If you’re gathering wild rose hips, just about any species will do, but the rugosa roses will be much easier to work with. Their hips are much larger than most of the other species and with something like rose hips, the more usable fruit you can get for your time, the better. Rose hips take a while to process, as you’ll see. It’s not that they’re difficult to process; it’s just that they take time and there aren’t any real shortcuts. For that reason, when I harvest hips, I usually harvest them from rugosa plants.
I’m harvesting the last cluster of ripe rose hips from my Rosa rugosa plants this week. I usually harvest homegrown rose hips in two batches – one pretty soon after the first or second frost when the hips start to feel a little softer and they look a little more translucent than they do before they’re ripe, and one more batch a couple weeks after that when the few clusters that weren’t ready yet the first time look ripe. When they’re ripe, their skin starts to feel a little bit like the skin of a ripe plum – fleshy, with a little bit of give to it, but not mushy like an overripe peach.
Have you had a chance to read through October’s AromaCulture Magazine yet? It’s such a fun issue with articles about growing your own herbs, small-scale, at-home distillation of hydrosols and essential oils, therapeutics of different herbs, hydrosols, and essential oils, book excerpts, and more! You can find the issue here.
How to Make Golden Spiced Salve
Every year about this time, I start wanting to use all the warming herbs and spices in everything. It usually starts happening right around the day that the weather starts to feel a bit crisp and our first fall rain arrives. It’s like an instant transition for me.
I go from tank tops and flip flops to cozy sweaters and knee-length socks and chunky scarves and homemade quilts and spiced chai lattes and baked goods with all of the flavors of pumpkin spice lattes. The cozy season sets in deep over here.
I generally start to move away from the citrus-scented products of the summer toward the more sweet, spicy notes of the fall in my body care products too. My remedies start to take on a warmer tone.
And I start to use a lot of turmeric. Which is saying something, because I already use quite a bit of it throughout the year. But in the fall, it somehow makes its way into everything. Teas, honey, eggs, baked goods, veggies, rice… all. of. the. things.
One of my go-to anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving formulas for clients, especially at this time of year, is a golden spiced salve that incorporates turmeric into the blend.
- 2 ounces of your favorite carrier oil
I like to infuse mine with skin-friendly herbs that also have analgesic properties, but you could also use a plain carrier oil if it’s all you have on hand. I do recommend using something with a somewhat neutral or golden color, though, to enhance the golden color of the finished salve. Sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, and jojoba all work really well.
- 0.5 ounces of beeswax
- 1/2 teaspoon of organic turmeric powder
- 1/4 teaspoon organic cayenne powder
- 12 drops lavender (Angustifolia) essential oil
- 6 drops of ginger (Zingiber officinale) essential oil, distilled from the fresh root
- 6 drops of sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) essential oil
Note: This recipe calls for about a 2% dilution of essential oils. The overall blend is pretty strong as it is with the turmeric and cayenne added. If you are working with a more acute kind of ailment that has more pronounced pain, you could double the amount of each essential oil to increase the dilution to a total of 4%. This would be ideal for short-term use for an acute issue. The recipe as-is would be well-suited for something that needs more regular care.