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Foraging - still time to smell the roses

Foraging - still time to smell the roses

Published: 01 October 2019

Go petal-detecting!Brigit-Anna McNeill talks about foraging and wild food at The Sharpham Trust

Welcome to the latest news-post with our resident forager Brigit-Anna McNeill.

Here she suggests making the most of the last of the roses for a calming tonic and fragrant, colourful food ingredient.


Foraging at The Sharpham TrustOn these Autumn days many roses here on the Sharpham Estate are still sending out beautiful rich smelling blooms before their bright hips appear. 

Rose petals as a medicine are blood-moving, which aids pain relief and brings quicker healing. As an anti-inflammatory astringent as well as an anti-bacterial they help to reduce swelling, redness and stop infection and are extremely gentle and safe.

Rose acts as a heart-settling nervine. It can bring peace to the body and spirit, and can help to lift anxiety and depression.

Roses are also often used as a remedy for women too. The whole of the plant can be used and the growing tips of the rose canes are rich in  hormone-like substances that help women with menstrual difficulties.

Foraging at The Sharpham Trust for wild food and medicine

Not only are roses a good medicine but they are also a great food, containing lots of healthy flavonoids and huge amounts of vitamin C, polyphenols and other heart-healthy compounds.

All types of roses can be eaten; bushy ones, white, yellow, pink or red ones, little ones, big ones, delicate ones, wild or cultivated ones (I personally prefer the rambling wild ones). Foraging at The Sharpham Trust

Just be careful to only use ones that are unsprayed.

I like to throw petals over any dishes, sweet or savoury, make warm rose petal and cacao drinks on cold days, dry the petals for tea, make rose petal puddings and raw chocolate or eat rose petal sandwiches. 

To make the most of the last of this years roses I have decided to make my old recipe of rose-petal elixir that was handed down to me from my Grandmother. A heady potion that smells and tastes as though it has captured the essence of love.

It is absolutely divine in taste and smell - I use it when the need for calm arises. 

This elixir acts as a mild nervine, giving a calming effect without sedating.


Method & ingredientsForaging at The Sharpham Trust

Here is how I make my rose-petal elixir:

  • Find a 1-pint jar
  • fill jar with rose petals
  • fill it halfway with raw honey  (if you're vegan you can use an alternative such as date syrup or maple syrup)  
  • top up the other half with brandy or glycerine
  • Let it sit for 4-6 weeks shaking regularly. At the end of this time strain and bottle.

Take a few drops or a sip when needed. Enjoy!