Rose hip tea is a savory herbal infusion made by steeping fresh or dried, whole or crushed rose hips into hot water for 10-15 minutes. Because of the high content of vitamin C in rose hips and the excellent content of antioxidant polyphenols such as bioflavonoids, carotenoids and other antioxidants, but also water-soluble vitamins and minerals, rose hip tea is a source of several wonderful health benefits. Drinking rose hip tea holds benefits for the cardiovascular system, helping lower high blood pressure numbers, but also LDL cholesterol levels, aids digestion as well as supports the immune system function.
What are rose hips?
Rose hips are the edible fruits of the rose plant and can be eaten fresh, dried, frozen, stewed, baked, or any way you want to eat them, with or without seeds. Dried and finely ground rose hips are taken as dietary supplements for increasing vitamin C intake, boosting immunity, relieving arthritis-related knee or other joint pain and other uses. While there is a risk of allergic reaction, in which case they should be avoided in all forms and preparations, rose hips are fairly safe to eat and a tested and proven source of good nutrition and health benefits.
How to make rose hip tea
You can make rose hip tea by simply steeping rose hips in hot water for 10-15 minutes. You can steep fresh or dried rosehips, whole or crushed, with or without seeds, depending on your preference. Fruit size varies according to rose species, so you may want to adjust the amount of rose hips you steep depending on the size of the fruit. Or you can buy rose hip tea at the supermarket and infuse the tea bags as per the instructions on the tea package (usually 1-2 tea bags for 150-200 ml of hot water). You can buy 100% rose hip tea, with dried, whole or crushed rose hips, usually with seeds, or dried and ground rose hips. Rose hip and hibiscus tea is also readily available, and, if you check the label, you’ll find that a lot of teas labeled hibiscus also have significant amounts of rose hip in them. Less common tea flavors include rose hips and red berries, peach, apricot, raspberry, cherry, ginger and even lemongrass.
What does rose hip tea look like?
Depending on concentration, or the rose hips to water ratio, use of fresh, dried or ground fruits, and steeping time, rose hip tea looks and tastes different. For the most part, a steeping time of 5-7 minutes or under 10 minutes, along with the use of fresh, whole rose hips results in a lighter colored-tea, usually a clear yellowish or light brownish color, with a milder flavor. A steeping time of 10 minutes or more, with stirring and pressing on the fruits to release color and flavor, and the use of dried, crushed or ground rose hips, achieves a stronger-flavored and deeper-colored tea, usually orangey-brown or reddish-brown. Dark purple rose hips produce a darker red tea.
What does rose hip tea taste like?
The taste of rose hip tea is mild and sweet-tart. The tea is fruity, with an aroma profile reminiscent of both fresh and cooked fruit. The tartness makes it taste slightly sour, but refreshing at the same time, somewhat like cranberries. Steeping time, the use of fresh over dried fruits and other factors determine taste intensity. For the most part, fresh rose hip tea is lighter-flavored and lighter-colored, whereas rose hip tea made from dried and ground fruit has both a stronger flavor and a deeper color. A steeping time under 10 minutes results in a less flavorful tea, whereas steeping the fruit for at least 15 minutes, with stirring and pressing, encourages the release of color and flavor compounds, resulting in a better-tasting and better-looking tea.
Tips for the best rosehip tea
- For a more intense taste, use dried, chopped or ground rose hips and stir and press on the fruits to release pigment and flavor.
- If you use fresh rose hips, use double the amount you would for dried rose hips. Crush or chop the fruits, and stir the tea and press on the fruits continuously to get more flavor and color.
- When preparing your rose hips for tea-making, remove the stem and the small tuft of hairs at the ends. Use a tea strainer or tea infuser for loose tea, or a reusable tea bag to hold the fruit during steeping.
- If you are using store-bought tea, it’s best you buy 100% organic rose hip tea. And check the label to see if it contains other herbs or fruits.
- If you like to sweeten your tea with raw honey, add the honey only after the tea has cooled down. Choose your favorite honey variety and find out more about its benefits on the Honey Page.
- Don’t boil the fruit and use hot, not boiling water to prevent the degradation of vitamin C.
- You can also eat the fruit afterwards, but it might be a more pleasant experience if the rose hips hips have no seeds. Fruit with seeds can be used for face and skin care in general.
