12 Amazing Benefits of Rosehips
Updated: Feb 3, 2020
Rose hips are naturally replete with vitamin C. They are false fruits of the wild rose plant – and they are edible! They have been traditionally used for their medicinal properties and are heavily researched today. Thanks to the presence of ellagic acid, lycopene, and phenols, rose hips offer numerous benefits and enhance your health in various ways.
What Are Rose Hips?
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 Rosehip Good 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 rosehips benefits, let’s first have a glance at the nutritional value of this fruit.
Health Benefits Of Rose Hips
Rosehips benefits are many and the reason that they are so popular is because they are highly effective in treating a wide variety of health conditions. Let us see what are they.
1. May Help 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 may 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. This is becase rose hips may interact with prescription and over-the-counter drugs (9).
Rose hips also contain other active compounds called carotenoids, which are known to decelerate the expansion of certain forms of tumor (10). Rose hip extract was also found to prevent epithelitis, which could be caused by radiotherapy in patients with head and neck cancer (11). The fruit has also been observed to stop and even reverse the growth of certain cancers (12).
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 (13).
2. Lower Cholesterol
Regular intake of rose hip extract has been linked to lowered cholesterol levels (14). 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 of the major benefits of vitamin C is potential stimulation of collagen production in the body. 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 (15).
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 (16).
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 (17).
Vitamin C in rose hips also helps your body absorb iron better (18). Iron has several benefits, the major one being preventing anemia and keeping your blood healthy. And yes, vitamin C may help prevent and shorten the duration of 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 (19). In another study conducted back in 2008, rose hip powder had reduced pain in the hips, joints, and knees by about a third (20). 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 (21). In fact, one popular arthritic medicine called LitoZin is made from processed ground rose hips (22).
Another important quality about rose hips (with respect to treating arthritic symptoms) is they don’t have ulcerogenic effects like certain other medications (23).
5. Can Help Manage 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 (24). 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
The flavonoids and antioxidants in rose hip also protect the body against heart disease (26).
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 (27).
Also, certain studies state that the anti-inflammatory properties of rose hip are attributed to its seed, and not its shell (28). The anti-inflammatory properties of rose hips also help prevent cartilage erosion (29).
8. Aid Digestion
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 (31).But make sure you check with your doctor if you are on BP medications.
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 (32). The oil from the fruit is also good for correcting dark spots and treating dry or itchy skin.
According to a Japanese study, rose hip, if taken orally, could be used as a skin-whitening agent (33).
Rose hip also contains quercetin, which has been found to prevent melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer. A Thailand study states that using rosehip powder for skin can improve aging-induced skin conditions (34).
11. Enhance Blood Circulation
Rose hip tea, when brewed, may 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).
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