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Roses are among the most appreciated flowers in the world. Today there are more than thousand varieties of this beautiful flower, and some of them are the hybrids, made specifically to obtain certain color, texture, fragrance or other qualities. It is almost impossible to see a beautiful, well-attended garden or park without at least one rose shrub.

Roses have been used for centuries for making cosmetic products and fragrances. For most of them the base is rose oil, made from crushed and steamed rose petals. Almost all perfumes for women contain this fragrance in some degree. Bulgaria is one of the biggest producers of rose oil, covering 70 percent or 80 percent of total rose oil production in the world.

These precious flowers are also used in aromatherapy and they are the indispensable part of potpourris.

Roses, however, also have medicinal qualities, particularly rose hips.

What are rose hips

After the flower blooms, reaches its peak and the petals dry off and fall off, they leave rose hips behind. They are usually red or orange, but depending on the variety they can be purple or almost black. Almost all roses produce hips but the ones that are the best and the tastiest come from Rosa Rugusa variety. Their flavor is fruity and similar to cranberries. They are best if harvested right after the first frost, when they are most likely to be softer and tastier.

Culinary and medical use of rose hips

Rose hips can be used in many forms- fresh, dried, boiled or preserved. They can be made into jam or jelly or they can be added to dishes like soups, stews, cakes, marmalade, pudding, pie and apple sauce.

Rose hips are very healthy because they represent an excellent source of vitamin C. Dog rose, or Rosa canina, has hips that contain more vitamin C than citrus fruit. During World War II, the English used to make rose hips syrup as a supplement of vitamin C for the children because the import of citrus fruits was limited due to the war.

Another important thing about rose hips is that they have anti-inflammatory properties, especially beneficial for people who suffer from osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease.

In addition, rose hips contain carotenoid pigments, tocotrienols and high levels of phytochemicals that have anti-cancer properties. They are also excellent against cardiovascular disease.

Rose hips are traditionally used as a laxative and a diuretic, which means they relieve constipation and help expel excess fluids from the body.

They can be used to help with urinary tract diseases, diarrhea and more common illnesses like cold and flu.

Herbal tea from rose hips is made with two tablespoons of dried or crushed berries boiled for ten minutes in about two cups of water.

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