Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Mar 18, 2019.
Scientific Name(s): Rosa acicularis Lindl., Rosa canina L., Rosa cinnamomea L., Rosa rugosa Thunb.
Common Name(s): Dog rose (R. canina), Haw, Hep, Rose hip, Rose hip seed
In addition to providing an excellent source of vitamin C, moderate evidence exists for the use of rose hip preparations in osteoarthritis.
In traditional medicine, a dose of 2 to 5 g of the plant material (as tea) is taken 3 to 4 times a day. Dosages of 5 to 10 g/day of rose hip powder have been used in clinical studies in osteoarthritis.
Contraindications have not yet been identified.
Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.
None well documented.
Loose stools and flatulence as well as allergy have been reported.
Information is limited.
- Rosaceae (Rose)
Rose hips grow from a perennial rose plant, which can grow 3 to 5 m tall. The thorny branches bear pink and white flowers and, later, scarlet fruits called "hips." These rose hips are the ripe ovaries or seeded fruit of roses forming on branches after the flower. The fruit is approximately 1 to 2 cm long by 0.5 to 1.5 cm thick, oval in shape, and fleshy, shrunken, and wrinkled. Inside the hips are 3 or more small (3 to 5 mm), angular, yellow-brown seeds, which account for 29% of the weight of the hip. The 1.25 to 3.25 g hips are picked in autumn and used for the drug. R. canina is native to Europe, North Africa, and temperate areas of Asia.Chevallier 1996, USDA 2013
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 traditionally as nutritional supplements, they have also been used as mild laxatives and diuretics. Rose hip syrup was used as a nourishing drink for children and has also been used to flavor teas and jams.Blumenthal 2000, Chevallier 1996, Duke 2002
Fresh rose hip contains 0.5% to 1.7% vitamin C,Blumenthal 2000 usually found as a combination of l-dehydroascorbic acid and l-ascorbic acid. However, the vitamin C content of dried, commercially available rose hip products varies considerably. Loss of vitamin C depends on growth conditions and processing methods. Fruits cut in half lost less than 50% vitamin C in 18 months storage, whereas ground drug lost 100% in 6 months.
Rose hip also contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and K, and folate. Other ingredients include pectin (11%), tannins (2% to 3%), malic and citric acids, flavonoids, red and yellow pigments (especially carotenoids), polyphenols, invert sugar, volatile oil, vanillin, and a variety of minor components. Fatty acids, including palmitic, linolenic, and alpha-linolenic acids, have been identified. Assay methods have been described.Chrubasik 2008, Horváth 2012, Wenzig 2008
Uses and Pharmacology
The antioxidant activity of rose hip, ascribed to the ascorbic acid content, has been investigated using chemical assay methods and an ischemia/reperfusion injury model.Chrubasik 2008, Widén 2012, Yi 2007
Rose hip's effects on proinflammatory cytokines have been demonstrated in vitro, and new cartilage formation has been shown in canine chondrocytes.Saaby 2011, Shakibaei 2012 Inhibitory action of both COX-1 and COX-2 has been reported.Cameron 2009, Jäger 2007 Anti-inflammatory action of R. canina extracts against paw edema in rats has been observed.Lattanzio 2011
Limited clinical studies have been conducted, and reviews and 1 meta-analysis have included studies sponsored by the manufacturers of a rose hip preparation.Cameron 2009, Christensen 2008, Chrubasik 2006, Chrubasik-Hausmann 2014 Most studies report a moderate effect on osteoarthritis, as measured by reductions in Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index scores and use of rescue medication.Rein 2004, Winther 2005 One small study (N = 52) found no difference between the pseudofruit powder (Litozin) and rose hip shell powder (20 g/day) in disease-specific outcomes for patients with acute low back pain after 3 months of supplementation.Chrubasik-Hausmann 2014
However, negative findings for activity against C-reactive protein have been reported in a clinical study investigating the effect of 10 g of rose hip powder in rheumatoid arthritis over 28 days. In addition, no anti-inflammatory effect was found.Kirkeskov 2011
