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Wild Rose
Rosa species

Often called, Brier Rose or Dog Rose, there are 100s of species of wild roses, so many in fact that identifying each has become difficult. In some cases the same species growing in another state is given another name, just as an example, the Virginia Wid Rose for instance may also be the Tennessee Wild Rose. To further complicate things wild roses often cross pollinate creating another variety. The genus Rosa consists of thorny shrubs or climbing vines found wild or cultivated. Growing in open fields, thickets, woodland edges and on dry banks. Wild roses are native to Europe thought to have originated in Asia and are now naturalized throughout the U.S. and Canada. Cultivation of wild roses is fairly simple and usually requires transplanting from the wild. They prefer dappled shade, moist, loamy, well drained soil and a trellis to climb for some varieties. Colors and sizes of the flowers vary from white or yellow to red or pinkish, and have a delicate but refreshing fragrance. Most wild rose flowers have 5 petals, but some are double or triple. The leaf structure is most often the same, bipinnate and odd-pinnate, usually consisting of 5-7 leaflets that are opposite, ovate, acute, and sharply serrate. They bloom from May to August. The oblong, scarlet to orange-red fruit or hips, contains many one-seeded achenes (hips) and ripen in the fall. Gather rose buds and petals as they bloom and hips in the late fall after the first frost. Dry for later use.

Properties: Wild roses are edible and medicinal. The fruit or hip can be eaten raw or cooked, remove the tiny hairs and seeds in the center. They are used in making jelly and jams and can also be dried to make a tea. Flower petals are great in salads adding a light flavor and beautiful color. The dried leaves are used as a tea substitute. Used as a medicinal plant all over the world for thousands of years wild roses are mentioned many old manuscripts and even in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs. Wild roses are astringent, carminative, diuretic, laxative, nervine and tonic. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a spring tonic. An infusion of the hips and roots is used in the treatment of colds, fevers, influenza, minor infectious diseases, scurvey, diarrhoea, dysentery, and as a treatment for stomach complaints and gastritis. The dried flowers are used in the treatment of heartburn. The infusion has also been used as an analgesic to treat nervous headaches. Its pectoral qualities make it useful as a gargle for coughs and sore throat. A strong decoction of the whole plant is used to treat bladder infection, kidney problems, inflammations, stress, menstrual pains and nervousness. The main constituents responsible for these uses are citric acid, flavonoids, fructose, malic acid, sucrose, tannins, vitamins A, B3, C, D, E, and P, calcium, phosphorus, iron, rutine, hesperidin and zinc. Five wild rose hips are said to be much higher in vitamin C than a whole lemon. Wild roses are being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers. Rose hips are also known to lower saturated fats and triglycerides, helping to control blood pressure and good for the heart. The seed is rich in vitamin E and an oil extracted from the seed is used externally in the treatment of burns, scars and wrinkles. A poultice of the chewed leaves is used in an emergency to allay the pain of bee stings.


Folklore: Rose hips were the original rosary beads warn by Catholic priest. To the ancient Egyptians, roses are a token of silence. Ancient Greeks believed that roses became red from the blood of Aphrodite, who had pricked her foot on a thorn while trying to save her beloved, dying Adonis. The Turks claim the white rose was stained red by the blood of Mohammed.


Infusion: to 1 to 2 tsp. hips buds and petals add 1 cup boiling water. Steep 10 min. sweeten to taste.

Decoction: soak hips in a small amount of water for 12 hours, add 1 cup water. Boil until 1/2 cup of liquid remains. Drink throughout the day.



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