One of nature’s richest sources of vitamin C, Rosehips have been used for centuries to combat infections such as coughs, colds, flu and respiratory conditions. It is now known that vitamin C is crucial to the overall health of the body in its efforts to fight off infections, both bacterial and viral. White blood cells contain 20 times the amount of vitamin C than other cells and require constant replenishment to keep the immune system working to its optimum capacity.
Rosehips also contain many important antioxidants – plant chemicals that are naturally anti-inflammatory, shield immune cells from environmental damage and encourage the production of white blood cells.
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacity of Rosehips has been the focus of much research in relation to arthritis in recent years. Rosehips hit the headlines in 2014 when a natural supplement made from Rosehip extract was found to reduce the agony of arthritis by a staggering 90 per cent.
Research includes a 2008 meta analysis of three clinical trials showing that Rosehip powder reduced hip, knee and wrist pain by about one-third in 300 osteoarthritis patients. In a 2010 trial of 89 patients, Rosehips were shown to improve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms better than a placebo. Yet another study in 2007 showed patients with sore joints who took a Rosehip capsule every day experienced a 40 per cent drop in pain levels and a 25 per cent improvement in mobility.
Rosehips are rich in pectin, a naturally occurring polysaccharide (complex sugar) that acts as a prebiotic – an indigestible fibre that is used in the gut to increase populations of healthy bacteria, aid digestion and enhance the absorption of valuable vitamins.
Pectin also supports a laxative effect in the intestines and is helpful in cases of mild constipation. It appears that intestinal functions are modulated by Rosehips and as such, they can aid in cases of diarrhoea, stomach pain and gastric inflammation.
In 2015, researchers from Japan led a clinical trial to evaluate the effect of Rosehips in reducing abdominal visceral fat in borderline obese people. The study, designed as a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial, involved 32 people with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 25, but less than 30. For 12 weeks, the participants took a chewable tablet that was either a placebo or contained 100mg of Rosehip extract - no other changes were made to their diet or caloric intake.
The results of the study showed that the people who took the Rosehip extract significantly reduced their abdominal total fat area, abdominal visceral fat area, body weight and BMI, compared with their baseline levels and that of the placebo group. Their body fat percentage also dropped, and there were no adverse reactions reported during the study.
The researchers identified tiliroside, an active ingredient in Rosehips, to be responsible for the fat-reducing properties of the fruit. This compound accelerates fat metabolism and improves the body’s utilisation of glucose, which prevents fat from building up in the tissue and triggers fat burning. In addition, tiliroside also possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties.
Folklore and history
Extremely popular in Scandinavian countries, it is said that the Vikings’ raids were fuelled by Rosehips, the ease in which this small yet potent fruit could be transported, possibly contributing to Great Britain we know today.
The most notable use of Rosehips here in the UK was a campaign by the Orwellian sounding "Ministery of Food" to collect Rosehips during World War II. Following the discovery that Rosehips contained a high concentration of vitamin C, syrup manufactured from them was used as a substitute for citrus fruit which was difficult to obtain due to restrictions on imports and rationing. Children fronted the queue, followed by the sick and elderly, and many people to this day have fond childhood memories associated with Rosehip syrup and still use it as a magic “cure all”.
Rosehips are native to the Western hemisphere, and as such have been extensively utilised for their many benefits by all peoples and tribes down through the ages.
Rosehips are the fruits of the rose plant, usually forming in late summer and autumn after the flowers have been pollinated. Once the rosebud falls off the fruit of the plant emerges, a beautiful ruby red berry that is one of the most nutritionally packed fruits of any plant.
Traditionally used as a medicine but also as a food, Rosehips are again being acknowledged for their nutritional and phytochemical content.
citronellol, geraniol nerol, eugenol, linalool, L-p-menthene, cyanin, gallic acid, beta-carotene, nicotinamide, organic acids, pectin, vitamin C, A, B1, B2, B3 and K, flavonoids, tannin, pectin, carotene, fruit acids, fatty oil, invert sugar, polyphenols, cartenoids, volatile oil, vanillin.
Over indulgence will result in symptoms of detoxification. Symptoms could include diarrhoea and upset stomach.