You may not have heard of this before. Or maybe you did.
But I didn’t. Which is why I simply had no idea about its benefits.
Until recently, when I came across this fruit somewhere – and things were not the same again. In a good way, that is.
Wondering what on earth I am talking about? Go ahead and give this article a read.
Rose Hip – A Brief
An accessory fruit of the rose plant, the rose hip is also called rose hep or rose haw. Other names include dog rose fruit, hipberries, hip fruit, hop fruit, and brier hip. It is usually red or orange, but in some species, the color ranges from dark purple to black.
The fruit begins to form in early summer, and ripens in the late summer through autumn. It is popularly used to make the traditional Hungarian fruit brandy called palinka, which is well known in countries sharing Austro-Hungarian history.
The rose hips come in two varieties – Rosa gallica and Rosa canina, which are native to Asia, Europe, and North Africa.
The fruit is usually harvested either about a week after the first frost or in late fall.
What Is Rose Hip Used For?
The fruit has a number of uses.
Primarily, it has its use in preventing a number of ailments – some of those include osteoarthritis and stomach ailments (1). It can also be used as a diuretic and mild laxative. The fruit is also used to reduce thirst and other types of gastric inflammation (2).
Before we proceed to the actual benefits of this fruit, let’s first have a glance at its nutritional profile.
1 Value per 100.0g
1.0 cup 127g
|Total lipid (fat)||g||0.34||0.43|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||g||38.22||48.54|
|Fiber, total dietary||g||24.1||30.6|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||mg||426.0||541.0|
|Vitamin A, RAE||µg||217||276|
|Vitamin A, IU||IU||4345||5518|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||mg||5.84||7.42|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)||µg||25.9||32.9|
Benefits Of Rose Hips
1. Prevent Cancer And Other Chronic Diseases
According to one study, rose hip extract had reduced the growth and migration of breast cancer cells (3). In the study, the highest concentrations of rose hip extract had reduced the migration of breast cancer cells by as much as 45 percent. The fruit extract also prevented the cancerous growth in the brain, a place where the breast cancer cells tend to spread to.
Another Serbian study focuses on the phytochemicals present in rose hip tea. The polyphenols present in the fruit prevent the human cancer cells from proliferating (4).
According to a Spanish study, rose hips could be active components in functional diets that can help prevent colorectal cancer (5). The fruit also has an anti-inflammatory action, which contributes to its cancer-preventive properties (6). Rose hips contain certain bioactive compounds like phenols, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), beta-carotene, tannins, and pectins – all of which help curb oxidative stress, which can otherwise lead to cancer (7).
A Japanese study also stressed on the efficacy of the fruit to suppress inflammation and the resultant cancer cell proliferation (8). One major flavonoid in rose hip, called tiliroside, possesses commendable anti-inflammatory action. Though the rose hip extract is safe, one thing must be kept in mind – patients who are taking rose hip along with some medication must exercise extra care.
Rose hips also contain other active compounds called carotenoids, which are known to decelerate the expansion of certain forms of tumor (9). Rose hip extract was also found to prevent epithelitis, which could be caused by radiotherapy in patients with head and neck cancer (10). The fruit has also been observed to stop and even reverse the growth of certain cancers (11).
Rose hips, surprisingly, also contain lycopene (the compound that renders them their red color). Lycopene is popular for its anticancer activity. It stimulates the communication between cells, the damage of which leads to the growth of cancerous tumors (12).
2. Lower Cholesterol
Regular intake of rose hip extract has been linked to lowered cholesterol levels (13). The fruit is particularly effective in obese patients – patients who consumed a drink made of rose hip powder daily for six weeks saw a significant drop in their total blood cholesterol levels by as much as 5 percent. This drop can even reduce the risk of heart disease by 17 percent. Rose hip can also be used as a safe alternative to anti-cholesterol drugs (like statins) that might have side effects.
3. Additional Vitamin C Benefits
Rose hips are so full of vitamin C that the nutrient deserves a special mention. By the way, did you know that the fruit contains 60 times the vitamin C found in an orange?
One major benefit of vitamin C is collagen production. Collagen is a protein that forms the connective tissue in the body. The vitamin also treats inflammation and improves immunity. It prevents scurvy, a disease that can cause muscle weakness, joint pains, rashes, and tooth loss (14).