No changes in blood glucose levels in rabbits were reported for either aqueous or ethanol rose hip extracts.Chrubasik 2008 The chemical constituent tiliroside, however, showed a glucose-lowering effect.Chrubasik 2008 Improvements in glucose tolerance tests and lipid profiles in mice have been demonstrated with the administration of powdered rose hip.Andersson 2011
In a small (N = 31) clinical crossover study, systolic blood pressure, total plasma cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, and the high-density lipoprotein/low-density lipoprotein ratio were reduced in obese patients. Participants consumed a drink containing rose hip powder (8% rose hip, no seed) daily over 6 weeks.Andersson 2012
Anti–Helicobacter pylori activity by the carotenoids of rose hip has been demonstrated in vitro.Horváth 2012 Weak activity against Escherichia coli and modest activity against Candida albicans have also been noted.Chrubasik 2008, Yi 2007
Aqueous extracts showed weak cytotoxic effects, whereas ethanol and petroleum ether extracts demonstrated cytotoxicity on sarcoma cells.Chrubasik 2008 Inhibitory activity against melanoma cells has been shown in rodent studies.Fujii 2011 A phenolic fraction extracted from R. canina fruit showed activity against human tumor cell lines, but a flavonoid fraction showed low activity.Tumbas 2012
Rose hip syrup was used as the placebo in a study evaluating probiotics in irritable bowel syndrome; however, rose hip syrup itself may show activity in the GI tract.Chrubasik 2008 The antidiarrheal effect of a methanol rose hip extract was observed in rats with castor oil–induced diarrhea.Mandade 2011 The traditional use of rose hip as a mild laxative may be related to the presence of malic and citric acids, to purgative glycosides (multiflorin A and B),Shakibaei 2012 or to pectin content in the plant.Wichtl 1994 Adverse GI effects (loose stools and flatulence) were reported in a clinical study that used drinks containing rose hip powder over 6 weeks.Andersson 2012
Purported diuretic effects have been disputed.Chrubasik 2008 In rodent studies, decreased calciuria after administration of rose hip tea suggests a role in urolithiasis.Chrubasik 2008, Tayefi-Nasrabadi 2012
In traditional medicine, a dose of 2 to 5 g of the plant material (as tea) is taken 3 to 4 times a day.Chrubasik 2008
Dosages of 5 to 10 g/day of rose hip powder have been used in clinical studies in osteoarthritis.Cameron 2009, Christensen 2008, Kirkeskov 2011, Winther 1999 One trial used dosages of up to 45 g/day.Winther 1999
Pregnancy / Lactation
Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking. An older study noted increased contractility in uterine muscle tissue with a decoction of rose hip seed.Chrubasik 2008
Interactions with rose hip are not well documented.
Digoxin lab assay
Rose hip, hibiscus, and hibiscus-rose hip tea has been shown to interfere with the electrochemiluminescent immunoassay method for measuring serum digoxin levels resulting in false positives. Crossreactivity was not found using the Abbott Digoxin II (MEIA) or Immulite Digoxin assays.Fresz 2014
The German Commission E Monographs lists no known risks for rose hip.Blumenthal 2000 Allergy, including contact dermatitis and keratitis associated with the species and related plants, has been noted.Chrubasik 2008, Venkatesh 2005 Adverse GI effects (loose stools and flatulence) were reported in a clinical study using drinks containing rose hip powder over 6 weeks.Andersson 2012, Blumenthal 2000
Ingestion of rose hip is not generally associated with toxicity.Blumenthal 2000 Antimutagenicity Ames tests did not find mutagenicity for raw, boiled juice, boiled leaves, or dried seeds.Chrubasik 2008
In older toxicological tests in frogs and rodents, a lethal dose was not reached in frogs for decoctions of rose hip and rose hip seed, whereas in rodents, central depression and death were noted with rose hip extract but not with seeds.Chrubasik 2008
No effect on blood pressure, plasma leptin, or fibrinogen was found in human volunteers who drank 11.2 g/day of rose hip powder.Chrubasik 2008
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