Rose Hips

Scientific names: Commonly derived from Rosa canina, R. rugosa, R. acicularis, or R. cinnamomea. Numerous other species of rose have been used for the preparation of rose hips.

Common names: Rose hips also are known as heps and dog rose (R. canina).

Efficacy-safety rating:

ÒÒ...Ethno or other evidence of efficacy.

Safety rating:

...No safety concerns despite wide use.

What is Rose Hips?

Rose hips are a perennial plant with thorny branches that give way to pink and white flowers and scarlet fruits, called “hips.” These rose hips are the ripe ovaries or seeded fruit of roses forming on branches after the flower. They are oval in shape and appear fleshy, shrunken, and wrinkled. Inside the hips are 3 or more small yellow-brown seeds. R. canina is native to Europe, North Africa, and temperate areas of Asia. The fruits (hips) are picked in autumn and used medicinally.

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What is it used for?

Traditional/Ethnobotanical uses

Once used as a folk remedy for chest ailments, R. canina hips were popular in the Middle Ages. They are a natural source of vitamin C, which has led to their widespread use in natural vitamin supplements, teas, and various other preparations including soups and marmalades. Although these products have been used historically as nutritional supplements, they also have been used as mild laxatives and diuretics. Rose hip syrup was used as a nourishing drink for children and to flavor teas and jams.

Nutritional uses

Fresh rose hips contain 0.5 to 1.7% vitamin C. However, the vitamin C content of dried, commercially available rose hips products varies considerably. While some accounts suggest that rose hips are the richest natural source of vitamin C, a number of more concentrated sources have been identified. Citrus fruits contain approximately 50 mg vitamin C per 100 g; uncooked broccoli, kale, and kiwi fruit, approximately 100 mg; black currants, guavas, and some tropical vegetables, 200 to 300 mg; rose hips (Rosa canina), 1,250 mg; acerola or Barbados cherry (Malpighia punicifolia), 1,000 to 2,330 mg; and Terminalia ferdinandiana, up to 3,150 mg. In addition to vitamin C, rose hips also contain vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and K. Other ingredients include pectin, tannins, flavonoids, carotenoids, and a variety of minor components.

In supportive therapy for cases of vitamin deficiency, use of rose hips for vitamin C is rational. Because a significant amount of the natural vitamin C in rose hips may be destroyed during drying and processing, many “natural vitamin supplements” have some form of vitamin C added to them. One must read the label carefully to determine what proportion of the vitamin C is derived from rose hips vs other sources. This information, however, is not always available on the package label but, when freshly consumed, rose hips have extremely high levels of vitamins in a form readily absorbed by the body.

Other uses

Rose hips also have been used for diuretic actions (its diuretic action has been disputed), to reduce thirst, and to alleviate gastric inflammation. None of these medicinal uses has been proven clinically.

What is the recommended dosage?

There is no recent clinical evidence upon which dosage recommendations can be based. Classical use of rose petals was 3 to 6 g daily.

How safe is it?

Contraindications

Contraindications have not yet been identified.

Pregnancy/nursing

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions

None well documented.

Side Effects

There have been no reported side effects except in those exposed to rose hips dust who have developed severe respiratory allergies.

Toxicities

No data.

References

  1. Rose Hips. Review of Natural Products. factsandcomparisons4.0 [online]. 2005. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed April 23, 2007.

Copyright © 2009 Wolters Kluwer Health

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