Rose hip (Rosa spp.)

While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • Altisimo, briar bush, Burr Rose, cabbage rose, Camellia Rose, Cherokee Rose, Chestnut Rose, CiLi, Cili, coumaric acid, Dog Rose, Eglantine, French Rose, fructus Rosa laevigata Michx., gallic acid, Gallic rose, Glaucous Dog Rose, Gooseberry Rose, hansa, hedge-pedgies, heps, hip berry, Hyben Vital®, Japanese Rose, LiTo (Chinese), Mardan Rose, mcoumaric acid, melroset, mosqueta rose, Multiflora Rose, nippernails, oil rose of mosqueta, pig’s noses, pixie pears, pyrogallol, Redleaf Rose, rhodon (Greek), Rosa aff. rubiginosa, Rosa canina, Rosa centifolia, Rosa damascene, Rosa davurica spp., Rosa domescena, Rosa dumalis, Rosa eglanteria, Rosa family, Rosa family plant extracts, Rosa gallica, Rosa gigantea (syn. R. x odorata gigantea), Rosa glauca (syn. R. rubrifolia), Rosa hybrida, Rosa lucida, Rosa majalis, Rosa mosqueta hips, Rosa multiflora, Rosa x odorata gigantea, Rosa persica (syn. Hulthemia persica, R. simplicifolia), Rosa pimpinellifolia, Rosa roxburghii spp., Rosa rubiginosa, Rosa rubrifolia, Rosa rugosa spp., Rosa sericea, Rosa simplicifolia, Rosa species, Rosa stellata, Rosa virginiana, (syn. R. lucida), Rosa woodsii, Rosaceae (family), Rosae pseudofructus cum fructibus, rosamultin, rose de mai, rose haw, rose haws, rose heps, rose hip extract, rose hips, rose oil, rose pollen, rose-hip, rose-hip drink, Rugosa Rose, Sacramento Rose, sweet brier, sweet chestnut rose, Sweetbriar, syrop of roses, Virginia Rose, wild boar fruit, vrda (Persian), wild-briar rose.

  • Combination product examples: Equiguard™ (Herba epimedium brevicornum stem and leaves, radix Morindae officinalis root, fructus Rosa laevigata Michx. fruit, Rubus chingii Hu fruit, Schisandra chinensis fruit, Ligustrum lucidum W.T.Aiton fruit, Cuscuta chinensis Lam. seeds, Psoralea corylifolia L. fruit, Astragalus membranaceus root), Hyben Vital® (dried fruits, seeds, and husks of LiTo, a subtype of Rosa canina), Ophthacare® (Carum
    copticum seeds, Terminalia belirica fruits, Emblica officinalis fruits, Curcuma longa rhizome, Ocimum sanctum leaves, Cinnamomum camphora crystals, Rosa damascena petals, and meldespumapum honey), Long-Life CiLi, also called CiLi (Rosa roxburghii Tratt., superoxide dismutase, vitamin C, vitamin E, polysaccharide, and trace elements).

Background

  • Rose hips are the fruits that develop from the blossoms of the wild rose (Rosa species). They contain high levels of vitamin C and are commonly used in soup, stew, tea, juice, jam, jelly, sauce, syrup, puree, and oil.

  • Rose hips have traditionally been used to treat and prevent respiratory infections, gallstones, and ulcers. They have also been used to treat inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis, and as a tonic for the stomach and the kidneys.

  • Clinical evidence supports the use of rose hip to boost antioxidant status in healthy young adults and rose hip powder (Hyben Vital®) to treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Also supported by clinical evidence is massage combined with aromatherapy using rose oil, together with other oils, to treat painful menstruation. Other treatments, which are supported by unclear or conflicting evidence, include skin conditions, eye disorders, immune function, and wound healing.

Scientific Evidence

Uses

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Antioxidant

Preliminary evidence suggests that the concentrated fruit extract of Rosa roxburghii has positive effects on the antioxidant status of healthy young adults. Additional research is needed before a firm conclusion can be made.

Menstrual pain

Preliminary evidence suggests that aromatherapy using oils of lavender (Lavandula officinalis), clary sage (Salvia sclarea), rose (Rosa centifolia) may help reduce menstrual pain. Additional research on the effect of rose oil alone is needed.

