Rose hips are the fruit of the rose flower. It contains the seeds of the plant and can be identified as the round portion present below the rose petals. Dried rose hips along with the seeds are used for a variety of medicinal and cosmetic purposes. Rose hips are a rich source of Vitamin C and have many uses including treating cold, flu, and Vitamin C deficiencies. They are used for curing stomach disorders including stomach spasms, stomach irritation and ulcers, stomach acid deficiency and as a tonic for intestinal diseases. They are also effective in curing diseases such as diarrhoea, gallstones, lower urinary tract, gallbladder ailments, constipation, kidney disorder, diabetes, fluid retention, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, fever, chest ailments, increased blood flow in the limbs, increasing urine flow, weight loss and quenching thirst. In the production of certain products, like tea, jam and soup, rose hips are used as the natural source of Vitamin C. However, a major portion of Vitamin C present in rose hips gets destroyed during the process of drying, processing and storage. This is the reason why the “natural” rose-hip derived Vitamin C is fortified with the lab-made Vitamin C, although the labels do not generally mention the adulteration.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF ROSE HIPS
Rose hips are considered an enriching source of Vitamin C. A single spoon of rose hips contains more Vitamin C than the daily requirement of Vitamin C for an adult. The health benefits of rose hips are listed below:
Diuretic and laxative
The fruit acids and pectin present in rose hips tea act as a mild diuretic and laxative. It is helpful in preventing kidney disorders and also provides relief from mild constipation.
Treats skin ailments
Rose hips have styptic properties which makes it a favourable component in cosmetic products. It has proven to be effective in reducing acne, scars or burns due to its ability to stimulate the regeneration of new skin cells. Although astringent in nature, it does not lose out moisture in the skin and in fact hydrates the skin giving it a natural glow. This is because rose hips have a high content of Vitamin A and C. Vitamin A is commonly known as the “skin vitamin” because of its healing properties and ability to regenerate new skin cells. Not only is it helpful in preventing wrinkles, but also reduce the wrinkles already present by making the skin more elastic and nourished. Other than just treating skin ailments, rose hips when used on the skin make it youthful and beautiful.
Aids immune system
Another use of Vitamin A is that it boosts the immune system of the body. It is effective in preventing as well as treating infections caused by bacteria and viruses. Vitamin A is effective in fighting not only serious diseases like cancer but also smaller diseases like flu, cold and cough. A lot of immune functions are dependent on Vitamin A for proper functioning.
Prevents chronic diseases
The plethora of antioxidants present in rose hips such as flavonoids, carotenoids, polyphenols, catechins and leucoanthocyanins make it a good cancer preventative. These antioxidants eliminate or neutralize the free radicals present inside the body. These free radicals cause cancer by either damaging the healthy cells and converting them into cancerous cells, or by destroying these cells. These antioxidants are also used to protect the body against cardiovascular diseases.
Lowers cholesterol level in blood
Rose hips contain many organic compounds and antioxidants which help in regulating the cholesterol level in your body. This in turn reduces the strain on the cardiovascular system and lowers the chances of heart attacks or stroke. Regulated cholesterol levels keep the heart and body healthy and energetic.
In addition to regulating the cholesterol level in the blood, rose hips contain nutrients that also reduce the sugar level in the blood and hence are an effective remedy against diabetes. Rose hips can prevent the increase in sugar levels in the blood by balancing the insulin hormone and glucose in the body.
HEALTHY HOMEMADE RECIPES BASED ON ROSE HIPS
ROSE HIPS TEA
To prepare rose hips tea, follow the given steps.
- Boil 3-4 cups of ground rose hips in water.
- Steam for about 20 minutes.
- Remove the pulp by straining the liquid.
If you are using dried rose hips, simply pour a cup of boiling water in a mixture of 3-4 crushed, dried hips and let it steep. Strain out pieces of rose hips and add a tbsp of honey.
ROSE HIPS SYRUP
- Wash 3 pounds of ripe rose hips after removing the stems and ends.
- Simmer for 15 minutes or until they become soft in a stainless steel saucepan.
- Mash the hips with a wooden spoon and simmer further for 8 minutes.
- Pour the mixture on cheesecloth and allow dripping overnight in a ceramic bowl. Squeeze out the leftovers and return the juice to the saucepan and blend well, after adding 1 cup of honey.
- Boil for about a minute and pour into jars and seals.
ROSE HIP AND RHUBARB JAM:
Use slightly under-ripe rose hips.
- Cut them in half and remove the seeds with the tip of a knife.
- Make a mixture by adding 1 cup rose hips, 1 cup water, 4 cups diced rhubarb and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Boil for 2 minutes on high flame and add 2 cups sugar and 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind.
- Boil for 2 minutes on high flame. Store in sealed sterilized jars.
ROSE HIP CANDY
Rose hips candies are very easy to prepare. Just follow the aforementioned steps.
- Gather 3-4 cups of rose hips and grind them into a paste.
