Hip hip hooray for roses!

Are you after soft, supple skin? Then use rose hips as part of your beauty regime, says beauty expert, Angela Lopez of Belle-Toi in Bournemouth. Rose hips are the seedpods of roses and the orange-red bulbs of Rosa rugosa, which look somewhat squashed and tomato-like, are only edible but are a great source of vitamin C, giving them the reputation for keeping winter colds at bay and birds enjoy them, too!

Rosa canina, or the dog rose, is also known among rose hips for having a particularly high concentration of vitamin C. The fruit of this rose, which has a cranberry-like tanginess are relatively large, red and oval in shape and it came by its name from the belief that ingesting the hips could cure rabies!

The popular Rosa moyesii produces single, geranium-red flowers with overlapping petals and golden stamens. They are followed by large, elongated, orange-red hips that have a very distinctive in shape; reminiscent of ancient clay water jugs. PHOTO: Classic Roses

Drinking rose hip tea daily will help prevent heart disease, arthritis, and cancer and is also good for strengthening the immune system. The carotenoids and flavonoids found in rosehip tea have analgesic properties too, making this tea great for pain relief, whether it is chronic pain of arthritis or acute pain of injuries or sprains, the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties will work very quickly.

Rosehip tea is rich in vitamins and is referred to as the “skin vitamin” as it helps to regenerate skin cells, heal wounds and scars. It will also help to keep the skin elastic and nourished

The best time to harvest hips is after the first frost, as frost helps sweeten the flavour. Pick hips that are firm and have good colour. Leave the shriveled or dried rose hips for the birds to enjoy.

Prior to using, trim off the stem and blossom ends. Hold the hip securely and slice it in half, then remove the inner seeds.

You can use fresh or dried rose hips, for making a soothing and heart-warming tea. Simply steep 4 to 8 fresh rose hips in a cup of boiling water for about 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t use aluminum pans or utensils that could discolour the hips. Aluminum also destroys their vitamin C. Stainless steel is fine.

Angela’s recommended skin care regime

Rose water is a time-tested organic skin care ingredient that was popular in our grandma’s day. It’s great for all skin types and dry skin especially can be hydrated using rose water as a moisturizer. It is a great cleanser for cleaning clogged pores and repairing damage caused by sun and pollution, so mix it with your usual facial serum and use daily, to restore and maintain your skin’s pH balance.

Rose water is also an excellent antiseptic for treating irritated dry skin and acne and will help fade scars and unsightly age spots or dark marks and promote skin regeneration.

Rosehip oil, which is a favourite of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, is packed with antioxidants, which makes it a fantastic anti-aging serum to have in your beauty regime. The oils will deeply penetrate the layers of your skin and help stimulate collagen production. PHOTO: StyleCraze

You can make your own rosehip oil by combining fresh or dried hips with almond, olive or jojoba oil. If you’ve got a slow cook pot, then let the rose hips infuse the oil on the lowest setting for about eight hours. Strain off the oil (discard the hips) and store it in dark-coloured jars that are fitted with a tight-fitting lid and store in the fridge. Use within six months.

Rosehip oil is magic for preventing stretch marks and for fixing dull, acne-prone skin. The astringent properties in rosehip oil help tighten your pores and brighten your skin leaving it fresher, younger looking and with fewer wrinkles. Angela recommends adding a few drops to your face creams in the morning and again just before you go to bed.

This lovely oil is also an excellent source of essential fatty acids that are good for treating fine and damaged hair and scalp tissue and will help to promote healthy hair growth.

TIP: As always when using homemade beauty products, be sure to do a patch test to make sure your skin does not have an adverse reaction. The inner forearm is a great place to do a test since the skin is delicate, similar to facial skin.

Recipe for rosehip syrup used preventing coughs and colds

A couple of decades ago it was the norm to give children a spoon of rose hip syrup to top up their vitamin levels and ward off colds – a single tablespoon of rosehip syrup will give more than the recommended allowance of vitamin C and will boost vitamin D levels, which are low on dull days


1kg rosehips, washed and chopped
1kg caster sugar


Put two litres of water in a large pan with and bring to the boil. Add the chopped rosehips, bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for half an hour, stirring from time to time.

Strain the mixture through a jelly bag or line a sieve with a couple of layers of muslin and place over a large bowl then tip in the rosehip mixture.

Discard the pulp and combine the strained juice in a clean pan. Bring to the boil, and boil until the volume has decreased by half. Remove from the heat.

Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Return to the stove, bring to the boil and boil hard for five minutes. Pour into warmed, sterilized jars or bottles and seal. Use within six months.


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