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A rose hip is the seed pod of a wild rose plant. Various wild rose species can be utilized as the source of rose hips. Traditionally, rose hips have been used to treat arthritis, colds and flus, indigestion, bladder stones, and gonorrhea.
Rose hips are primarily used today as a natural source of vitamin C. There is no evidence that the vitamin C in rose hips is any better than synthetic vitamin C (the most common form of the vitamin), but those who prefer to use truly natural products can do so by using the herb instead of the chemical. Like other plant sources of vitamin C, rose hips also contain substances in the bioflavonoid family. Information on the potential benefits of these two rose hips constituents can be found in the respective articles.
Some evidence from relatively small, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies suggests that rose hips might have value for osteoarthritis.3-6 More studies are needed to draw any reliable conclusions. In at least one placebo-controlled trail, rose hips powder appeared to modestly benefit patients with rheumatoid arthritis.7
Dosage of rose hips products is generally adjusted to supply the desired amount of vitamin C and bioflavonoids.
As yet, there are no known or suspected safety issues with rose hips.
1. Trovato A, Monforte MT, Rossitto A, Forestieri AM. In vitro cytotoxic effect of some medicinal plants containing flavonoids. Boll Chim Farm. 1996;135:263-266.
2. Grases F, Masarova L, Costa-Bauza A, March JG, Prieto R, Tur JA. Effect of "Rosa Canina" infusion and magnesium on the urinary risk factors of calcium oxalate urolithiasis. Planta Med. 1992;58:509-512.
3. Rossnagel K, Willich SN. Value of complementary medicine exemplified by rose-hips [in German]. Gesundheitswesen. 2001;63:412-416.
4. Chrubasik C, Duke RK, Chrubasik S, et al. The evidence for clinical efficacy of rose hip and seed: a systematic review. Phytother Res. 2006 Jan 5. [Epub ahead of print]
5. Rossnagel K, Roll S, Willich SN. The clinical effectiveness of rosehip powder in patients with osteoarthritis [a systematic review]. MMW Fortschr Med. 2007;149:51-56.
6. Christensen R, Bartels EM, Altman RD, et al. Does the hip powder of Rosa canina (rosehip) reduce pain in osteoarthritis patients?—a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2008 Apr 11.
7. Willich SN, Rossnagel K, Roll S, et al. Rose hip herbal remedy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis - a randomised controlled trial. Phytomedicine. 2010;17(2):87-93.
Last reviewed December 2015 by EBSCO CAM Review Board Last Updated: 12/15/2015