- Add 2 tbsp of butter and mix. Then add sugar up to taste for sweetness.
- Shape the mixture into balls, put a stick into the balls, and roast them over hot coals to make candies.
- Keep the candies in the refrigerator for cooling down.
ROSE HIPS JUICE
To prepare rose hips juice, just follow the given steps.
- Cut off the stems and tails from the fruit and cook in sufficient water to cover them.
- Boil them in water until they become very soft.
- Discard the remaining seeds and drain the rest of the water through a cheesecloth.
You can store the juice in the refrigerator in covered jars and use it from time to time in various recipes. The pulp generated in the process can be used in jam or jelly.
You can add rose hips juice in syrup, jam or jelly in place of water. Since it does not have much taste but does contain a plethora of vitamins and other essential nutrients, it will make your dish much more nutritious without affecting the taste.
Rose hips are usually considered safe for adults when consumed by mouth. Even when it is applied to the skin, it seldom shows any side effects or reactions.
However, sometimes it may cause certain small side effects like nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, heartburn, headache, inability to sleep, fatigue and others. Inhaling rose hip dust may cause allergic reactions in some people. A doctor must be consulted at the earliest if any such signs are observed.
An extremely high content of Vitamin C
Rose hips contain 20 times as much Vitamin C as oranges. The presence of a high amount of Vitamin C sometimes entails unfavourable side effects on the body.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Pregnancy is a delicate stage and using any ingredients such as rose hips must be verified by the doctor positively. In case you are breastfeeding, it is advisable to consume or apply only that much amount of rose hips as is normally present in food.
Rose hips contain a chemical named Rugosin E which might slow down blood clotting. In people suffering from a bleeding disorder, rose hips might increase the risk of bleeding. Proper consultation with a doctor before applying or consuming rose hips can help prevent any kind of atrocities.
Although rose hips are normally said to regulate the level of insulin or glucose in the blood, the vitamin C present in rose hips may actually prove stringent in controlling diabetes. Proper medical attention to the causes should be given if any signs of rising sugar levels are observed.
If you are suffering from an iron deficiency disorder such as thalassemia, hemochromatosis, or anaemia, you should use rose hips with caution as the high Vitamin C content in rose hips can increase the absorption rate of iron, which will further aggravate the conditions leading to unfavourable outcomes.
Large amounts of vitamin C in rose hips can also cause kidney stones. Hence, people with kidney issues must first consult their doctor before consuming or applying the fruit or any of the items prepared using it.
MYTHS AND FACTS
Myth: Not all rose hips are edible. Some rose hips can be poisonous.
Fact: All rose hips are edible. Rose hips are nothing but the fruit of the rose plant and thus, are not poisonous. Although, they contain small amounts of cyanide, it is not at all poisonous to human health in any way.
Myth: Rose hips should be taken only on achieving old age, i.e., on crossing the age of 40.
Fact: There is no particular age for consuming rose hips; they can be used by people of all ages. However, individuals who have already crossed the age of 40 should consider consuming rose hips. This is because generally osteoarthritis develops at this age. Due to their busy and fast-paced lives, people often neglect their health and end up with severe consequences.
Myth: Rose hips contain cyanide which can have adverse implications on health.
Fact: Yes, rose hips do contain a very small amount of cyanide, but the amount is so small that it does not cause any harm to anyone consuming it. One needs to consume unrealistic amounts of the seeds in order to have any serious effects. Rose hips are a storehouse of nutrients. Along with Vitamin C, rose hips also contain Vitamin D, E and essential fatty acids. They are also rich in potent antioxidants which protect your cells from oxidative damage.
Myth: One must not consume rose hips during pregnancy.
Fact: Pregnancy is a delicate stage and using any ingredients such as rose hips can be allowed only after consulting with the doctor positively. In case you are breastfeeding, it is advisable to consume or apply only that much amount of rose hips as is normally present in food.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What do rose hips taste like?
Although the name suggests something different, rose hips do not taste like roses at all. In fact they taste tangy.
Do rose hips have any side effects on the skin like acne or breakouts?
No. rose hips do not directly have any side effects on the skin. The Vitamin C present in rose hips actually helps in replenishing the skin and removing acne. However, for skin prone to acne, it could be too stimulating. Thus, it must be used on alternate days to prevent triggering any breakouts.
Is rose hip oil effective in treating sunburn?
Yes, rose hips work well for sunburns. You can apply the rose hip oil to sunburned areas on the skin.
Are rosehip seeds edible?
Yes, but with caution, as certain reports suggest that they might have a little amount of cyanide. One needs to consume unrealistic amounts of the seeds in order to have any serious effects.
How to dry rose hips?
Drying rose hips is very simple. You just wash them and put them under the sun on a newspaper. If the weather is not sunny, you could use a food dehydrator for the same.
Is there any relation between rose hip tea and hibiscus tea?
No specific relation as such exists between the two. Except that the two are naturally sour in taste and offer a range of health benefits.