Date: Sun, 11 Jun 1995 09:27:56 -0100
To: Medicinal and Aromatic Plants discussion list <HERB.TREARNPC.EGE.EDU.TR>
From: Henriette Kress <HeK.HETTA.PP.FI>
Subject: Re: roses

>I am very new to growing roses. I have planted several this year as we now have a "permanent" place to grow things. I would like to find out all the uses of roses. For example: can they be used in a tea, how do you do the sachets, and what part of the rose is a rose hip.

OK, I'll bite.

I haven't seen rosehips on tame roses, but on WILD roses you'll find red, or orange, or black rosehips.
The rosehip is the berry that comes after the flower; you can pick it and dry it or make it into jam - but watch out - there are lots of hairs inside keeping company with the seeds, so if you clean them (as you should, as hairy jam isn't very tasty) you'll have itchy fingernails for at least a week after.

there are several ways to get rid of these hairs except mechanical cleaning:
1) cut in half, dry (in a dehydrator)(40-50 deg.C), and shake in the wind in a sieve. please keep out of the wind yourself as the hairs are REALLY itchy.

as kids we used rosehips as itch powder - stick them down the neck of somebody's t-shirt... kids are cruel.

2) cut in half, put into cold water for 24 hours. Now I don't remember if you cook them now or not, but you should rub them thru a sieve.

To cut in half you should either have a REALLY sharp knife, or get them while they are still hard but already fully colored (red, black, whatever the color is on your variety of wild rose).
Your average rosehip contains very much vitamin C.

Rosehip tea bought in the healthstore usually contains Karkade (dried flower of Hibiscus sabdariffa), at least over here. That is what gives this tea color and taste. Rosehips on their own in tea have almost no taste and a very bleak yellowish-red color.
I've heard that the seeds, if boiled, yield a vanilla-flavored tea. When I did the rosehip thingy (back when I acquired the itchy fingernails) I saved the seeds to test just this but somehow never got around to it. Much easier to make an infusion -style tea than a decoct -style tea...; )

You can use the flower petals of both wild and some kinds of wild roses. If your tame rose flower petal has a nice smell you can use them:

Dry (on paper in the shade if you wish) (or in a dehydrator, very low temperature) and use in potpourri or as a floral tea. Tastes a bit like perfume to me, but tastes differ.

Or have two plates ready, one with eggwhite and one with sugar. Dip fresh rose petals in the first first, in the second second, dry on paper. Eat as candy.

Please note you shouldn't use any roses that have been sprayed. When getting your wild roses please don't gather from roadsides. Near dirt roads you should get your plants outside the 'dust boundary', that is where it's dusty it's too polluted, too. Near asphalt roads it depends on traffic, if lots, give it some kilometers to be sure.

Have fun,