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Wild Rose

  • Rosa canina L.
  • Rosaceae
  • Rose family

Common Names

herbsBrier hip
herbsBrier rose
herbsDog rose
herbsEglantine gall
herbsHep tree
herbsHip fruit
herbsHip rose
herbsHip tree
herbsHop fruit
herbsShatapatri (Sanskrit name)
herbsSweet brier
herbsWild brier
herbsWitch's brier
herbsYeu-ji-hua (Chinese name)

Parts Usually Used

Rose hips (fruit), flowers

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Brier hip is a bushy shrub; varying in height from 2-13 feet, its numerous stems are covered with sharp spines and prickles. The leaves are odd-pinnate, usually consisting of 5-7 leaflets that are opposite, ovate, acute, serrate, and hairy beneath. The flowers are red, pale red, or nearly white and appear from May to July. The oblong, scarlet to orange-red fruit, or hip, contains many one-seeded achenes and ripens in the fall.

There are literally 100s of species of rose, and to them and their varieties have been given thousands of names. The genus Rosa consists of prickly shrubs found wild or cultivated. Red roses are considered best for medicinal use.

Other varieties used as rose hips: Rock-rose (Helianthemum canadense); Rosa californica; Cabbage rose (Rosa centifolia); Rosa Damascena; Rosa eglanteria; Rosa gallica; Rosa laevigata; Rosa roxburghii; Large-hip rose (Rosa rugosa); Rosa chinensis.

Where Found

Grows in open fields and thickets and on dry banks from Nova Scotia to Virginia and Tennessee. It is naturalized from Europe, where it is found around the edges of woods, hedges, garden fences, and on sloping ground.

Medicinal Properties

Astringent, carminative, diuretic, tonic

Biochemical Information

Citric acid, flavonoids, fructose, malic acid, sucrose, tannins, vitamins A, B3, C, D, E, and P, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc

Legends, Myths and Stories

The rose, cultivated for over 3,000 years and known from time immemorial as the queen of the flowers, is thought to have originated in Asia Minor. The genus name Rosa is derived from the Greek work rodon, meaning "red". The ancient Persians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used the rose not only as a garden ornamental but as the main ingredient in various perfumes and cosmetics.

According to Christian legend the rose grew in the Garden of Eden without thorns; but after the fall, thorns sprouted to remind man of his sinful and imperfect nature.

Roses of different colors often have special connotations: the pink rose represents simplicity, often being associated with the Virgin Mary; the yellow rose means perfect achievement, and sometimes jealousy; and the red rose signifies passion and sensual desire, shame, and occasionally blood and sacrifice. From the times of the ancient Egyptians, the rose has been a token of silence.

Many legends purport to explain how the red rose acquired its color. Assuming that the rose was originally white, the Greeks held that it became red from the blood of Aphrodite, who had pricked her foot on a thorn while trying to aid her beloved, dying Adonis. The Turks claim the white rose was stained red by the blood of Mohammed. Christian legend has the red rose resulting from the blood of martyrs.


Good for all infections and bladder problems. Helps combat stress. Particularly good for digestion and produce a diuretic effect without irritating the kidneys. Kidney stones or gravel; brier hips used as a preventative or arrestant. Use for kidney and bladder inflammations. By eliminating uric acid accumulations, brier hips help in gouty and rheumatic complaints. A decoction of crushed achenes is also sometimes used for fever and as a beverage tea. Rose hips enhance fruit dishes and drinks. Both the hips ant the petals are made into jellies.

Rosewater and glycerin, an old-fashioned cosmetic, but really is very effective. Use a rosewater-to-glycerin ratio between 50-50 and 75-25.

Try candied rose petals.

Formulas or Dosages

Infusion: use 1 to 2 tsp. hips (without seeds) with 1 cup boiling water.

Decoction: use 1/2 to 1 tsp. powdered achenes with 1 cup water. Boil until 1/2 cup of liquid remains. Drink in the course of the day.

Rose hip tea: Long served in northern Europe. Very high in vitamin C and good for daily use. The dried, finely chopped rose hips must be soaked in a small amount of water for 12 hours before using. The tea is made by simmering 1 tbsp. rosehips in 3 cups of water for 30-40 minutes. A small amount of dried hibiscus flowers makes a nice addition to this tea, giving it a lemony flavor and a very attractive burgundy color.

Nutrient Content

Vitamins A, B3, C, D, E, and P, Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, Zinc

How Sold

Rosewater is available from the pharmacy. Also, rosewater and glycerin may be found.


Do not use roses that have been treated with pesticides or pesticide-containing fertilizers.

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