Rose Hip and Sage Vitamin C Syrup

Rose hip and sage syrup is my kids' favorite.  Winter is here and it seems like everyone is getting sick, so I like to promote wellness in our home with delicious syrups that we take by the spoonful, or drizzle on pancakes and oatmeal.  It's the perfect time of year to collect rose hips around here, and sage is available year-round where I live, but if you don't have access to them, you can order them here.  

Rose hips are incredibly high in vitamin C and have a tart taste our whole family loves.  Honey has a long history of medicinal use.  It contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients.  It is antimicrobial, emollient and demulcent (Green, 2000).  It is also an excellent preservative.

Sage is much loved in our home, and has a variety of uses.  I include it in this syrup because of it's ability to rebuild strength during long-term illness (Gladstar, 2012) and for the delicious, unexpected flavor it brings to the rose hips.  It is antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal, and fights infection (Cech, 2000).

To prepare the rose hips:

 use a sharp knife to carefully cut each hip in half.  Remove the seeds and save the fruit.

Once you have prepared all of your rose hips, or you have approximately 2 cups of halved, scraped hips, you are ready to make your syrup.

To make the syrup you will need:

  • 4 c filtered water
  • 1 and 1/4 c dried rose hips, or 2 c fresh rose hips, prepared
  • 1 T dried sage (either white sage or garden sage)
  • a splash of whiskey (optional, but so good)
  • 1-2 c honey, depending on preference 


1. In a sauce pot, simmer the rose hips and water on low until the liquid is reduced by 1/2.  

 2. Stir in the sage, turn off the heat and let sit for a minute or two.  

3. With a fine mesh strainer, strain out the solids and return the liquid to the pot.  

4. Mix whiskey and honey into the liquid.  *Adding the alcohol technically makes it an elixir.  It also extends the shelf life and I think it makes it taste even better.

5. The more honey you add, the sweeter it will be and the longer shelf life it will have.  

6. Once your syrup has cooled a little you can pour it into sterilized bottles and store in the fridge.

If you harvested more rose hips than you can use, you can dehydrate the remainder (halve and remove seeds first).  Once they are completely dry you can store them in a sealed container for a year or more, until you need to make more syrup.

Lastly, if you have a seed press, save those seeds!  Rose hip seed oil makes a lovely serum.

Stay well this winter!

Love, Ashley

Photos by Lauren Ross

Women's Heritage