Scientific research has discovered plenty of medicinal properties of the sweet briar rose. The inner surface of the plant’s fruit is covered by a layer of blonde, rigid hair, popularly called “itch-scratch,” about which Font Quer said “provokes itching when introduced between the shirt and the skin. The same is felt around the anus when, after eating sweet briar rose fruit, these hairs cross the whole digestive tract undamaged and leave their host.”
Sweet Briar Rose Scientific Facts
- Other names: Wild briar, eglantine gall, rosehip.
- French: Rosier des chiens.
- Spanish: Escaramujo, rosal silvestre, cinorrodon.
- Environment: Common along roadsides and bushes all over Europe, and naturalized to America.
- Description: Shrub of the Rosaceae family, growing from one to three meters high, with prickly stems. The leaves are alternated, with 5-7 oval folioles and toothed edges. The flowers have five pink or whitish petals. What is commonly known as a fruit, red and olive-shaped, is a pseudo-fruit formed by the remains of the flower calyx.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The fruits, the flowers, the leaves, and the root.
Healing Properties and Indications
The fruit of the sweet briar rose contains various sugars and organic acids, pectin, mineral salts, carotene (provitamin A), and vitamins B1, B2, C, E, and P (flavonoids). Its content in vitamin C reaches 600 mg per 100 g and can be up to 800 mg, being superior to that of lemon, which only contains 50 mg. Therefore, sweet briar rose is one of the most prosperous plants in vitamin C, ranked over the kiwi (300 mg), alfalfa (183 mg), and currant (170 mg).
Sweet briar rose is only second to the exceptional acerola fruit, which, when ripe, can reach 2500 mg of vitamin C per 100 g, and when green can reach 6000 mg. The properties of the plant’s fruit are the following:
- Invigorating and antiscorbutic: They are helpful for physical exhaustion, asthenia, and healing. Sweet briar rose fruits are an actual concentrate of natural vitamins, especially vitamin C. Though scurvy (lack of vitamin C) is a rare ailment in developed countries, a high supply of this vitamin has a stimulating effect.
- Immunostimulant: The fruit is used as defense stimulants, mainly to prevent influenza and colds. It is recommended for all infectious diseases, especially in children.
- Diuretic and depurative: They are recommended for edema, overload diet when it is rich in meat and animal products, gout, and arthritis, and whenever the action of a mild diuretic with depurative properties is required.
The FRUIT of Sweet briar rose has been used, eating it whole, against taeniae and other intestinal parasites, though with no scientific basis. Some people said they were effective due to their itching hairs, which intestinal parasites could not endure.
The PETALS of its flowers contain pectin, tannin, organic acids, and small amounts of essence. Like all rose petals, they serve as an ingredient to prepare rose water from which good results are obtained when washing eyes suffering from conjunctivitis or blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids).
The LEAVES and the root contain tannic acid and have astringent properties. They are used for simple diarrhea and gastroenteritis.
The SEEDS of briar rose, very hard, not only lack any effect on urine calculi as it was formerly thought, but when ground, they liberate a toxic essence that affects the nervous system.
Raw Briar Hip Marmalade
Once you have cleaned the fruit, mash it until you have a cream, and add the same weight of sugar. They will preserve all vitamins and will obtain a pleasant flavor. This marmalade or jelly, when kept in the refrigerator, can be preserved for several days.
How to use Sweet Briar Rose
- Fresh fruit: This is the best way to take advantage of the vitamin C content of this plant. Choose ripe fruit, open it, and wash under water, withdrawing all hairs and seeds. Eat a generous handful every day.
- Fruit decoction, with 50-60 g of fruit per liter of water. Drink four or five cups daily. Vitamin C is lost, but its diuretic, depurative, and mild astringent properties remain.
- Decoction of root and leaves, with 100 g of root and/or leaves of sweet briar rose in one and a half liters of water. Boil until the liquid reduces to one liter. Drink several cups daily as antidiarrheic.
- Water of roses: Steep in cold extract a handful of briar rose petals in a glass of water. After 24 hours, wring them out and throw away the petals. Wash the eyes with the resulting liquid.
REFERENCES George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 762,763,764. Print.