Rose hips are considered to be super foods because they contain more levels of vitamin C than even oranges and grapefruits. Rose hips, also known by the names rose hep or rose haw is the fruit of the rose plant that encloses the seeds of the plant. It is the rounded portion that is seen just below the petals. This fruit varies in color from red to orange and is composed of many small fruitlets. Rose hips can be eaten raw or can be used to make jelly, jam, marmalade, beverages, bread and wine. In addition to being used as a food item, they are also used for medical purposes. It is a rich source of vitamin C and is used in the treatment of many health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
They have been used as a healthy food source for several centuries, but the healing potential of this fruit was not discovered until World War II. During World War II, when it was not easy to bring citrus fruits into Britain, the government started to collect rose hips to be used as a source of vitamin C.
Nutritional value of Rose Hips
Rose hips are highly nutritious and offer numerous health benefits. Rose hips that have been just picked are considered to be the best because they have the highest levels of nutrients in them. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, which is very essential for maintaining proper health of your body. Rose hips contain the antioxidants like beta-carotene that is converted to vitamin A inside your body, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein, lycopene and zeaxanthin. In addition to vitamin C, rose hips also contain other vitamins including vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and folate. Rose hips are a good source of various minerals like calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc and copper. It is also a good source of carbohydrates, proteins and fiber.
Health Benefits of Rose Hips
Because of the high levels of vitamin C and other important nutrients in rose hips, it is considered to be effective as a natural remedy for many health conditions. Drinking rose hips tea regularly is found to have several health promoting benefits. A few of the health benefits of rose hips are explained below.
Rose hips for arthritis
Rose hips have been widely used for the treatment and prevention of rheumatoid arthritis. According to a study issued in “Complementary and Alternative Medicine” in the year 2011, the use of rose hips in treating arthritis may be attributed to anti-inflammatory effects of the various antioxidants present in it. Arthritis is a health condition caused by the disintegration of collagen in your cartilage that functions as a cushion in your joints between the bones. It is characterized by inflammation in your joints and severe pain. According to studies, your risks of developing this condition are increased with low levels of vitamin C in your body. Rose hip, being a rich source of vitamin C can provide you with adequate amount of this vitamin and help in reducing the symptoms of arthritis. Rose hips also contain galactolipids, compounds that help in preventing the breakdown of cartilage in your joints.
Rose hips aid in digestion
Rose hips have high levels of pectin in them, which is helpful in binding together the wastes in your intestine and in eliminating them from the body. The fruit acids contained in this fruit aids in digestion. Pectin and the fruit acids together help in preventing digestive disorders like constipation. Rose hip tea is found to be beneficial in relieving urinary tract infections and diarrhea.
Rose hips lower cholesterol and blood pressure
Studies conducted by Swedish and Norwegian scientists found that the intake of rose hips supplement helped in lowering the total cholesterol by 4.9% and the bad (LDL) cholesterol by 6%. They also found that there was change in blood pressure readings too with an average reduction of systolic pressure by 3.4%. This decrease in blood pressure was actually similar to the results obtained from different trials that used conventional medicinal drugs.
Rose hips protects your heart
New research reveals that the regular intake of rose hip could lower the risks of heart diseases by reducing the blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Rose hips also contain high levels of various antioxidants like flavonoids, carotenoids, and polyphenols that help in preventing cardiovascular diseases.
Rose hips may help in fighting diabetes
According to some studies, rose hips may have the potential to fight diabetes. As indicated by a study published in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2011, when powdered rose hip was administered for a period of 20 weeks on mice that were fed with a high fat diet, it helped in preventing the development of diabetes. It was also found that rose hips were effective in controlling blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels. Studies on humans are still going on to determine whether rose hips are useful in preventing diabetes.
Rose hips and treatment of cancer
Several studies have shown that there is a link between the intake of foods high in vitamin C and a lowered risk of developing cancer. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps in blocking the effect of unstable molecules called free radicals. These molecules are very dangerous as they can cause damage to the cells of your body. Vitamin C has also been found to boost your immune system by increasing the effects of anti-cancer agents and a type of white blood cells referred to as natural killer cells. Some scientists are of the opinion that this vitamin is capable of preventing the development of different types of cancers, including bladder, breast, cervical, esophageal, intestinal, lung, pancreatic, prostate, salivary gland and stomach cancers, in addition to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and leukemia. Another benefit of Vitamin C is that it can prevent the spreading of tumors, improve the action of certain drugs used for treating cancer, help your body heal faster post cancer surgery, and lower the harmful effects of chemotherapy drugs. . Rose hips are an excellent source of vitamin C. In fact it contains 20 times the amount contained in oranges. The regular intake of rose hips may therefore be beneficial for preventing cancer.
Rose hips boost your immune system
The high levels of vitamin C in rose hips help in strengthening your immune system and in protecting your body from diseases caused by viruses and bacteria. Rose hips also stimulate the activities of the thymus gland, a specialized gland that is an important part of the immune system. It produces T-cells that are responsible for fighting diseases and infections.
Rose hips improve bone health
One of the several benefits of vitamin C is that it plays an important role in the development of collagen, the main protein that constitutes the connective tissues. Reduced levels of collagen in the bones can lead to conditions like osteoporosis. The high levels of vitamin C in rose hips promote collagen formation. Rose hips are also rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, all of which contribute to increasing the mineral density of your bones and strengthening them, thus helping in preventing osteoporosis.
Rose hips benefits for skin
Rose hips oil has been used for years as an effective skin care remedy. This oil is absorbed easily in to the skin, providing instant hydration and moisturization. It promotes skin regeneration and helps in healing scars and stretch marks. Rose hip oil is a good source of vitamin A, which helps in preventing premature aging and other damages caused by the sun’s rays. Rose hips are rich in antioxidants that help in eliminating the damages caused by the free radicals to your cells. This helps in preventing early aging and reducing the signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines.
Rose hips for anemia
Rose hips are a good source of iron, which is an important mineral that is associated with the production of red blood cells. The regular intake of rose hips can therefore help in preventing anemia, improving blood circulation, supplying oxygen to all your vital organs, and increasing metabolic activity. All these features ensure that your body stays healthy and functions at its best.
Side effects of rose hips
In spite of the several health benefits, rose hips also cause certain side effects. Some of the common side effects of this fruit include vomiting, nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, heartburn, constipation, stomach pain, headache, and sleeplessness. It can produce allergic reactions in some people. Respiratory reactions have been reported in people who have been exposed to rose hips dust.
Pregnant and breast-feeding women should consult a doctor before using rose hips. People suffering disorders like anemia, hemochromatosis, or thalassemia, should use rose hips with caution because the high levels of vitamin C in this fruit can cause the increased absorption of iron, which could worsen the condition. If you are a diabetic patient, it is better to seek the advice of a physician before using rose hips as they can sometimes interfere with your blood sugar levels. It also can increase your risk for developing kidney stones.
Supplementing your daily diet with rose hips not only protects you from diseases by improving your immune response, it also contributes to the overall improvement of your health and well being.