Rosehips – Food as Medicine

Part 2: The Health Benefits of the Humble Hip…

Vitamins Aplenty

High in Vitamin C and a great source of Beta Carotene (plant based vitamin A). Also contain the B vitamins and vitamin k. Rose hips also contain bioflavonoids, tannins, organic acids and pectin.

In China rosehips have long been used medicinally, where they are known as jin ying zi – they are used to increase ‘kidney qi’ which in the west, we would describe as general ‘energy’. Perhaps this is due to their high nutrient content?

Source of Vitamin C

Weight for weight, fresh rosehips contain more vitamin C than oranges, as much as 10mg per hip!Vitamin C is ESSENTIAL for whole-body health, especially the skin, immune system and cardiovascular system. Humans are one of the few species on this planet that are unable to make their own vitamin C (along with primates and guinea pigs and a few others!) Most animals make their own, but our bodies lack the required enzyme. Hence why natural sources of vitamin C are so important. In fact during the war in the wintertime, Rosehip syrup was a valuable top up of vitamin C, helping to make up for measly rations.

Whilst scurvy is not as much of a problem these days – thanks to supermarkets stocking fruit all year round, we are nevertheless vulnerable to deficiency. Many of us are deficient due to inadequate daily intake of fresh fruit/veg, so a rose hip top up can be really helpful. Whilst you may loose some of this Vitamin C during drying/cooking, some still remains so it makes a good dietary top up.

Immune Health

Herbalists often recommend rose hips in the winter months to provide an immune boost, as a preventative measure and to ease the symptoms of cold and flu. This is partly due to the high vitamin C and beta carotene content, both of which are important for the immune system. No coincidence that they emerge in the autumn, before the winter season hits – providing us with a much needed immune boost. Thank you nature 🙂

Rosehips are also used for more chronic immune conditions, such as autoimmune diseases, thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties.

Bone and Joint Health

Another common use for rosehips is in joint formulas (you’ll see many supplements on the shelves for this purpose). Again the vitamin C in rosehips is good for connective tissue health, including the connective tissue in our joints. However the whole range of nutrients and antioxidants in Rosehips also add up to promising anti-inflammatory activity, as I mentioned. Useful in cases of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. In fact you will see a few well known commercial brands on sale now and many companies are funding research into the benefits of Rosehips for degenerative conditions of the joints including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Bone Health: when it comes to bone health most people think calcium calcium calcium. But research shows that vitamin C is equally important (along with Magnesium, boron, Vitamins A and D). So vitamin C rich foods such as rose hip are a bit of insurance against loss of bone density.

Cardiovascular Health

Rosehips provide antioxidant support. We know that oxidative damage to our blood vessels plays a big role in the development of cardiovascular disease (contrary to the still common & inaccurate belief that it all comes down to cholesterol). Therefore any food that helps to reduce oxidative damage (antioxidants) has potential to reduce your risk, especially if consumed regularly over the long term. Rosehip tea daily during the winter is a start…

Blood Builder… Being rich in vitamin C, they help to improve the absorption of iron from other foods, helping to protect against anaemia. Indeed, Floradix (the well known liquid iron tonic) uses rosehips as one of the base ingredients for this very reason.

Skin Health

For beauty, rosehips help to maintain collagen in the skin – being rich in vitamin C and bioflavonoids.

Plus… the oil from Rosehips is also rich in essential fatty acids to nourish the skin and antioxidants to protect and regenerate. This super-oil has received a lot of attention in the media in recent years (esp after Miranda Kerr touted it as her go-to cosmetic helper!) Now whilst I can’t guarantee that slathering on this oil will transform you into a supermodel overnight …. I can however say with

certainty that your skin will thank you in the long run! In clinical trials this oil has proved it’s weight, helping with scarring, acne, wrinkles, sun-damage, age-spots and more. It is pricey but a little goes a long way, all you need is a few drops. To make it stretch further, I mix it with other natural base oils such as Almond oil.

Digestion and Elimination

Thanks to the vitamin C and pectin, the hips have a slightly laxative and diuretic effect.

Rosehip tea (strong) is helpful for chronic diarrhoea. Good as part of rehydration salt formula.. see later. The tincture is also helpful here.

May also be beneficial for gastritis, gallstones and kidney stones.

Best of All?

No major cautions/contraindications for rosehips – a generally safe and gentle remedy (so long as you remove the hairs!) Exception// if you have any allergies to the rosaceae family (which includes apples and stone fruit) then obviously avoid Rosehips!

Enjoy this final year’s end gift from our fair Rose, in the knowledge that you’ll be doing your body some serious GOOD.

Queen of the Hedgerow – Thank You

 

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