History, Identification, & Uses of Roses

The rose: queen of the flowers and symbol of love. This flower is more than a gift to show your love to someone but a great medicinal plant that has been used for centuries.


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Ledgens and lore about roses go back over 3,000 years. The Greeks believed that roses formed after the goddess Aphrodite got her foot stuck on a thorn, which bled and formed the rose while trying to help Adonis. The Turks believed that red roses obtained their color from the blood of Muhammad after his blood landed on the flower and stained it. It is also said that roses did not get their thorns until the fall of Eden.

The Egyptians were known for their perfumes, which often included roses, but most notably is how Cleopatra used them. It is said that she once had the floors of her palace covered in roses petals that were knee deep! She hoped that the romantic aroma of the flower would help her win over Mark Anthony when he came to visit her. Whether it was the flowers or Cleopatra herself, she did win him over.

The modern rose can be traced back to China and now can be found throughout the world. There are some native species to other parts of the world including Europe and North America. Today the rose is best known for its fragrance and it’s fruit, rose hips, that are high in vitamin C. All parts of the rose have been used in medicine and has been used to treat anything from topical injuries, uterus issues, and the cold and flu.

Vitamin C

There are over 100 different species of roses so that means there are over 100 different types of rose hips available. Not every rose is the same so that means that not every rosehip will the same either. One study tested 11 different species to find which one had the highest amount of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). They found that the species Rosa villosa have the highest source of vitamin C.

Vitamin C is important to have because it is water soluble and does not store in the body. This vitamin is responsible for the growth and repair of tissues throughout the body. It is used by the body when healing wounds and repairing bones. There is a possibility that vitamin C could also help lower the risks of certain diseases or improve symptoms of chronic diseases.

Medicinal Roses

Due to the number of different rose species available, there are some species that have been used in medicine and for other purposes for centuries. The rose hips from the species Rosa villosa has the highest concentration of vitamin C but here are some other roses that are commonly used:

  • White Rose (Rosa X alba)
  • Dog Rose (R. canina)
  • Provence Rose (R. centifolia)
  • China Rose (R. chinensis)
  • Damask Rose (R. damascena)
  • Eglantine Rose (R. eglanteria)
  • French Rose (R. gallica)
  • Cherokee Rose (R. laevigata)
  • Japanese Rose (R. rugosa)



Common Name: Rose
Scientific Name: Rosa spp.
Flowers: colors vary, single flower or in clusters
Leaves: alternate, pinnate, 5-9 leaflets
Fruit: turns from green/yellow to red, sizes vary, hard or pulpy
Harvest Time: Spring- first autumn frost
Parts Edible: Petals, hips (fruit)
Found: Native to mostly China, found throughout the world; likes damp ground

Historic Uses

-Rose petals have been used as tonics and mouthwashes to treat catarrhs, sore throats, mouth sores, and stomach issues
-Roots were once used to make teas
-In ancient Greece, rose petals mixed with oil was used to treat uterus problems
-In Ayurvedic medicine, rose petal poultices have been used to treat skin wounds and inflammation and rose water was used as a laxative
-During high middle ages in Germany rose hips were used to treat just about anything
-Native Americans mixed the petals with bear grease to treat mouth sores, powder petals were used t treat sores and blisters, and rose water made with rainwater was used on sore eyes
-Native Americans also used the inner bark of the rose to treat boils
-Since the 1600’s roses have been used to treat headaches, dizziness, mouth sores, menstrual cramps, diarrhea, tuberculosis, coughs, vomiting, and to strengthen the stomach

Vitamins, Minerals, & More


-Volatile oils

Properties: astringent, carminative, diuretic, laxative, ophthalmic


-Vitamins A, B, C, E, K
-Organic acids
-Essential fatty acids

Properties: anti-inflammatory, astringent, carminative, diuretic, laxative, ophthalmic



-Rose hips are used in making teas, syrups, jams, jellies, and wine
-Hips are also used in baking and cooking
-Petals are made into rose water
-Oil from the petals are used in perfumes, soaps, candles, and more
-Rose petals are often candied and used in desserts or fresh salads
-Both rose hips and petals can be found in many beauty products
-Dried flowers are used in decor and potpourri


-Consuming too much rose petals and rose hips can cause diarrhea due to too much vitamin C
-Other side effects may include:  nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, stomach cramps, fatigue, headache, inability to sleep
-Do not give to children under two years of age
-Rose hips could interact with many medications talk to your doctor before using rose hips if on:

  •  Antacids
  • Estrogen pills
  • Antipsychotics
  • Diuretics
  • Blood thinners
  • Anti-Inflammatories

-Rose hips could interact with any of the following conditions: diabetes, blood disorders, kidney disorders, heart attacks


-Flowers should be harvested during the spring and summer after they have bloomed
-Rose hips should be harvested in the fall when the hips are orange to red
-Hips will become sweeter after the first frost but harvest before they begin to dry out
-Soft rose hips are spoiled


Where to Purchase

Rosebuds/petals (dried)
Rose hips
Rose essential oil


Canndied Rose Petals
Rose Petal Jam
Rose Hip Whiskey Smash
DIY Rose Water
Wild Rose Petal Sangria

Practicing Sustainable Wild Harvesting

  1. Only harvest plants you know are safe and can identify
  2. Only harvest plants in safe areas that are not contaminated or polluted
  3. Do not harvest on private property without permission
  4. Harvest no more than 10% or use the method: take 1 leave 2
  5. Know how to handle and prepare the plants you are harvesting
  6. Always check the legal status of the plant you want to harvest (is it endangered?)

