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Rose Hip

Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects & More

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Updated August 02, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Rose hip is the fruit that develops from the blossoms of the wild rose plant. A common ingredient in herbal teas, rose hip is also available in supplement and powdered form. Rose hip contains a number of antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and lycopene.

Uses for Rose Hip

Rose hip is touted as a natural remedy for a variety of health problems, including:

In addition, rose hip is purported to strengthen the immune system, stimulate circulation, reduce inflammation and help prevent heart disease.

Health Benefits of Rose Hip

Although research on the health effects of rose hip is fairly limited, there's some evidence that rose hip may offer certain benefits. Here's a look at several key study findings:

1) Arthritis

A number of studies suggest that rose hip may help treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

In a 2005 study in the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology, researchers found that rose hip may offer osteoarthritis relief. For the study, 94 patients with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee were treated with either rose hip or a placebo for a three-month period. By the study's end, members of the rose hip group had experienced a significantly greater decrease in pain and in use of pain medication than those in the placebo group.

Meanwhile, a 2010 study in Phytomedicine found that rheumatoid arthritis patients may benefit from adding rose hip powder to their standard care. The study involved 89 rheumatoid arthritis patients, each of whom was treated with either rose hip supplements or a placebo for six months. Members of the rose hip group ended up showing greater improvements in certain measures of physical functioning, although there was not a significant difference in pain levels between the two groups.

2) Heart Disease

Rose hip may help prevent heart disease in obese people, according to a small study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. For the study, 31 obese people consumed a drink containing either rose hip powder or a placebo every day for six weeks. By the study's end, members of the rose hip group showed greater improvements in a number of heart disease risk factors (such as elevated systolic blood pressure and high cholesterol) compared to those in the placebo group. However, other risk factors (such as elevated diastolic blood pressure and increased levels of inflammation) did not differ between the two groups.

3) Diabetes

Preliminary research indicates that rose hip may help fight diabetes. In a 2011 study in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism, scientists found that 20 weeks of treatment with powdered rose hip helped prevent the development of diabetes in mice fed a high-fat diet. Rose hip also appeared to help regulate blood sugar levels and keep cholesterol in check. However, it's too soon to tell whether rose hip might be able to help prevent diabetes in humans.

See other Natural Remedies for Diabetes.

Is Rose Hip Safe?

While rose hip is generally considered safe, taking rose hip supplements in combination with certain medications (such as blood-thinning drugs and anti-inflammatory agents) may cause harmful effects. Therefore, it's important to consult your physician before using rose hip supplements in combination with other medicines.

Should You Use Rose Hip for Health Purposes?

Although it's too soon to recommend rose hip for any health-related purposes, it's possible that increasing your intake (by drinking herbal teas, for instance) may be of some benefit to your health.

If you're considering the use of rose hip supplements in the treatment of a specific health problem, talk to your doctor before starting your supplement regimen. It's important to note that self-treating a chronic condition with rose hip and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Sources

Andersson U, Berger K, Högberg A, Landin-Olsson M, Holm C. "Effects of rose hip intake on risk markers of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease: a randomized, double-blind, cross-over investigation in obese persons." Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 Dec 14. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2011.203.

Andersson U, Henriksson E, Ström K, Alenfall J, Göransson O, Holm C. "Rose hip exerts antidiabetic effects via a mechanism involving downregulation of the hepatic lipogenic program." Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jan;300(1):E111-21.

Chrubasik C, Duke RK, Chrubasik S. "The evidence for clinical efficacy of rose hip and seed: a systematic review." Phytother Res. 2006 Jan;20(1):1-3.

Chrubasik C, Roufogalis BD, Müller-Ladner U, Chrubasik S. "A systematic review on the Rosa canina effect and efficacy profiles." Phytother Res. 2008 Jun;22(6):725-33.

Willich SN, Rossnagel K, Roll S, Wagner A, Mune O, Erlendson J, Kharazmi A, Sörensen H, Winther K. "Rose hip herbal remedy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis - a randomised controlled trial." Phytomedicine. 2010 Feb;17(2):87-93.

Winther K, Apel K, Thamsborg G. "A powder made from seeds and shells of a rose-hip subspecies (Rosa canina) reduces symptoms of knee and hip osteoarthritis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial." Scand J Rheumatol. 2005 Jul-Aug;34(4):302-8.

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