Osteoarthritis

Research suggests that rose hip may decrease symptoms of osteoarthritis. Future research will provide additional useful information on the use of rose hip for this condition.

Eye disorders

Preliminary evidence suggests that an herbal formula (Ophthacare®) containing rose hip may be useful in the treatment of a variety of eye disorders. Additional study of rose hip alone is needed before a conclusion can be made.

Immune function

Limited research suggests that some compounds isolated from rose hip may have positive effects on immune system function. Additional studies with whole rose hip preparations are needed before a conclusion can be made.

Skin conditions

Limited research has used rose hip oil to treat skin conditions. High-quality clinical trials are needed before a conclusion can be made.

Wound healing

Preliminary research suggests that a rose oil-containing preparation applied to the skin aids healing of surgical wounds and ulcers. Additional research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.

  • Aging, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, antimycotic, antiplatelet effects, antiseptic, arthritis, asthma, astringent, atherosclerosis, burns, cancer, circulation problems, common cold prevention (general), common cold treatment, confidence boosting, cosmetic uses, depression, diabetes, diarrhea, dizziness, exhaustion, eyewash, fever, food uses, gallstones, gout, hay fever, headaches, high cholesterol, HIV infection, impotence (men), improving urine flow, infection, laxative, liver disorders, lung problems, menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding), menstrual irregularities, nausea, prostate cancer, rheumatic diseases, sciatica, tonic (kidney), tonic (stomach), ulcer, upper respiratory infections, urinary irritation, urinary tract infections, uterine complaints, vaginitis, vitamin C deficiency.

Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

Adults (18 years and older)

  • A rose hip extract has been prepared by simmering 2.5 teaspoons of cut rose hips in one cup of water for 10 minutes.

  • As an antioxidant, four capsules of Rosa roxburghii fruit juice concentrate (equivalent to 24 milliliters of unconcentrated fruit juice) has been taken by mouth at each meal for 21 days.

  • For osteoarthritis, five grams of Hyben Vital® (the powder of the fruits, seeds, and husks of LiTo, a subtype of Rosa canina, standardized to contain at least 500 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams of Hyben Vital® powder) has been taken by mouth twice daily for three months.

  • For postsurgical wound healing, 26% Rosa mosqueta (Rosa aff. rubiginosa L.) oil in a solution of linoleic (41%) and linolenic (39%) acid has been applied to wounds (the frequency and duration of treatment were not stated).

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for rose hip in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to rose hip, Rosa spp., rose hip dust, rose pollen, their constituents, or members of the Rosaceae family.

  • Allergic symptoms, anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction), asthma symptoms, conjunctivitis (pinkeye), hypersensitivity to rose pollen, respiratory symptoms, rhinitis (hay fever), rhinoconjunctivitis (rhinitis together with conjunctivitis), skin reactions, and wheezing have been reported in people, including those who live or have lived in rose-cultivating regions or in those who work in rose cultivation or the manufacturing of rose products.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Rose hip preparations appear to be well tolerated when taken in recommended doses for up to three months. It has been proposed that some side effects are related to the amount of vitamin C present in rose hips.

  • Abdominal cramps, acid regurgitation, constipation, deep vein thrombosis, diarrhea, eye inflammation, fatigue, flushing, frequent urination, gastrointestinal obstruction, headache, hives, hyperoxaluria (excessive oxalate in the urine), inflammation or irritation of the esophagus, insomnia, nausea, precipitation of urate, oxalate, or cysteine stones, sleepiness, vomiting, and water brash (heartburn combined with fluid regurgitation) have been reported. Strong solutions may irritate the face.

  • Rose hip may affect bleeding. Caution is advised in people with bleeding disorders or those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.

  • Use cautiously in people who are avoiding immune system stimulants and in those taking aluminum-containing antacids, antibiotics, anticancer agents, anti-inflammatory agents, antiretrovirals, Long-Life CiLi (combination product containing Rosa roxburghii Tratt., superoxide dismutase, vitamin C, vitamin E, polysaccharide, and trace elements), cholesterol-lowering drugs, salicylates, or laxatives.

  • Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to rose hip, Rosa spp., rose hip dust, rose pollen, their constituents, or members of the Rosaceae family.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Some experts recommend rose hips herbal tea for nursing women because of its high level of vitamin C. Avoid using in amounts greater than those found in foods.

Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

Interactions with Drugs

  • Interactions have been reported between vitamin C and drugs. It is not clear how much vitamin C remains in dried and stored rose hips, nor whether the remaining vitamin C would cause similar interactions.

  • Rose hip may affect the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).

  • Rose hip may interact with antibiotics, anticancer agents, anti-inflammatory agents, antiretroviral agents (protease inhibitors), aspirin, cholesterol-lowering drugs, drugs that affect the immune system, estrogens, laxatives, or salicylates.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Rose hip may affect the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.

  • Rose hip may also interact with aluminum-containing antacids, antibacterials, anticancer herbs and supplements, anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, antioxidants, antivirals, cholesterol-lowering agents, herbs and supplements that affect the immune system, iron supplements, iron-rich foods, laxatives, salicylate-containing herbs, vitamin C, or vitamin C-rich foods.

Author Information

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  1. Basim E, Basim H. Antibacterial activity of Rosa damascena essential oil. Fitoterapia 2003;74(4):394-396. View Abstract
  2. Biswas NR, Gupta SK, Das GK, et al. Evaluation of Ophthacare eye drops–a herbal formulation in the management of various ophthalmic disorders. Phytother Res 2001;15(7):618-620. View Abstract
  3. Chrubasik C, Duke RK, Chrubasik S. The evidence for clinical efficacy of rose hip and seed: a systematic review. Phytother Res 2006;20(1):1-3. View Abstract
  4. Han SH, Hur MH, Buckle J, et al. Effect of aromatherapy on symptoms of dysmenorrhea in college students: A randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Altern Complement Med 2006;12(6):535-541. View Abstract
  5. Kumarasamy Y, Cox PJ, Jaspars M, et al. Screening seeds of Scottish plants for antibacterial activity. J Ethnopharmacol 2002;83(1-2):73-77. View Abstract
  6. Janse van Rensburg C, Erasmus E, Loots DT, et al. Rosa roxburghii supplementation in a controlled feeding study increases plasma antioxidant capacity and glutathione redox state. Eur J Nutr 2005;44(7):452-457. View Abstract
  7. Larsen E, Kharazmi A, Christensen LP, et al. An antiinflammatory galactolipid from rose hip (Rosa canina) that inhibits chemotaxis of human peripheral blood neutrophils in vitro. J Nat Prod 2003;66(7):994-995. View Abstract
  8. Ma YX, Zhu Y, Wang CF, et al. The aging retarding effect of ‘Long-Life CiLi’. Mech Ageing Dev 1997;96(1-3):171-180. View Abstract
  9. Pardo-de-Santayana M, Tardio J, Morales, R. The gathering and consumption of wild edible plants in the Campoo (Cantabria, Spain). Int J Food Sci Nutr 2005;56(7):529-542. View Abstract
  10. Rein E, Kharazmi A, Winther KA. A herbal remedy, Hyben Vital (stand. powder of a subspecies of Rosa canina fruits), reduces pain and improves general wellbeing in patients with osteoarthritis–a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised trial. Phytomedicine 2004;11(5):383-391. View Abstract
  11. Rossnagel K, Willich SN. [Value of complementary medicine exemplified by rose-hips]. Gesundheitswesen 2001;63(6):412-6. View Abstract
  12. Shiota S, Shimizu M, Mizusima T, et al. Restoration of effectiveness of beta-lactams on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus by tellimagrandin I from rose red. FEMS Microbiol Lett 2000;185(2):135-138. View Abstract
  13. Trovato A, Monforte MT, Forestieri AM, et al. In vitro anti-mycotic activity of some medicinal plants containing flavonoids. Boll Chim Farm 2000;139(5):225-227. View Abstract
  14. Yoshizawa Y, Kawaii S, Urashima M, et al. Antiproliferative effects of small fruit juices on several cancer cell lines. Anticancer Res 2000;20(6B):4285-4289. View Abstract
  15. Yoshizawa Y, Kawaii S, Urashima M, et al. Differentiation-inducing effects of small fruit juices on HL-60 leukemic cells. J Agric Food Chem 2000;48(8):3177-3182. View Abstract

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.