As a note: I’m using hips and haws as interchangeable names for the red fruit of the Rosa sp. so don’t be confused. I just like the way it sounds.
Rose haws are hard to come by around here, plenty of Roses but a distinct shortage of the fruit. They start to grow just fine, so I know it’s not a pollinator problem. Often they just wither and blacken to hard, dried shells. Weird. Anyhow, I managed to find just a lil’ bit of ripe red pre-frost haws up in the mountains early this autumn. I made a tiny batch of honey complete with Cardamon and Orange Peel (how many ways are there to say yum?) and also made a little bit of tincture with the seeds intact.
Today I pulled down my jar of Rose Haw tincture and opened it up to smell. That was the first amazing thing. The smell was incredible, all berry rich and sweet and intoxicating. Wow. Definitely better than the old tomato smell some dried, cut and sifted hips of commerce are prone to.
The scent had me so instantly enamored that I was compelled to decant a bit into an unlabeled bottle and take it around the Center and give it to people to try without telling them what is was. This is always great fun, because it helps to bypass people’s expectations and prejudices about certain plants and lets them really ~feel~ with their bodies instead of thinking with their heads.
I gave 1-4 drops (of 1:2 tincture made with whole fresh haws with 50% alcohol) to each person, including myself. The reactions were all remarkably similar. Everyone LOVED the taste, much oooohing and ahhhing over it. It was overall considered to cooling, sweet/sour, calming and quite relaxing. Even rating as near to sleep inducing for some people. It was also universally agreed that the effects were felt primarily in the heart area, though some influence was also felt in the kidneys.
For myself, it felt very mood lifting, akin to Lemon Balm but more purely joyous and sensual. Much like the petals, but stronger, and somewhat less sedating than that batch of leaf tincture I made.
Studies show that preparations of the hip of various species of Rose are quite effective at reducing the pain, stiffness and associated symptoms of Osteoarthritis. There is also some evidence that Rose haw can attenuate diabetic oxidative stress through the free radical scavenging effect it demonstrates. It is also my feeling that it can act as a heart tonic in much the same way that Hawthorn can, though I have yet to gather enough clinical examples to actually come close to confirming this.
I also love the hip for all kinds of wounds and infections and local pain, though the whole plant is quite effective. Rose is most indicated in cases where there is heat, redness, infection, itching or other symptoms indicative of hot inflammation. And I also use the hips in my liniments for neck pain.
Good stuff, those Roses.