Winter in our neck of Alaska exposes an abundance of rosehips left over from mid-summer’s wild pink roses. Rosehips are known for their spectacular skin healing properties and are commonly used in a wide variety of cosmetics. Most know them for being rich in vitamin C, but they’re also a great remedy for eczema, wrinkle reduction, arthritis, gout, vitamin E, beta-carotene and lycopene. When boiled, rosehips make an excellent tea that aids constipation, diabetes, gallstones, ulcers and urinary tract infections. What a medicine!
Here I will share with you the process of creating a rejuvenating salve made purely of rosehips and other natural ingredients that you just might have around your home.
Rosehips are best harvested after the first heavy frost. Typically this makes for a sweeter tea but also it releases more of the nutrients for salve making. I prefer to take snips or scissors with me as I harvest for more efficient picking.
Once home with a small bucket of rosehips, spread them out on a baking sheet and set them to dry out on top of the wood stove overnight. You can also put them in the oven on low until slightly shriveled. Honestly, I tend to leave the hips on the wood stove for a couple of days so they are nice and crunchy. This makes the trimming process easier.
What You’ll Need:
- 8-12 oz cup of rosehips
- Olive oil
- Coconut Oil
- Pot to melt ingredients
- Containers to put salve
Time Needed: 3-6 weeks for cold infusion // 2-3 days for hot infusion
- Cold infusion simply means you place crushed rosehips in oil and set in a warm window sill
- Hot infusion implies cooking the rosehips in the oil using a double broiler method
Making the Infusion
Once you’ve dried out your rosehips a bit, take scissors to trim off excess foliage. You’ll want to leave just the “tomato-looking” portion. If the hips are dried enough you can usually pluck of the branches and tops with your hands. Crush the rosehips to expose the nutrients and place in a jar. Cover your crushed rosehips entirely with olive oil and leave to soak for 3-6 weeks. You can also place in a double broiler to hasten the process.
Making the Salve
Using cheesecloth and a kitchen strainer, pour the infused oil into a small pot. At this point you can squeeze every last drop out with your hands, or simply leave it alone for a couple of hours to let all the healing oil seep through the cheesecloth. When you’ve extracted all of your oil (about 8 to 12oz worth), begin adding your coconut oil – 2 large spoonfuls should be a good start. Add 2-3oz of beeswax and stir until melted. Turn off heat. Take a small measuring cup of salve to test in the refrigerator. Once entirely cooled and brought back to room temperature, test with your nail for desired consistency. There is no right or wrong when it comes to salve. If you like your salve to be harder, use more beeswax. If you like it softer to spread easier, use more coconut oil.
Once you’ve reached your desired consistency, you’re ready to add to jars or tins. I prefer to use a small funnel and dipping measuring cup to keep from wasting the salve on the counter. And there you have it, a salve void of toxic ingredients, rich in vitamins and healing for a number of ailments. This particular recipe is my go to for facial care twice a day.
For long term storage I suggest refrigerating. Otherwise, keep on the counter or take it with you for up to 10 months.