While walking at Columbus County Park last Friday with my sisters I couldn’t help but notice the thousands of bright red rose hips still clinging tightly to the wild rose bushes. “I’m coming back to pick rose hips.” I announced. I just couldn’t stand to see all that vitamin C going to waste – especially during flu season.
So when my sister J.B. called me on Sunday and wanted to come visit I asked if she wanted to go pick rose hips. The weather was great and she agreed to go.
Columbus County Park is an old farm/homestead that was granted by the previous owners to the county for use as a public park. What a grand gift it was. It is over 400 acres some wooded – some meadow, with a deep valley that the Belle River runs through. The main walking path is a 2.5 mile loop that tracks through the woods, down into the valley, along the river, back up the hill, along the neighboring farm field and back up through the woods. There are other paths throughout the park – some designated for horseback riding and others for mountain biking. There are areas for fishing and canoe launces along the river. There are areas designated for hunting. There is a sledding hill, a play scape, and a lodge with a pavilion that can be rented for events.
On Sunday we took the main path down into the valley and along the river where the rose bushes were waiting. We stopped and picked rose hips for at least 1/2 hour before finishing the loop. Sadly I forgot to take picture while we were picking (the photo above is of our rose bush at the farm and was taken around the time of our first frost last fall). I did, however, remember to get out my camera as we ascended the hill. The first three pictures (below) are taken from the same vantage point. The first photo is the path that lay ahead. The second photo was the view as I turned to my left, and the third photo is looking back where we had come from.
This last photo was take once we were at the top of the hill. The fence and pine trees on the left separate the park from the neighboring farm filed.
As we picked rose hips we drew the attention of other walkers. Some inquired as to what we were picking and why. Perhaps you too are wondering why I wanted to pick rose hips.
Before I answer let me make this clear: I am not a Doctor. Nothing that you read here should be taken as medical advice. If you are sick you should seek help from a medical professional. You should check with your medical professional before using any type of medication or herbal supplement.
Rose hips are known to contain high amounts of vitamin C. You can check out this article from web md for more information. Vitamin C is said to be a great aid in the prevention of colds and flu, however if you read the web md article you will realize that vitamin C is destroyed when heated and quickly diminishes during storage. While rose hips have other beneficial properties that can withstand heating, processing and storage, it is the vitamin C that I want to capture. My solution is to make rose hip tincture. Simply put tinctures are made by soaking herbs in alcohol to extract the beneficial properties of the herb.
Here is how I made the tincture. After cleaning the rose hips I crushed them and put them in a pint-size jar. I then fill the jar with Everclear. Vodka or brandy can also be used for making tinctures but Everclear has a higher alcohol content and is said to extract more of the beneficial properties. I covered the jar with a tight fitting lid and gave it a good shake before storing it in a dark space where it will sit for at least two weeks. The instructions say I should shake it every day, but I do it as often as I remember when walking past. After at least two weeks (probably longer) I will strain the rose hips out and we will use the remaining liquid (tincture) as needed this winter to help ward off the bad guys (cold and flu bugs).
Rose hip tincture is not the only weapons in my flu fighting arsenal. It stands along side of elder flower tincture, that I like to make into syrup by mixing it with our raw honey, and hot pepper juice – a recipe I found here.
I have been grateful for the mild winter we have been having thus far, but it seems that change is in the air as the snow storm that arrived today brought along much colder temperatures. Brrrr!
How about you? Has your winter been good thus far? Do you have any special recipes you use to prevent or treat colds or the flu? I would love to hear from you.
Thank you for reading and be well. 🙂