For fans of ethnobotanist James Wong or his Grow Your Own Drugs TV series, you’ll be pleased to know that there is a one-hour Christmas special of Grow Your Own Drugs on Wednesday, 16th December at 8pm on BBC Two.

In this programme, James will be looking at the origins of our favourite Christmas plants and how some of them can be used to make natural remedies, recipes and home-made presents.

The programme will include how to make ivy toning cream (to help relieve aching legs), truffles, massage oil, a hot toddy recipe, decorations, fennel and peppermint mice and rosehip sherbet.

If you miss it, it will be shown again on Saturday, 19th December at 2.30pm or you should be able to find and watch it on the BBC’s iplayer at a time to suit you.

Looks like there’s a new book coming out soon as well which will feature recipes for lots of remedies that you can make for yourself.



November 27, 2009

rosehipsOne of my early childhood memories is of enjoying a bowl of rosehip soup at my grandmother’s house in Sweden.  It tasted so delicious. I also enjoy a spoonful of rosehip syrup which is rich in vitamin C to help keep colds at bay. The syrup can also be drizzled over fruit, ice cream or yoghurt.

Here in England there are plenty of rosehips around, although now that there has been a frost they should taste sweeter (if you are a vegetable grower you’ll know the same is true of parsnips) and you’ll have to pick out the undamaged ones.

The wild rose – often known as ‘dog rose’ (Rosa canina) is a common shrub found in hedgerows and woods, the rose hips appear from late August to November in the British Isles but as mentioned above they should not be picked until after the first frost which softens and sweetens them.

History and Folklore

The rose has been an emblem of silence since the time of the ancient Egyptians.

In greek legend  Cupid is said to have given Harporates, the god of silence, a rose to bribe him to conceal the amorous affairs of his mother Aphrodite.

‘Sub Rosa’ literally means ‘under the rose’.  Any matters discussed under the rose were to be kept in strictest confidence.  Originally a rose was attached to the ceiling, however on the ceilings of banqueting rooms roses were sculptured there and served to remind the guests that what was spoken ‘sub rosa’ and under the influence of wine was not to be repeated. Perhaps there is some link with the name of our light fittings ‘ceiling rose’?


Rosehips are said to contains four times as much vitamin C as blackcurrant juice and twenty times as much as orange, this was discovered during the second world war when oranges and other sources of the vitamin were not available.  Rose-hip syrup was given to babies.

The constituents of rosehips are vitamin C, A, B1, B2, B3 and K, flavonoids, tannin, pectin, carotene, fruit acids, fatty oil, invert sugar, polyphenols, cartenoids, volatile oil, vanillin.

Growing Tip

Garlic planted nearby can help protect the plant from disease and insect predation.   I have planted chives around my Apothecary’s rose and it seems very healthy so far. You could use garlic chives instead.


Please click the links to see recipes:

Rosehip syrup

Rosehip soup

And we all know how good rosehip oil is for your skin but I wouldn’t recommend trying to extract it yourself. Luckily you can buy Rosehip oil from Trilogy via Love Lula (* yes, it is an affiliate link, so if you click on the image or text below and buy something, it  does generate a small commission for me that helps to support this site).

Buy Trilogy Organic Rosehip Oil