Vitamin Expert

Rose Hip

(rosa canina)

Botanical family: Rosaceae
Parts used: Fruits, seeds, petals, oil
Main active ingredients: Vitamins C, A, B1, B2, B3, K, flavonoids, tannins, polyphenols
Actions: Anti inflammatory, antioxidant
Good for: Osteoarthritis, colds
Available forms: Tablet, syrup, tea

Rose hips are the edible and nutritious fruits of the dog rose Rosa canina, which is found in most temperate regions of the world. It can grow as high as 3m and bears pretty pink or whitish flowers from May to early July.

Once the petals have fallen, the flowers’ receptacles, known as rose hips, start to ripen, becoming red and pulpy. Once ripe, the hips are harvested and dried for powdering or used fresh as ingredients in natural medicines.

History of Rose hip

There are many references in medieval herbals to the restorative power of rose preparations. The esteemed 17th century herbalist Nicholas Culpepper prescribed rosehips for ‘consumptive purposes’ for ‘tickling rheums’ ‘ to break the stone’ (kidneys) and for digestive problems.

Rose hips remained listed in the official British Pharmacopoeia well into the 1930s and were considered an overall cooling tonic, an astringent, a soothing remedy for sore throats and one of the best sources of vitamin C. One cup of 30 berries contains as much vitamin C as 40 oranges. During the Second World War when food, especially fruit, was scarce, rose hip syrup was given to children because of its high vitamin C content to help protect them against infection.

Current uses for Rose hip


Several studies have investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of rosehip extracts, particularly on the symptoms of arthritis. The results show that rosehip not only reduces overall pain levels, but can also increase the range of hip movement.


Rose hips are packed with bioflavonoids whose anti-inflammatory, anti viral and anti oxidant effects are thought to help prevent and treat colds, flu and other minor infections. As yet no scientific studies have investigated this claim.

How to take Rose hip

The normal daily dosage is up to 5000 mg of dried rose hips and this is normally taken as an extract in tablet or capsule form.


Rose hip preparations should not be taken during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
Avoid eating rose hip seeds as they can irritate the mouth and stomach.
Remove hairs from rose hips before using as they can irritate the skin.