Roses have been grown for centuries as an important source of food and medicine. They are not only beautiful to look at, the fruit bulbs that appear below the flower are packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Best known for their abundance of vitamin C, rose hips provide many health benefits.
About Rose Hips
The rose hip, or rosehip, is the red-orange spherical fruit of the Rosa genus in the Rosaceae family. Seldom found on modern roses, the old-fashioned shrub-type, especially rugosas, produce a copious amount of rose hips. This rose hip bulb is typically smooth on the outside. Inside, you'll find a mash of seeds and some stringy pulp. A fresh rose hip can taste tart, like a green apple.
Rose hips contain many essential vitamins, minerals and phytochemical compounds such as ascorbic acid, phenolics and healthy fatty acids. As a result, some rose hip uses claim to be helpful in treating a variety of diseases, including skin disorders, kidney disease, diarrhea, arthritis, diabetes, obesity and cancer.
You can benefit from rose hips in many forms, such as purees, jams, syrups and sauces used as flavorings in recipes. Rose hip tea is often blended with hibiscus or flavored with mint for a mild laxative effect.
Nutritional Benefits of Rose Hips
Rose hips have 206 calories per cup (127 grams), according to the USDA. They contain very little fat and no cholesterol. With 48.5 grams of carbohydrates, providing 16 percent of your daily value on per cup, rose hips are a good source of energy to help fuel your brain, kidneys, muscles and nervous system. As with most fruits, rose hips are not a particularly good source of protein, but they do contribute 4 percent of your daily value (DV) per cup.
With their many beneficial vitamins and minerals, rose hips are a healthy source of nutrients. A cup of rose hips provides a good percentage of your recommended daily amount and includes:
- Calcium: 215 milligrams or 17 percent DV
- Iron: 1.3 milligrams or 7 percent DV
- Potassium: 545 milligrams or 12 percent DV
- Magnesium: 88 milligrams or 21 percent DV
- Vitamin A: 276 micrograms or 31 percent DV
- Vitamin C: 541 milligrams or 601 percent DV
- Vitamin E: 7.4 milligrams or 49 percent DV
- Vitamin K: 33 micrograms or 27 percent DV
Rose Hip Fiber Content
Fiber is important in your diet to keep your digestive system functioning properly_._ Rose hips are an excellent source of fiber, containing 31 grams or 122 percent DV per cup. The fiber in rose hips cannot be totally digested by your body. Remaining intact, fiber adds bulk and absorbs water, which helps soften your stool so it can easily pass through your intestinal system.
Fiber not only helps prevent constipation, it can reduce your chances of developing hemorrhoids and gastrointestinal conditions such as diverticulitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. A report, published in the_ American Journal of Clinical Nutrition_ in October 2015, concluded that dietary fiber may also have the potential to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
A diet high in fiber tends to be more filling than foods lower in fiber. As a natural appetite suppressant, the fiber in rose hips can help you manage your weight. The satiety effect may prevent you from overeating or snacking between meals, which could equate to a reduction in total daily calorie consumption.
Vitamin C and Rose Hips
Vitamin C is an essential water-soluble vitamin that your body cannot produce, so you must get it from food. Fresh rose hips excel in their vitamin C content and contain more than citrus fruit. In fact, a cup of rose hips provides more than 600 percent of your daily value for vitamin C.
Your body uses vitamin C for the production of collagen, which helps wounds heal and keeps your skin and connective tissue healthy. Vitamin C also improves the absorption of dietary iron needed to maintain hemoglobin. The National Institutes of Health says a high intake of vitamin C from fruit, such as rose hips, may lower your risk of some types of cancers, including lung, breast and colon cancers.
Vitamin C has long been associated with its effect on the common cold. It turns out that extra vitamin C, such as the amount in a cup of rose hips, can help alleviate your stuffy nose, congestion and other symptoms of a cold. Research published in BioMed Research International in July 2018 investigated the role of vitamin C and suggested that extra vitamin C may lessen the severity of symptoms and shorten the duration of a cold.
However, eating an excessive amount of rose hips to get extra vitamin C could be harmful. Too much vitamin C can cause digestive distress, such as diarrhea, stomach cramps and nausea. If you have hemochromatosis, a condition that causes your body to store too much iron, high intakes of vitamin C could make your condition worse and damage your tissues.
Antioxidants in Rose Hips
The antioxidant activity in rose hips comes from their polyphenol compounds, which include not only vitamin C but vitamins E and B, as well as carotenoids. These nutrients help keep your immune system strong by neutralizing harmful free radicals. Free radicals are formed from metabolic processes in your body, such as digestion, and from environmental factors including pollutants.
In addition, phytochemical compounds in rose hips may contribute to beneficial anticancer effects that may potentially decrease the proliferation of cancer cells, according to the report in PLOS One in July 2016.
Data from the study demonstrated that rose hip extracts may provide powerful antioxidants that fight against colon cancer, thanks to its vitamin C and polyphenols. Conclusions were that rose hips could possibly be an effective component in the treatment of colorectal carcinoma.
Rose Hip Oil for Skin
The oil from rose hip seeds contains a high concentration of unsaturated fat — from 5 to 18 percent, depending on the species. These fatty acids, which include oleic, linoleic and linolenic acids, have been found to be beneficial for use in cosmetics, thanks to their therapeutic effect on skin disorders.
Rose hip oil may help reduce the appearance of scars by regenerating the cells of damaged skin. The Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatology Sciences and Applications published a study in June 2015 that aimed at analyzing the clinical course of 108 patients who underwent surgical procedures and were treated with rose hip oil.
Findings were that participants who used the oil twice daily for a 12-week period had an improved appearance of post-surgical scars, with significantly less discoloration, atrophy and redness.
- International Journal of Molecular Sciences: "Therapeutic Applications of Rose Hips From Different Rosa Species"
- University of Vermont: Department of Plant and Soil Science: "Rose Hips: Attractive and Edible"
- MyFoodData: "Nutrition Facts for Rose Hips"
- Mayo Clinic: "Mayo Clinic Q and A: Diet, Lifestyle Choices Can Lower Risk of Diverticulosis Developing Into Diverticulitis"
- International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders: "Dietary Fiber"
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Dietary Fiber Intake and Risk of Colorectal Cancer and Incident and Recurrent Adenoma in the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial"
- National Institutes of Health: "Vitamin C"
- BioMed Research International: "Extra Dose of Vitamin C Based on a Daily Supplementation Shortens the Common Cold: A Meta-Analysis of 9 Randomized Controlled Trials"
- PLOS One: "Rosa Canina Extracts Have Antiproliferative and Antioxidant Effects on Caco-2 Human Colon Cancer"
- Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatology Sciences and Applications: "Evolution of Post-Surgical Scars Treated With Pure Rosehip Seed Oil"