The vitamin C in rose hips also helps maintain the health of blood vessels. And because of the high levels of this vitamin, even the American Indian tribes had used the tea from the fruit to treat respiratory ailments (15).
Here’s a quick tip for you – when it comes to cooking rose hips (or any food rich in vitamin C), never use aluminum pans or utensils as they can destroy the vitamin in the food (16).
Vitamin C in rose hips also helps your body absorb iron better (17). Iron has several benefits, the major one being preventing anemia and keeping your blood healthy. And yes, vitamin C also treats and prevents cold and flu symptoms. So, you don’t have to worry even if the seasons are changing.
4. Help Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis
In one study, patients who received rose hip showed greater improvements in arthritic conditions (18). In another study conducted back in 2008, rose hip powder had reduced pain in the hips, joints, and knees by about a third (19). The study was conducted on 300 osteoarthritis patients.
Rose hips also contain the fatty acid GOPO, which, as per experts, is the plant version of fish oil. And GOPO could be one of the contributing factors for the fruit’s anti-arthritic properties. Rose hip extract pills were found to reduce arthritic pain by as much as 90 percent (20). In fact, one popular arthritic medicine called LitoZin is made from processed ground rose hips (21).
Another important quality about rose hips (with respect to treating arthritic symptoms) is they don’t have ulcerogenic effects like certain other medications (22).
5. Can Help Treat Diabetes
Certain animal studies hint that regular intake of 40 grams of rose hip powder can lower blood sugar levels and aid in diabetes treatment (23). Mice induced with rose hip powder showed better glucose tolerance than mice that weren’t – and this indicates a similar possibility in humans.
6. Good For The Heart
In one study conducted by Sweden’s Department of Experimental Medical Science, intake of rose hip powder was found to significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (24).
The flavonoids and antioxidants in rose hip also protect the body against heart disease (25).
7. Treat Inflammation
This could be similar to what we have seen about rose hip and its favorable effects on osteoarthritis. As per one Denmark study, regular intake of rose hip can reduce the levels of C-reactive protein, a substance produced by the liver that increases in concentration with an increase in inflammation (26).
Also, certain studies state that the anti-inflammatory properties of rose hip are attributed to its seed, and not its shell (27). The anti-inflammatory properties of rose hips also help prevent cartilage erosion (28).
8. Aid Digestion
As reported by the University of Michigan, the skin of the rose hip fruit can help prevent stomach pain and treat other digestive problems (29).
9. Regulate Blood Pressure
According to one report by the United States Department of Agriculture, intake of rose hip can result in significant drops in blood pressure levels (30).
10. Improve Skin Health
The oil from the rose hip fruit penetrates deep into the skin layers and improves skin health. The vitamin C, as we saw, stimulates the production of collagen and reduces wrinkles and fine lines. The fruit also contains vitamin A that improves the moisture content of the skin.
Rose hip oil also combats the UV damage by the sun. The antioxidants in the fruit improve skin texture and tone, and help treat pigmentation. The essential fatty acids in rose hip oil also prevent scarring and encourage skin regeneration. But remember, the oil must not be directly applied to acne.
Celebrities like the Duchess of Cambridge and Victoria Beckham (amongst a few others), as per reports, use rose hip oil to keep their skin free from blemishes (31). The oil from the fruit is also good for correcting dark spots and treating dry or itchy skin.
Rose hip also contains quercetin, which has been found to prevent melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer. A Thailand study states that using rose hip powder can improve skin conditions induced due to aging (34).
11. Enhance Blood Circulation
Rose hip tea, when brewed, can enhance blood circulation (35).
12. Improve Kidney Health
According to a report by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, rose hip can be used to treat kidney disorders (36).
Now that you saw the benefits, how about checking out some nutritious rose hip recipes?
Rose Hip Recipes
1. Rose Hip Jam
What You Need
- 1 cup of rose hips, trimmed and seeded
- 2 sets of ¾ cup of water
- 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 package of powdered fruit pectin
- Add the rose hips, water, and lemon juice to a blender. Blend for about 15 seconds or until the mixture is smooth. While the blender is running, add the sugar. Blend for about 30 seconds until the sugar is dissolved.
