Don’t be mistaken, however, as rosehips are not real fruits, they are what biologists call a pseudofruit or an accessory fruit, as the fragile seeds are being protected from harsh climatic conditions by a sturdy, vitamin-rich shell that forms from the floral cup that once hosted the delicate Dog Rose flower (see photo below).
It is exactly this shell that can be used to prepare a sweet cup of rosehip tea that boasts of having both anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, pain-relieving, and weight loss benefits. The seeds of the plant are covered in sharp needle-like fibers, so they cannot be used to prepare tea, but they are used to prepare rosehip seed oil that is particularly beneficial for the skin. Below, we go through the health benefits of both rosehip tea and rosehip seed oil separately, as well as explain how to prepare and use them.
The Health Benefits of Rosehip Tea
Rosehip tea is by far the most simple and delicious way to reap the health benefits of rose hips, as all you need is some dried rosehips and boiling water. You can either use them whole, use a dried and cleaned variety or cut them in half and remove the seeds and prickly fibers out of the shell and discard them before preparing the tea.
Here is how to make the tea: simply place 1.5 - 2.5 teaspoons of rose hips (around 7 pieces) into a cup and steep them in boiling water for 10 minutes. This nutritious tea is packed with vitamin C, E and β-Carotene, as well as polyphenol antioxidants, galactolipids and triterpene acids that account for its beneficial health effects. Rosehip tea has been found to have the following health benefits:
1. Reduces Pain and Inflammation
One of the most well-founded health benefits of rosehip is its anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing effect, with some doctors even claiming that rosehip supplements are comparable to NSAIDs. The majority of studies have been on patients experiencing chronic back pain, neck and shoulder pain, as well as osteoarthritis.
A review article showed a significant reduction in pain compared to a placebo after 3 months of treatment. So, if you suffer from chronic pain, especially joint pain, drinking rosehip tea regularly or taking a rosehip supplement may reduce its intensity.
2. Helps Weight Loss
If you have a high-fat diet, especially one that is rich in saturated animal fats, such as butter, bacon and other fatty meat and dairy produce and you’d like to shed a few inches off your waistline, drinking rosehip tea or taking a supplement may help you reach your weight loss goal a little bit faster. Both animal and human studies have shown that rose hips have a fat-burning effect, likely thanks to an antioxidant compound called tiliroside naturally existing in rose hips.
3. Boosts Immunity
Antioxidants are particularly important for our immune system, as they prevent the cells throughout our body from being damaged by free radicals and therefore strengthen our immune system. And the list of antioxidants in rose hips is just impeccable, as these small berries are packed with polyphenols, vitamin A and E.
But probably the main star of the show is vitamin C of which rosehips have plenty. In fact, according to some estimations, rose hips contain the most vitamin C per milligram than any other fruit or vegetable, with fresh rose hips containing as much as 1157.88 mg per 100 g. For comparison, an average lemon contains only 53 mg of vitamin C per 100 g, almost 22 times less than rosehip.
4. May Help Prevent Acquired Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is on the rise, and as any degenerative condition, it can be alleviated by antioxidant-rich foods and drinks, at least conceptually. Although scientists don’t know the exact mechanism of how rose hips can help prevent diabetes, there is some evidence showing it can.
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a lot of scientific studies conducted on human diabetes patients, but supplementing with rosehip has been shown to lower blood glucose levels, fasting insulin levels and liver lipid generation in mice. These diagnostic criteria for diabetes are the same in mice and humans, and so rosehip tea may be an extra preventative measure that can help reduce one’s chances of suffering from this dangerous condition.
5. Promotes Heart and Cardiovascular Health
Poor blood circulation is another one of those seemingly-inevitable conditions that we are more and more likely to suffer from as we age, be it caused by heart problems or atherosclerosis. Luckily, we have rosehip that could potentially help with both.
A diet rich in vitamin C, for example, has been associated with a lower blood level of triglycerides and the bad type of cholesterol (LDL), both of which contribute to atherosclerosis. Apart from that, rosehips are rich in flavonoid antioxidants, which were reported to reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow.
Health Benefits of Rosehip Oil
As mentioned previously, rosehip seed oil is derived from the seeds and not the entire rosehip. Like the pulp, these seeds are particularly rich in vitamin C and A, but also have beneficial plant-derived fatty acids that are particularly beneficial to the skin.
How to use: Rosehip oil is a carrier oil and not an essential oil, so it doesn’t have to be diluted and can be applied topically on the skin. It is also a so-called dry oil, meaning that it absorbs quickly into the skin without leaving an oily film on your skin. It’s best to purchase rosehip oil sold in a dark glass bottle, as exposure to the light may degrade the vitamins the oil contains. Rosehip oil is capable of boosting one’s skin health and youthful appearance.
Rosehip oil is very rich in vitamins C and A, the two staples of anti-aging creams and serums. Vitamin C works wonders for the skin, being capable of brightening hyperpigmentation and preventing sun damage. There is even some evidence that vitamin C can speed up wound healing and help treat atopic dermatitis.
Precautions and Interactions with Drugs
Rosehip rarely causes any allergic reactions and can usually be safely taken as a supplement in either form. However, it can increase the likelihood of developing kidney stones in some individuals, as well as lower the effectiveness of some drugs, so we highly recommend talking to your health provider if you’re considering adding rosehip to your diet or supplement regimen. Finally, pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult their doctor before drinking rosehip tea.