- Add a little hibiscus for a more intense red color.
How is rose hip tea good for you?
It’s a known fact that rose hips and rose hip tea are healthy. But how exactly is rose hip tea good for you? Well, the tea is essentially biologically active compounds from rose hip fruit extracted in water. The same compounds that give the fruit color and flavor are responsible for its therapeutic properties. Regular consumption is good for the heart and cardiovascular system, immune system, skin, kidneys and even digestive system. Find out the benefits below:
- Benefits for kidneys and bladder
Drinking rose hip tea benefits the kidneys by promoting a higher urine output and helping maintain normal kidney function. Rose hip tea is a natural diuretic, hence the reason it’s good for your kidneys. By increasing urine output and providing good amounts of both vitamin C and other biologically active compounds with antibacterial action, rose hip tea further promotes bladder health and may help prevent and reduce the duration of UTIs.
- Good for high blood pressure
Rose hip tea has diuretic properties and contributes to an increase in urine output which favors the elimination of salts predisposing to high blood pressure, such as sodium. Just as important, potassium and magnesium from the fruits leach into the tea water, counteracting the effects of excess sodium and helping lower high blood pressure numbers. According to studies, the blood pressure-lowering properties of rose hip are partly owed to other biologically active compounds such as flavonoids and polyphenols.
- Lowers LDL cholesterol
With over 24 g of dietary fiber per 100 g, rose hips actively help lower cholesterol levels. Rose hip tea made from finely ground rose hips or rose hip powder, and consumed whole (without removing the ground fruit from the water), can help lower LDL/low-density lipoprotein and total cholesterol levels. According to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, an increase in daily fiber intake of 10-15 g further accounts for a 2-point drop in blood pressure numbers, which rose hip and rose hip tea can help achieve.
- Reduces risk of cardiovascular events
Drinking the tea regularly contributes to a lower risk of cardiovascular events associated with high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol, including heart attack and stroke. Rose hip tea has a beneficial effect on blood vessel elasticity as well as a calming effect, acting on the nervous system to reduce anxiety and stress, furthering cardiovascular health.
- Antioxidant, antiproliferative properties
Rose hips are rich in vitamin C (with an average of 300 mg to 1300 mg of vitamin C/100 g) and antioxidants such as flavonoids, ellagic acid, quercetin and other polyphenols which modulate the immune system response. All of these compounds are transferred into the tea water via steeping and account for the antioxidant properties and, in the case of polyphenols, also antiproliferative properties of rose hip tea, preventing cell damage and inhibiting tumor growth. Studies show rose hip is higher in antioxidants than chokeberry, hawthorn, blackcurrant, blueberry and rowan berry.
- Anti-rheumatic, analgesic properties
Studies show rose hips contain anti-inflammatory compounds such as the galactolipid GOPO and cytokines and chemokines which reduce the production of inflammatory proteins, and antioxidants such as vitamins A and C, flavonoids and polyphenols which counteract oxidative damage caused by inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. Consumption of the fruit and tea helps manage inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis and reduces joint pain.
- Benefits for skin
Drinking rose hip tea helps maintain an optimal level of hydration and improves skin moisture, which translates into better looking skin. The tea is also a source of vitamin C and other antioxidants which exert an anti-aging effect on the skin. Being caffeine-free, it is not stimulant in nature and does not cause breakouts. The tea may be used externally, to wash the face – thanks to its astringent properties, it draws together the skin for a firmer, more youthful appearance.
What are the side effects?
Rose hip tea is relatively safe to use. Side effects, although rare, may include the following:
- Allergic reactions. In rare cases, there may be allergic reactions, in which case it is advised to avoid the tea and all other rose hip preparations.
- Low blood pressure. Drinking too much rose hip tea can cause blood pressure levels to drop too much. It is advised to avoid drinking too much rose hip tea if you have low blood pressure. Symptoms may include weakness, fatigue and fainting.
- Insufficient data for the use of rose hip tea for pregnancy.
- Diuretics such as rose hip and other herbal teas can interact with medication such as lithium.
- Digestive symptoms. Side effects such as stomach upset, abdominal pain and cramps, diarrhea or nausea can be a sign of an allergic reaction to rose hip. Otherwise the tea should be aid digestion and calm stomach upset.
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