- Stir the pectin into the second ¾ cup of water. Add to a saucepan and bring to a boil. You can boil hard for about a minute. Slowly pour this into the rose hip mixture, and blend for about 30 seconds.
- Pour the jam into small containers (they must have lids). Store them in the refrigerator. If you are not going to use the jam in a few days, you can store it in the freezer (up to a year).
2. Rose Hip Soup
- 1 cup of fresh rose hips
- 2 liters of water
- 1 liquid quart of rose hip for pulp for each liter of water
- 1 ½ tablespoons of potato flour
- 1 ½ tablespoons of sugar
- ¼ cup of almonds
- Rinse the rose hips and crush them once dried.
- Boil them in water until they turn soft.
- Press them through a colander. Measure the pulp. If necessary, you can dilute with water.
- Bring the pulp to a boil and add sugar. If it is too tart, you can add more sugar.
- Mix the potato flour with some cold water.
- As you stir, thicken the soup and bring it to a boil.
- Add the blanched and shredded almonds.
Rose hip has a few fascinating uses too!
Uses Of Rose Hip
- Rose Hip Syrup
According to certain personal records, rose hip syrup can help treat arthritis pain. And in addition to vitamin C, the syrup also boosts vitamin D intake. So, if you are someone who has minimum sun exposure, this could be a plus.
Preparing the syrup is pretty easy. You need 2.2 pounds of rose hips, 3 liters of water, and 1 pound of soft brown sugar. Boil 2 liters of water. Mash the rose hips and add them to the boiling water. Remove from the heat and allow it to steep for about 20 minutes. Pour the rose hips and liquid into a jelly bag and allow the juice to drip through. You need to extract as much liquid as possible.
Add the rose hip pulp back to the saucepan with 1 liter of water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow to steep for about 20 minutes. Strain through the jelly bag again.
You can finally add sugar to the strained rose hip liquid, simmer for 5 minutes, and pour it into sterilized bottles.
- Rose Hip Powder
You can use rose hip powder to prevent common cold and other related symptoms. You can do this when the weather is subject to change. Simply mix the powder in your morning breakfast cereal or yogurt or smoothie.
- Rose Hip Tea
The tea, just like the fruit, has anticancer and immune-boosting properties. It is rich in antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress, which can otherwise lead to several health complications.
What Is The Recommended Dosage?
There is no specific dosage as such. For rose petals, the dosage is around 3 to 6 grams a day (37).
Oh yes, we are done with the benefits. But what about the side effects?
Most side effects of rose hips come from an excessive dosage of vitamin C, and to achieve that, one must consume an unrealistic 100 grams of the fruit in a day.
Even then, an overdose of vitamin C is not lethal. Some of the side effects include headache, dizziness, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and heartburn. It might also cause nausea and fatigue (38).
- Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Talking about pregnant or breastfeeding women, there is no reliable information. Hence, only use food amounts. Or totally avoid its use.
- Kidney Stones
Large amounts of vitamin C can also cause kidney stones. Hence, people with kidney issues must consult their doctor before consuming the fruit.
- Drug Interactions
Rose hip can interact with estrogens as it contains vitamin C. The fruit might also interact with warfarin, a drug that is used to slow down blood clotting (39).
We very well know you have more questions. And we have answered them all below.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
What does rose hip taste like?
Unlike the name suggests, the fruit doesn’t taste like roses. It tastes tangy.
Does rose hip oil cause acne or trigger breakouts?
Though the vitamin C in rose hip replenishes the skin, it can be too stimulating for skin prone to acne. Hence, use it on alternate days to avoid breakouts (40).
Is rose hip oil good for sunburn?
Yes, it is. You can apply the oil to sunburned skin.
Are rose hip seeds edible?
Yes. Certain reports say that they might contain very little amount of cyanide. And one needs to consume unrealistic amounts of the seeds to have any lethal effects.
How do you dry rose hips?
Very simple. Wash the rose hips and dry them on a newspaper in the sun. If the weather is not conducive, you can use a food dehydrator.
What is the relation between rose hip and hibiscus tea?
No specific relation as such. Except that the two are naturally sour and offer a range of health benefits.
Now you know about rose hips and their wondrous benefits. So, what do you do next?
Simple. Head to the nearest market and pick a basketful of the fruit.
And before that, leave a comment in the box below. Your comments are valuable.
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