful pink colour!
1) Lwenfeld, C. Vitamin C from Rosehips. Br Med J. 1941 June 28; 1(4199): 988–989.
2) Loewenfeld, C. 1942(?). Herb Gardening: How and Why to Grow Herbs. (book)