Although today they're typically revered for their beauty and symbolism, roses were used for medicine in the past. Rose hips are edible and are sometimes used in jams, jellies and syrups for their sweet and tangy flavor. They can also be used to make herbal tea. Rosehip tea has many properties that can help protect you from disease. However, always consult with your doctor before drinking herbal tea if you're pregnant, breast-feeding or on medication.
Rosehip tea is rich in vitamin C and flavonoids, which are responsible for its antioxidant effect. Antioxidants help prevent diseases related to oxidation, such as heart disease, arthritis and cancer. They also inhibit damage caused by free radicals, which play a role in premature aging. A study published in "Molecular Aspects of Medicine" in 2003 found that rosehip tea is a significant source of lycopene, an antioxidant also abundant in tomatoes. This antioxidant has been linked with reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.
In a study published in the "Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture" in 2012, scientists isolated different phytochemicals from rosehip tea and found that the polyphenols quercetin and ellagic acid inhibited the proliferation of tumor cells in test tubes. The lycopene found in rosehip tea at normal concentrations has been found to block the growth of human prostate cancer cells without damaging cells, according to "Experimental Biology and Medicine." Since studies haven't been done directly on cancer patients, the benefits of rosehip tea for preventing and treating cancer have not been confirmed.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, taking high amounts of vitamin C regularly may reduce the severity and frequency of colds. Since rosehip tea is a potent source of vitamin C, drinking it often may produce these effects. Rosehip tea is also a source of vitamin A, which is another immune system booster. Vitamin A helps protect you from getting bacterial and viral infections and helps fight off existing ones.
Potentially Disease-Preventing Properties
A study published in "Preventive Nutrition and Food Science" in 2013 found rosehip extract to reduce fat storage and the accumulation of fat in cells. Rosehip in the form of tea was not evaluated in this study. However, another study points to similar effects. In a study published in the "European Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in 2012, obese participants drank either a daily drink made from rosehip powder or a placebo for six weeks. Scientists measured their body weight, cholesterol levels, glucose tolerance and blood pressure at the beginning and end of the study. By the end of the study, scientists concluded the participants who had the rosehip drink had a lower risk of heart disease than the placebo group.
- Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture: Effect of Rosehip (Rosa canina L.) Phytochemicals on Stable Free Radicals and Human Cancer Cells
- Molecular Aspects of Medicine: Rosehip -- A "New" Source of lycopene?
- Experimental Biology and Medicine: Overview of Mechanisms of Action of Lycopene
- Australian Family Physician: Rosehip -- An Evidence Based Herbal Medicine for Inflammation and Arthritis
- Phytomedicine: Rose Hip Herbal Remedy in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis - A Randomised Controlled Trial
- University of Vermont Extension Department of Plant and Soil Science: Rose Hips
- Preventive Nutrition and Food Science: Rosehip Extract Inhibits Lipid Accumulation in White Adipose Tissue by Suppressing the Expression of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Effects of Rose Hip Intake on Risk Markers of Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Cross-over Investigation in Obese Persons
- Herb Wisdom: Rose Hip
Karen McCarthy is a health enthusiast with expertise in nutrition, yoga and meditation. She currently studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and has been writing about nutrition since 2012. She is most passionate about veganism and vegetarianism and loves to promote the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables.