Roses are one of the most widely recognized flowers, and the petals are prized for fragrance and beauty. But there's another part of the plant with many health benefits: rose hips.
Rose hips show up after the petals and flower-buds have fallen off. They are a beautiful red color and packed with nutrients.
Although sometimes used decoratively, rose hips are prized for their medicinal value.
Here's more about the health benefits of rose hips and what they are used for.
What Are Rose Hips?
Rose hips are the fruit (sometimes called pseudo or false fruit) of the rose plant. They typically start forming in late summer or autumn and are ready to pick after the flowers have fallen off the plant.
Rose hips are one of the most nutrient-packed fruits of any plant.
They've been used medicinally for centuries to treat a range of diseases, and the health benefits of rose hips are gaining attention in the modern world. (1)
Along with medicinal use, rose hips have historically been prized as a food source. Jams, jellies, wine, pies, and marmalade can all been made with rose hips.
They also provide a food source for wildlife and, in some regions, livestock.
Nutritional Benefits of Rose Hips
Rose hips are packed full of vitamin C with 1 oz. providing almost 200% of the recommended daily value. (2)
In fact, rosehip syrup was used in the UK during World War II to take the place of citrus fruits that were difficult to obtain. (3) It especially helped children, the sick, and the elderly to get enough vitamin C in their diets.
Rose hips also contain a good amount of vitamin A, plus other important nutrients like vitamin E, vitamin K, manganese, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. They even have a healthy amount of fiber.
The health benefits of rose hips are also due to the fruit being a rich source of antioxidants, which are known to fight chronic diseases and cancer. (4)
Other Benefits of Rose Hips
Boosts Immune System
Vitamin C (also called ascorbic acid) is one of the most essential nutrients for boosting immune health. It stimulates the immune system and is especially supportive during stress. (5)
With their high vitamin C content, rose hips are one of the best medicines for your immune system.
They have been used for centuries to fight off infections like colds, flus, and respiratory issues. (3) You can also use rosehip tea or syrup as a preventative during cold and flu season.
Anti-Inflammatory and Pain-Relieving
They have also demonstrated an ability to reduce pain. Rose hips and arthritis relief have been especially studied in recent years.
Rosehip powder has been shown to consistently reduce arthritis pain without the potential negative side effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirin. (6)
An herbal remedy made with rosehip powder was found in another study to reduce pain and improve hip mobility in over 64% of participants with osteoarthritis. (7)
Apart from arthritis, rose hips can also have benefits for calming skin inflammation. They make a good addition to skincare products for red, dry, sensitive, or irritated skin.
Healthy Skin + Anti-Aging
Rose hips are high in vitamin A, which is an important nutrient for skin health. It helps to regenerate skin cells, keep skin from drying out, and has been used to treat acne. (8)
You can take rose hips internally as a tea or use the powder topically for healthier and brighter skin.
The antioxidants in rose hips also fight signs of aging including wrinkles, loss of skin moisture, and loss of elasticity. (9) Rose hip oil can especially be beneficial for dry or aging skin.
Because of its skin-healing properties, color, and scent, rose hips are often an ingredient in lotions, creams, and soaps.
May Help Weight Loss
Rose hips are showing promise as a natural supplement to help with weight loss and prevent obesity.
In one study, pre-obese participants were given either a tablet that contained rosehip extract or a placebo. No other changes were made to their diets.
The results showed that those in the rose hip group had their abdominal fat, body weight, and body mass index all decrease significantly. (10) This fat-burning power may be due to an antioxidant called tiliroside.
While the study was done with a rosehip extract, drinking a daily cup of rosehip tea can help your overall health and may help you lose weight, too.
Benefits Heart Health
The high amount of antioxidants and vitamin C in rose hips means that they have benefits for heart health. Their anti-inflammatory nature also helps to reduce chronic inflammation, which can lead to heart disease.
One review found that taking 500 mg of vitamin C a day decreased LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Another study showed that flavonoids (a type of antioxidant) can reduce blood pressure and improved blood flow to the heart. (11)(12)
When used in powdered form or fresh, rose hips also contain a high amount of fiber that is good for cholesterol levels and overall heart health.
Supports Digestive Health
Rose hips contain a polysaccharide called pectin. Pectin is an indigestible fiber that acts as a prebiotic, supporting healthy bacteria in the gut.
Pectin and rose hip tea can be used as a mild laxative to stimulate digestion. However, rose hips have also been used to treat diarrhea. (1)
Although the exact way they work is uncertain, rose hips appear to stimulate or calm digestion as needed.
Using Rose Hips
Rose hips can be used fresh or dried. Whether you harvest them yourself or buy from someone, be sure the rose bushes weren't sprayed with pesticides.
You can make a cup of rosehip tea by combining 1-3 teaspoons of dried rose hips with 1 cup of boiling water. Allow the tea to steep for 15 minutes, strain out the herbs, and sweeten if desired.
Rose hip tea is good for getting extra vitamin C, strengthening your immune system, and supporting skin and digestion.
Rose hips are also available in powdered form, capsule form, and as tablets. Rose hip oil is great for topical and skincare use.
There are typically not any side effects associated with rose hips. Extremely large doses may cause upset stomach, vomiting, nausea, and other similar symptoms.
The high vitamin C content of rose hips may increase the risk of kidney stones for certain people.
Rose Hips for Your Health
Whether you're looking to increase your immune health or get glowing skin, rose hips could be the answer for you.
This ruby red rose-fruit packs an anti-inflammatory punch that soothes skin and reduces chronic inflammation. It also has a pleasant taste and makes a vibrantly colored tea.
Why not try rose hips out for yourself to discover all their health benefits?