Gwichya Gwich'in Name:
Teetł’it Gwich’in Name::
After the showy pink flowers bloom in June and July, the fruit develop into red berries called rose hips. The red berries are best picked and eaten when they are ripe in August and September. Remember to spit out the seeds before swallowing or you will quickly learn why rose hips are called “itchy bums!” Rose hips can also be fried and eaten. Boiled rose hips can be mashed and strained through a cheese cloth to remove the seeds. The strained juice can then be made into jam, jelly, or syrup. In early summer, green rose hips can be picked, boiled and strained to make a thickening agent, like Certo. Green rose hip juice can either be used immediately or stored in jars for later use.
Rose hips are an excellent source of vitamin C and make a good cold remedy. Fresh rose hips can be eaten for relief from summer colds. For a winter supply, they can be dried, frozen, or boiled and strained to make a juice that can be stored in jars. Annie Norbert was told by Louis Cardinal that rose hips are good for the heart. Laura Pascal (COPE) used boiled petals for heat rash and cuts.
Source: Andre, Alestine and Alan Fehr, Gwich'in Ethnobotany, 2nd ed. (2002)
The rose petals of the wild rose or prickly wild rose plant are used to make an eye or a face wash. The Gwich’in names nichį̀h (G), nichih (T) refer to the berries of this plant.
Source: Andre, Alestine, Nan t'aih nakwits'inahtsìh (The Land Gives Us Strength) (2006)
Recipe for making wild rose eyewashRuth said it will take a few days to make the wash. Water that is boiled and cooled to room temperature is used. A jar that contains warm water and rose petals is sealed with a lid. The jar is set on a window sill or kitchen counter and the jar is given a shake or turned upside down and then back the other way at least four times a day for about three to five days. The water is then strained into a sterile bottle. The water can be heated up and then allowed to cool down again. To bathe the eyes, use tepid water or water that is skin temperature. The wash will clear red eye or cloudy eye conditions or refresh tired eyes.