Rosehip – A Foraging Guide to Its Food, Medicine and Other Uses

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Dog Rose (also known as Rosehip), is a climbing wild rose with white-pink flowers and a soft subtle scent.

Its deep orange-red fruit, the rosehip, is the most commonly used part of the plant, although dog rose has many other uses in food and medicine.

Common Name

Dog rose

Scientific Name

Rosa canina

Family

Rosaceae

Botanical Description

A scrambling climber with long branches and arching, thorny stems. Dog rose has large, white or pink, five-petalled flowers and green, oval-toothed leaves.

Status

Perennial. Native.

Habitat

Deciduous woodland, hedgerows, scrub

Parts Used For Food

Leaves, flowers, fruit and seeds.

Harvest Time

Summer to autumn.

Food Uses

The edible fruit – rosehips – are the most commonly used part of the plant in food. These orange-red berries have been used to make jams, jellies, pies, stews, tea and wine. The petals and leaves of dog rose can also been brewed for tea. The flowers make a delicious syrup, and can be eaten in salads or candied or preserved in vinegar, honey and brandy.

Nutritional Profile

Rosehips are high in vitamin C with reportedly twenty times more vitamin C than oranges.

Rosehip Recipes

Traditional Medicine Uses

The fruit of the rose was the plant in which vitamin C was first discovered, says Thomas Bartram in his Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine.

As a medicinal herb today, the rosehips of dog rose (R. canina) are indicated for a wide range of conditions from headaches, sore throats, infections, sciatica, gout, rheumatism, stress and nervousness.

Other Uses

While not a human use, an interesting fact is that rosehips are an emergency food for bears as well as people. They gorge on the fruits before winter hibernation.

Cautions

Small hairs on fresh or dried rosehips may irritate the mouth and throat. The safety of dog rose is not established in pregnancy or when breastfeeding and thus best avoided.

Frequently Asked Questions About Rosehips

About The Author

Robin HarfordRobin Harford is a plant-based forager, ethnobotanical researcher, and wild food educator. He is the author of Edible and Medicinal Wild Plants of Britain and Ireland.

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References

  1. Jackson, PW. Ireland’s Generous Nature. The Past and Present Uses of Wild Plants in Ireland. Missouri Botanical Garden Press. St Louis, Missouri, 2014.
  2. Facciola, S. Cornucopia II. A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications. Vista, California, 1998.
  3. Mabey, R. Food for free. A guide to the edible wild plants of Britain. The Collins Press. London, 1978.
  4. Bartram, T. Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. Da Capo Press. Boston, Massachusetts, 2002.
  5. Pedersen, M. Wendell, W. Nutritional Herbology. Whitman Company. Warsaw, 1998.
  6. Kuhnlein, HV, Turner NJ. Traditional Plant Foods of Canadian Indigenous Peoples. Nutrition, Botany and Use. London, 1991.
  7. Gardner, Z. McGuffin, M. (ed). Botanical Safety Handbook, second edition. American Herbal Products Association. CRC Press. Taylor & Francis Group. Boca Raton, London, New York, 2013.
 

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