Rosehips are obtained from the Rosa rubiginosa plant, native to the mountainous areas of South America. The hips are actually the fruit of this rose bush. Rose hips are sometimes eaten raw or ground as a source of vitamin C. The oil is extracted by cold-pressing (a chemical-free process using only pressure) and is used in many applications. Rosehip oil is high in unsaturated fatty acids, natural retinol (vitamin A), vitamin E and vitamin C.
Used in creams, lotions and toners, rosehip oil is marketed as a natural way to alleviate dry skin. As a an ingredient in rose water, a toner, it is said to even skin tone and allow for better absorption of moisturizing products. Because it contains a high level of natural retinol, it is marketed as a product to treat scars and other skin damage caused by burns, surgery and even varicose veins.
Rosehip oil is a very common ingredient in many aromatherapy products including massage oil, air fresheners, soaps and bath oils. Rosehip oil has a very intense fragrance and is highly prized for use in perfumes.
Native Americans and pioneers used rosehips in a variety of culinary ways. The rosehips were usually boiled or ground to release the essential oils and then used in teas, jellies and syrups.