Did you know there is a tiny orange-red fruit growing wild in the UK that has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties?
Said to contain twenty five times more vitamin C than an orange, as well as vitamins A, D and E, important minerals including magnesium and calcium and disease protecting phytochemicals, rosehips are currently ripe for the picking and free from a hedgerow near you.
Take gloves to protect against thorns and pick away from busy roads, remembering to leave some for our furry and feathered friends. Rosehips are full of hairy seeds that can irritate when digested; for this reason it's best not to consume them raw.
So what can you do with them? A cheap, easy way of supercharging your health in time for sniffle season is to make a delicious, immune-boosting syrup.
Rosehip syrup recipe
500g wild rosehips
Remove leaves and stalks and give the rosehips a thorough wash. Once clean, give them a good blitz in a food processor or blender (I used my trusty Nutri Bullet and added a little water), then pour the liquid into a stainless steel pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes. Strain the liquid through a muslin cloth and discard the pulp. Boil the liquid again, allow to cool and add the honey. Store in sterilised jars and keep refrigerated.
The syrup will resemble the appearance of tomato soup, with a sweet yet tart flavour. It can be taken by the spoonful, used as a cordial, drizzled onto pancakes, waffles and porridge and is said to make a great accompaniment to blue cheese.
If you are using the syrup medicinally, it is best to take small amounts throughout the day as vitamin C is water soluble and can't be stored by the body. It is worth bearing in mind that some of the nutrient content will be destroyed by the cooking process, nevertheless it is a fantastic free tonic that is definitely worth a try.
A similar recipe for rosehip syrup was given out by the Ministry of Food during WW2 as a way to boost vitamin C intake when imported fruit was scarce.
Rosehips can also be used to make jams, jellies and soups. It is a popular tradition in Scandinavian countries, with their folklore even suggesting that the Vikings fuelled their invasions on a diet of rosehips!
As well as supporting a healthy immune system, research has shown that rosehips may be beneficial for:
Caution: If you are on medication or being treated for a long-term health condition, it may be prudent to avoid use as drug interactions are possible due to its high vitamin C content.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding it may be wise to avoid this remedy as a precautionary measure, due to the lack of safety data available.
Discontinue use immediately if you experience itching, swelling of the tongue, skin rash, digestive disturbance or a change in breathing pattern.
Do let me know if you give it a go! My nearly two year old is currently getting stuck into our current batch - "more medicine mummy!"
Complementary therapist and natural health expert. On a mission to sprinkle health and wellness wherever I go...