Rosehip oil is a very fine oil made from the rose seeds. The petals of many roses are used in cosmetic preparations but only one rose is preferred for rosehip oil. This species rose is called Rosa affinas rubiginosa. It is thought to be the same as mosqueta rose (Rosa eglanteria) and sweet briar rose. Though they vary slightly from region to region they are all considered the same species in rosehip oil production.
The fleshy outer tissue containing the rose seed is called the hip. In botanical terms it is actually the uterus portion of a rose plant's reproductive organs. The entire hip can be dried and used in teas and jellies. The seeds are what are used to make rosehip oil. The seed is harvested when the hips are fully developed and mature in late fall. The seeds are irregular in shape and light in color.
Rosehip oil is produced by two processes. The simplest process is to cold-press the oil from the seeds. To gather an even stronger product the extraction method is used. Ethanol, water and natural pressed vinegar are used to separate the oils from the seed.
Rosehip oil is volatile and should be used within six months from the time it is manufactured. It is a clear to yellowish liquid. The odor of the seed oil is more like linseed oil. If it has a slight rose scent or tinge of pink color it comes from the outer hip when the seeds are removed. Store the oil in an air-tight glass bottle in a cool dark place. Oxygen and sunlight will cause oils to deteriorate quickly.
Rosehip oil is mild and can be applied directly to the skin. It contains a non-irritating form of vitamin A and vitamin C. It also has a large amount of essential fatty acids like linoleic acid, omega3 and omega 6. These ingredients have regenerative and antioxidant effects on the skin. This is why rosehip oil is added to so many anti-aging products and wrinkle creams. It is especially good for the fine lines that develop around the eyes. It also has a healing effect on burns due to injury or sun exposure. Rosehip oil is also used as a carrier oil to dilute more highly concentrated essential oils. The light oil is easily drawn into the skin and will pull in the other ingredients.
Ancient European herbalists kept records of the use of rosehip oil. It was used routinely by Medieval monks for healing and nutritional purposes. Rosehip oil is used as much today by the traditional medical community as it is by natural healers. Rosehip oil can reduce the harmful effects to the skin caused by radiation. It is often recommended for stretch marks and for surgical scars.
The mosqueta rose is native to Chile. It has been growing naturally in Europe and Asia for centuries. Sweet briar rose has also naturalized in much of the United States and Canada. It is a bushy shrub rose that reaches 5 to 8 feet in height. The flowers are fragrant as are the serrated leaves. The flowers are pink with a lighter center and yellow stamens. The hips are orange-red and oblong in shape.