Rose Profile


Rose Hip Benefits
PFAF Dog Rose
Web MD Rose Hips
The History of Roses
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
-Carr, Anna, William H. Hylton, and Claire Kowalchik. Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs. N.p.: Rodale, 1998. 422-27. Print.
-Castleman, Michael. The New Healing Herbs: The Essential Guide to More than 125 of Nature’s Most Potent Herbal Remedies. 3rd ed. N.p.: Rodale, 2010. 403-05. Print.

Disclaimer: All information on Not Your Typical Hippie is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor, veterinarian, dietician, or health expert. If you wish to have advice on a medical problem, please consult a doctor. I cannot guarantee that any information provided will work for every person. Please consult a doctor before making any health changes. I am not liable for any choices you make based on the information provided on this website. (Learn more here)

Could Eating Less Beef Save the Planet?

Summer is often defined by BBQs, potlucks, and picnics with hamburgers being one of the main events. When you and your friends gather around do you think about what it took to make that beef that you are now grilling up? Beef, though tasty, has a bigger impact on the planet than you might think.

Over 24 billion pounds of beef was consumed in The United States in 2015 according to the USDA’s statistic database. That is over 28 million cows that were slaughtered for their meat. That is a lot of cows. Surprisingly, though, Americans ate less beef in 2015 than they did 10 years prior in 2005. I’m not here to talk about the ethics of eating beef nor am I telling you to never eat beef again. Let’s take a look at how these 28 million cows may be impacting our environment.Continue reading →

Relaxing Immune Boosting Herbal Tea With Elderberry

Let’s face it, being sick sucks and can be really stressful. Just being stressed can even make you sick. If you’re going to drink a hot cup of tea why not choose something relaxing that will also help you feel better?

Relaxing Immune Boosting Herbal Tea

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Elderberry is one of the best herbs available that can help with colds and the flu. However, if you’re like me you like variety and having the same thing over and over again can get old! I wanted a tea that could help boost the immune system but also help with de-stressing and getting to sleep.

This tea is good both hot or cold and with a little bit of honey added to it. The elderberry and rosehips are there to help boost your immune system and give it a bit of a berry taste. Lavender is a great aromatic herb that helps you relax. Passionflower is what really helps you relax and can make you sleepy. Peppermint is last which is cooling and can help settle the stomach. This is definitely a tea to drink before bed! You can always leave out passion flower or replace it with ginkgo leaves if you prefer to have this during the day. Below are some of the awesome properties that these herbs provide.Continue reading →

Eco-Friendly Sex: Going Green in the Bedroom

When adjusting your lifestyle to be more eco-friendly what you do in the bedroom isn’t something that’s immediately on your mind. In fact, sex is one of those things that no one really thinks about or knows exactly how to switch to something more eco-friendly while still being safe. There are options out there. Sex is a natural part of life so we shouldn’t feel so awkward talking about it.

Eco-Friendly Sex_ Going Green in the Bedroom (1)

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Many sex products are made from plastics, especially if it’s latex free, and most of them are disposable products. How you change your habits in the bedroom could not only positively impact the planet but your health too. Let’s take a look at some products available that won’t hinder what goes on in the bedroom while reducing your impact on the planet.Continue reading →

How to Have an Eco-Friendly Valentine’s Day

Love is in the air and many of us will be reaching for a card, box of chocolates, and some roses to show our significant other how much we love them. There are many eco-friendly options available to show your love without having to contribute to the landfill and potential pollution this Valentines’s Day.

How to Have an Eco-Friendly Valentine's Day

A lot of holidays are very wasteful and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Christmas can put a lot of strain on some of our natural resources, specifically trees, but Valentine’s Day puts stress on not only trees but natural mineral ores (such as gold and silver), and the flower and cocoa industry. On top of the natural resources strain, it also contributes to our wasteful lifestyles and sends a lot of trash to the landfills.

Here are some ideas to keep your Valentine’s Day a zero waste an eco-friendly holiday with your significant other.

1. Recyclable Cards

Over 190 million cards are estimated to be exchanged during Valentines Day. It’s not as big as Christmas’ 1.6 billion cards but if you add up all of the cards sent out for each holiday during the year it adds up to a lot. One of the biggest issues with cards is that many of them are not recyclable due to added glitter, embellishments, and plastics. Choosing a plain old paper card that can be recycled is a great option but you should also encourage the receiver to recycle it when they are done with it. Better yet, don’t send cards at all or send digital ones.Continue reading →

Light Mountain Natural Henna Hair Dye Review

Henna has been around for thousands of years and the use of henna to decorate the body originates from the Middle East and India. Today it is very popular around the world as a temporary tattoo but can even be used to dye the hair.

