Other names: Rose Haw, Apothecary Rose, Dog Rose
Rosehip originates from Asia, Europe and North America. They are the fruits of the rose plant, usually forming in late summer and autumn after the flowers have been pollinated. Historically, it is said that the Vikings’ raids were fuelled by Rosehips as they were popular in Scandinavia. In wartime Britain, Rosehips were used as a substitute for citrus fruit; following the discovery that Rosehips have a high concentration of vitamin C.
Health Benefits of Rosehip:
A well as vitamin C, Rose hips contain carotenoid pigments known as lycopene and beta carotene, give rosehips their rich orange colour. These pigments can be made into vitamin A in the body and have been shown to promote skin and eye health [i] [ii] [iii]. Rosehips have been used for centuries to combat infections such as coughs, colds, flu and respiratory conditions. This is largely due to the high vitamin C content and antioxidant activity, which reduces the negative impact of free radical stress on the body that are commonly at higher levels in disease states [iv]. However, many rosehip varieties are processed with heat and water, which significantly lowers their vitamin C levels [v], so buying from a reputable company is preferential.
Skin Health/ Anti-ageing:
Rosehips’ have a strong antioxidant, vitamin C, and fatty acid profile, which all protect and replenish the skin barrier. In one small, 8-week study, taking 3 mg of rosehip powder daily led to a significant decrease in skin wrinkles and significant increase in skin moisture content and elasticity [viii]. The anti-aging effects of the vitamin C in rosehip may also be attributed to vitamin C’s role in collagen production, which maintains the firmness of the skins surface [ix] . Most recently, rose hips have been recognised as a source of trans-tiliroside, a compound that increases the activation of the enzyme responsible for stimulating the energy production in our cells; adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK). AMPK has been described as a protective factor against a variety of metabolic stresses and also against the ageing process [x]. For these reasons, rosehip is often added to many topical skin care products and supplements.
Healthy Body Weight and Anti-diabetic Effect:
A recent trial found daily intake of rosehip extract to decrease abdominal visceral fat (aka. “belly fat”) in overweight subjects. Body weight and body mass index also decreased significantly in the rosehip group at week 12 compared with their baseline levels [xi]. Supplementing with rosehips has also been associated with a heart health benefits. In mice, rosehip supplementation was associated with improved glucose tolerance, less liver fat accumulation, and a better cholesterol profile (LDL to HDL ratio) in comparison with the control group that were not given the supplement [xii].
Inflammation Management and Arthritis:
Rosehips are known for having anti-inflammatory effects in alleviating the symptoms of colds and flu. These anti-inflammatory effects may also benefit conditions such as osteoarthritis. A randomised, double-blind trial compared the effects of four months of rose hip supplementation to a placebo in patients with osteoarthritis. Improvement was found in hip joint mobility and discomfort among those provided with rose hips [xiii]. In rheumatoid arthritis, another placebo controlled trial found improvement in disease duration as well as quality of life among participants given encapsulated rose hip powder for six months, in comparison with those who received a placebo [xiv]. In arthritis, rosehip components were seen to reduce the release of a substance called nitric oxide, which may cause over dilation of the blood vessels and therefore a decrease in this substance may lower inflammation [xv] [xvi].
In a study of healthy humans, daily intake of rose hip powder lowered C-reactive protein, a major marker of general inflammation in the body. This lead the researchers to conclude that rose hip can ease inflammation and might be used as a replacement or supplement for conventional drug therapies in some inflammatory issues such as joint soreness [xvii].
[i] Bhave, A. Schulzova, V. Chmelarova, H. (2017) ‘Assessment of rosehips based on the content of their biologically active compounds’. Journal of Food and Drug Analysis. 25(3):681-690.
[ii] Evans, J. A. & Johnson, E. J. (2010). ‘The role of phytonutrients in skin health’. Nutrients, 2(8), 903–928.
[iii] Mármol, I. Sánchez-de-Diego, C. Jiménez-Moreno, N. (2017) ‘Therapeutic Applications of Rose Hips from Different Rosa Species’. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 25;18(6):1137.
[iv] Sagdic, O. Toker, O. Polat, B. Arici, M. Yilmaz, M. (2015) ‘Bioactive and rheological properties of rose hip marmalade’ Journal of Food Science and Technology. 52 (10).
[v] Erenturk, S. M. Gulaboglu, S. & Gultekin, S. (2005) ‘The effects of cutting and drying medium on the vitamin C content of rosehip during drying’. Journal of Food Engineering. 68 (4); 513-518.
[vi] C. Widén, A. Ekholm, M. D. Coleman, S. et al. (2012) 'Erythrocyte Antioxidant Protection of Rose Hips (Rosa spp.)’. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity (2012): 621579; 8.
[vii] Moses, G.C. Lightle, G.O. (1987) ‘A clinical evaluation of the Cobas FARA clinical chemistry analyser for some routine serum enzymes and glucose’. American Journal of Clinical Pathology. 88(5):603–609.
[viii] Phetcharat, L. Wongsuphasawat, K. & Winther, K. (2015) ‘The effectiveness of a standardized rose hip powder, containing seeds and shells of Rosa canina, on cell longevity, skin wrinkles, moisture, and elasticity’. Clinical Interventions in Aging. 19;10:1849-56.
[ix] Al-Niaimi, F. & Chiang, N. (2017). ‘Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications’. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 10(7), 14–17.
[x] Salminen, A. Hyttinen, J.M. & Kaarniranta, K. (2011) ‘AMP-activated protein kinase inhibits NF-κB signaling and inflammation: impact on healthspan and lifespan'. Journal of Molecular Medicine (Berl). 89(7):667-76.
[xi] Nagatomo, A. Nishida, N, Fukuhara, I. et al. (2015). ‘Daily intake of rosehip extract decreases abdominal visceral fat in preobese subjects: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial’. Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity : targets and therapy, 8, 147–156.
[xii] Andersson, U. & Henriksson, E. & Ström, K. et al. (2010) ‘Rose hip exerts antidiabetic effects via a mechanism involving downregulation of the hepatic lipogenic program’. American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism. 300. E111-21.
[xiii] Warholm, O. Skaar, S. Hedman, E. et al. (2003) ‘The Effects of a Standardized Herbal Remedy Made from a Subtype of Rosa canina in Patients with Osteoarthritis: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial’. Current Therapeutic Research, Clinical and Experimental. 64(1):21-31.
[xiv] Willich, S.N. Rossnagel, K. Roll, S. et al. (2010) ‘Rose hip herbal remedy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis - a randomised controlled trial’. Phytomedicine. 17(2):87-93.
[xv] Kharazmi, A. & Winther, K. (1999). ‘Rose hip inhibits chemotaxis and chemiluminescence of human peripheral blood neurophils in vitro and reduces certain inflammatory parameters in vivo’. Inflammopharmacology. 7. 377-86.
[xvi] Schwager, J. Hoeller U. Wolfram S. et al. (2011) ‘Rose hip and its constituent galactolipids confer cartilage protection by modulating cytokine, and chemokine expression’. BMC Complementary Alternative Medicine. 11:105.
[xvii] Kharazmi, A. & Winther, K. (1999). ‘Rose hip inhibits chemotaxis and chemiluminescence of human peripheral blood neurophils in vitro and reduces certain inflammatory parameters in vivo’. Inflammopharmacology. 7. 377-86.
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