Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wild remedies

Got a cold?

So, bought a nice "Encyclopedia of medicinal herbs" the other day, and was reading it while developing my lovely new cold, and in there, it says that rose hips have about 50 times more vitamin C per 100g than oranges, + all manner of other important and useful stuff.

While I was sniffling, I remembered that I still have some in the freezer and decided that today is as good as any for an experiment. The internet tells me that an orange has about 45 mg of C, compared to an equal quantity of hips having about 500 mg.

Decoction of Rose Hips, Take:

2-3 pounds of rosehips,

put them in the blender with a little water, just long enough to break them up. Add a bit more water and simmer over a low heat for about ten minutes. Let it stand over night. Strain through cheese cloth. The last step is quite a doozy, since it's really goopy stuff, and quite difficult to squeeze. Hang the ball of rose-goo in the cheese cloth above a bowl and manfully squeeze the heck out of it, scraping off the gishy red stuff that comes oozing out with a rubber spatula. Save it all in a seal-able tub. Keep refrigerated, but if you've got a lot, freeze it. It won't keep as long as commercial fruit juices and will start to ferment (though rose hip wine might be a good next step.)

3 pounds gave me just about exactly one large yogurt tub's worth of thick bright red goo. It's so high in ascorbic acid (vitamin C) that the decoction is going to be very tart, much too tart to take by itself. So, when you take it to cure what ails you, pour some into a tea cup and add a warm (not hot) mixture of water and honey. Heating destroys vitamin C, so don't heat up the decoction and add honey, but do the honey a bit at a time directly into the tea cup. A decoction is better for you than making syrup, since syrup needs to boil a long time and has huge amounts of sugar.

Rose hips are, of course, of the rose family, which includes nearly all the berries and a lot of the fruit we like, so they are quite tasty. Probably the reason we don't eat them more is the seeds are a pain. They're covered in these very fine hairs which are a bit like fine cactus prickles and are not at all nice to eat, hence all the straining through cloth. But once you've got the goo out, it's wonderful. It's going to be the nicest tasting cold medicine you'll ever take.

The herbalist websites say that a little bit three times a day will help you get over your cold faster, and if you take a little with your breakfast every morning as a regular thing, you're going to more or less avoid colds forever.

If you go out for rose hips, they're best right after the first early frost. The freezing makes them into soft fruit, and you can pick them off the branch (carefully) and just suck out the nice red stuff, and the seeds stay inside in a little ball.

Amount Per 1 cup (127 g)
Calories 206
% Daily Value*
- Total Fat 0.4 g, 0%
- Sodium 5 mg 0%
- Potassium 545 mg, 15%
- Total Carbohydrate 49 g,16%
- Dietary fiber 31 g, 124%
- Sugar 3.3 g
- Protein 2 g, 4%
- Vitamin A, 110%
- Vitamin C, 901% (!!)
- Calcium 21%
- Iron, 7%
- Vitamin B-6, 5%
- Magnesium 22%


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