Light Mountain Natural Henna Hair Dye Review

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Henna has always been interesting to me but it’s not surprising that plants can be used for dye. Plants were the first dye material but dying our hair with is isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind. This was not only my first time using any sort of henna but also my first time dying my hair!

I’ve wanted to dye my hair for some time now but didn’t want to use the harsh chemicals that are involved in dying hair. It can also be pretty expensive to go to a salon to get your hair done. I also didn’t want to try at home permanent hair dye since I’ve never dyed it before. I kind of act like I don’t care too much about my hair and to a point, I don’t, but the health of my hair is more important to me than how it looks. What drew me to henna was the fact that it is made from plants and can actually help repair your hair.Continue reading →

History, Identification, & Uses of White Pines

White pines are one of the largest trees in the Eastern United States. They play an important role in the lumber industry but have had many different uses throughout the centuries.

white pine

The tallest white pine in the United States is located at Mohawk Trail State Forest in Charlemont, MA. It stands at 174 feet tall and before the settlers cut most of the white pines dow down they stood as tall as 230 feet. Due to their large size, this made them optimal for building ships. It’s a possibility that white pine lumber played a role in sparking the American revolution. Since Britain was short on lumber, King George I claimed the tallest white pines for the British Royal Navy. Three hatchet slashes known as The King’s Broad Arrow was used to mark the King’s trees. The settlers wanted to keep their livelihood alive and disregarded the marks and cut them down anyway. After finding out what happened, the British tried to charge those who stole the trees and the town rioted.

White pine trees have a long historic use by the Native Americans. The Ojibwa Indians have a legend about a chief who’s dying wish was for his son to plant a seed from a tree he collected a long distance from their home every time a child in the tribe was born. His son did as his father wished and planted these seeds every time a child was born. After some time these trees grew into great white pine trees and he began to collect seeds from these trees. Continue reading →

Natives: The New Garden Ornamentals

Ornamental plants are very pretty and make landscapes very attractive. However, many ornamental trees that are planted in yards and cities are not native to the region. Non-natives can become invasive, though not all are, but also can have a harder time growing in our climate or soil types. Planting native plants is a better option for not only maintenance but also for the environment.

Natives_ The New Garden Ornamentals


Have you ever seen a Japanese maple tree? They are gorgeous trees but as the name suggests, they are from Japan and not native to the U.S. Not all non-natives become invasive but most of them do not provide anything for the local ecosystems. Some do end up outcompeting native species and can even be hazardous as they age such as the Bradford Pear tree. Planting native plants provide shelter and food for local fauna and can even tolerate local soils. Being from Ohio, I’m going to be talking about native plants from the Midwest and the Eastern United States.Continue reading →

How to Make an Elderberry Tincture

Elderberries are a great immune booster and making a tincture from the berries provides an easy way to get the plant’s benefits. Tinctures are easy to make and have a longer shelf life than most remedies available.

How to make an elderberry tincture

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Tinctures are one of my favorite remedies because they are easy to use, have a long shelf life, and are easy to store. If you are unfamiliar with tinctures, they are essentially a strong alcohol extract. Infusing herbs in a high proof alcohol creates a potent herbal extract that contains the medicinal qualities of the herb used. You can learn more about tinctures here.

Elderberries have a long history and are a well known medicinal ingredient. In Germany, elderberries are approved for the treatment of coughs, bronchitis, fevers, and colds. Today, it is a common remedy for colds and flu due to it’s immune boosting properties. There are many ways to take elderberries including tea, syrups, tinctures, and even desserts. Elderberry syrup is easy to make as well but it has short shelf life, must be kept in the freezer, and contains honey that not everyone can have. This tincture is great to have on hand and one dosage has the strength of two cups of tea!Continue reading →

Healing Eczema Salve

Many of us suffer from dry skin, especially during the winter, but some suffer from eczema that can be itchy and painful. There are many herbs available and when combined together can create a healing and soothing salve to help with dry skin and eczema.

Healing Eczema Salve


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I first started working on an eczema lotion in December of 2015 for my husband. Eczema is not uncommon in his family and this was the first time he developed eczema in the time that I knew him. It started on his hand and it was bothersome to him but we didn’t think much of it. Next thing we knew it had taken over the back of his hand, his fingers, and spread all the way up to his elbows on both arms. It was painful and uncomfortable and his skin looked like a dried, cracked piece of land hit by a drought.

The tricky thing about eczema is that you don’t always know what is causing it or why. It’s not something that can be cured but is managed usually by lotions and avoiding things that cause flare-ups. It took awhile but we found that for my husband his eczema is worse in the winter and his flare-ups are usually caused by dust (he works retail) and from most soaps. We have completely switched what shampoos and soaps we use, he uses gloves while doing dishes, and uses an eczema salve almost every day and it helps keep his eczema at bay.Continue reading →