Wildcraft Wednesday: Oxymel & Rosehip Remedies
Updated: Jan 26, 2018
A rosehip by any other name would taste as tart and delicious... and it would be as good for you, too. Rosehip tea is common on the shelves of supermarkets, typically and appropriately labelled as an antioxidant tea. But the benefits of rosehips go far beyond this! Did you know it is considered a "floral superfood"?
In fact, rosehips are one of the richest sources of vitamin C found in any fruit, with higher contents of the vitamin than citrus fruits, making it an excellent immune booster during the cold winter months.. These scarlet fruits also contain vitamin A and bioflavonoids, which benefit your vision and your cardiovascular system, respectively. They are also commonly used in treatment for inflammation, including in capsule form for arthritis, and for digestive issues, including aggressive disease such as Crohn's disease. Scandinavian countries might make the most use of this amazing superfood, however, with traditional rosehip-based remedies touted to have antidepressant effects (due to high magnesium levels), to ease gum and tooth pain, and as a gargle with vinegar for sore throats.
The next best thing about the rosehip is its abundance! Every rose produces rosehips. Rugosa roses reportedly produce the best tasting fruits, while cinnamon and dog roses produce those highest in vitamin C content. But roses grow everywhere; in forests, in yards, in gardens in commercial areas right in the middle of town! And you can use it to make all kinds of foods, from jams to soups. If you're brave enough, you can also eat them dehydrated, like cranberry-raisins! Absolutely delicious.
The medicinal tea is easy to prepare. You can simply slice 1 teaspoon worth of the fruits in half and let steep in boiling water for 10-15 minutes for a tea that tastes tart and refreshing. (For a holiday twist, you can also add mint or spruce!) But for a truly special treat, I'd like to share a special recipe with you for an ancient Greek medicinal tonic called oxymel. It's a tart mixture of honey, apple cider vinegar, and rosehips that's easy to prepare, delicious, and has been used for centuries to treat stomach upset, respiratory discomfort, and flu symptoms.
1 cup fresh chopped rosehips
optional addition of 1-2 tsps of ginger, anise, lavender, spruce, or cinnamon
1/2 cup vinegar
(You can also add a tablespoon of brandy for a warming tonic!)
First, add your rosehips and any other herbs to a 1 pint mason jar. Then cover with vinegar and honey. Stir well, cover top with wax paper, and then close the lid on tightly. Shake it well, then let your mixture infuse for about 4 weeks. Then, strain out the plant matter and store your syrupy oxymel in a bottle in your pantry or medicine cabinet. Enjoy!