Rosehip for Herbal Naturopathy: properties, benefits, uses, side effects

Rosehip is a spontaneous herb used mainly for its vitamin C content to prevent and treat coughs, colds and other flu symptoms.

Rosehip is a spontaneous plant belonging to the Rosaceae family.
It is a species widely used in herbal medicine and phytotherapy for its properties and benefits.

Description of the plant

The dog rose (Rosa canina) is a wild rose with shrubby habit, woody stems covered with thorns and imparipinnate leaves, composed of 5-7 oval leaflets, with toothed margins.

The rosehip plant blooms at the end of spring and at the beginning of summer (May / June) producing white or pink flowers about five centimeters wide andweakly scented. Rarer is the red rosehip. The stamens of the flower are yellow in color.

Subsequently, from the flowers develops the fruit of the dog rose, called rosehips. These are fleshy false fruits of a beautiful deep red color, shiny, sweet and sour taste, which are harvested in autumn-winter, after the first frosts.

The rosehip seeds contained in the berries are small and numerous, wrapped in irritating hairs.

The habitat of the dog rose

The species is wild throughout Europe and in temperate regions around the world. It grows in plains and hills up to 1500 meters and can be easily found along the paths, on the edge of the woods, in uncultivated land.

Rosehip shrubs, simple to grow and care for, are also used to create hedges and beautify flower beds within parks and gardens.

Although the rosehip is a forest rose and is easily found in nature, it is good to resort to quality herbal products titrated and standardized by turning back to the trusted herbalist.

Properties of rosehip

The fruits and buds of rosehip (Rosa canina) have immunostimulating, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Rosehip berries also have mildly diuretic and astringent action.

The therapeutic properties of rosehip are given by the phytocomplex present in the drug of the plant and consisting of vitamin C, malic acid, citric acid, carotenoids, pectins, tannins, flavonoids and anthocyanins.

What is rosehip used for

Herbal preparations based on rosehip serve mainly as vitamin C supplements.

Rosehip is normally recommended as a remedy to increase the immune systemfight inflammatory statesrelieve the symptoms of allergies and counteract the action of free radicals.

Internally it is used in the form of:

  • Rosehip herbal tea;
  • Mother tincture of rosehip or extract;

while externally rosehip oil is used for its cosmetic properties.

Benefits of rosehip

Let’s find out the benefits of rosehip and the different forms of intake.

  • The bud derivative obtained from young shoots is recommended for its immunomodulating properties, therefore to regulate the body’s immune response in case of viral infections, coughs, colds, flu symptoms and against forms of allergy that affect the respiratory system.

    Thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of the plant, rosehip bud derivative is also used in acute inflammation affecting the nasal mucous membranes, eyes and upper airways, to treat allergic conjunctivitis, rhinitis and asthma, and in recurrent infections such as tonsillitis, nasopharyngitis, otitis.
  • The small fruits of rosehip are instead used in herbal tea and extract for their high content of Vitamin C and other molecules with antioxidant action, including flavonoids.

    Since vitamin Calso known as ascorbic acid, cannot be synthesized directly by humans (unlike what happens for other animals), this must be introduced through food or, if the diet is deficient, thanks to the administration of food supplements.

In addition to defending against the harmful action of free radicals, the vitamin C contained in rosehip berries is also involved in the synthesis of collagen and in the mechanisms of absorption of calcium and iron.

  • Supplements based on rosehip can therefore be useful to counteract skin aging and to promote the absorption of iron present in vegetables (for example for people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet), to increase vitamin C in subjects who need high needs of this micronutrient, such as smokers.
  • Rosehip oil is used externally for its benefits for the skin. It is an emollient, soothing and regenerating oil, useful for preventing wrinkles and skin spots, stretch marks and scars.

How to use

Of the rose hips, buds and false fruits are used in the form of liquid extracts, herbal teas and other herbal preparations.

  • Rosehip herbal tea: it is prepared with dried fruits in infusion for fifteen minutes. A cup of it is consumed three times a day.
  • Rosehip bud derivative: 40-50 drops in two daily administrations, away from meals.
  • Mother tincture of rosehip: 45-50 drops 3 times a day between meals
  • Rosehip extract: 100 to 300 mg per day.
  • Pink honey, produced by the maceration of the petals, to be taken in spoons, excellent for the throat in case of cough.
  • Rosehip oil: pure or mixed with other vegetable oils to be massaged into the skin.

Contraindications of rose hips

Rosehip has no particular contraindications or side effects. The administration of this remedy, however, is not recommended in subjects who have hypersensitivity or allergies to one or more components present in the plant or its extracts.

As for the possible interactions, the intake of rosehip tends to acidify the urine due to the presence of ascorbic acid, so it is not recommended to administer this remedy with bearberry, since it would reduce its effectiveness.


This forest rose owes the botanical name “canina” to Pliny the Elder, who reported a Roman soldier, bitten by a dog and healed of rabies, thanks to the assumption of a decoction of roots.

Rosehip was already appreciated for its effectiveness in strengthening the body’s defenses against infections and especially against the common cold.

In the Middle Ages it was commonly used in traditional remedies for respiratory problems, and the fruits were very popular in sweets.

Its use played an important role in the supply of Vitamin C to British children during the Second World War as a replacement for the normal source of citrus fruits.

The process used in the eighteenth century of reducing the fruits in puree as a form of intake of the plant, gave way to the infusion of its dried berries.

A recipe with rose hips

To prepare an infusion of rosehip


  • 1 tablespoon satin rosehip berries;
  • 1 cup of water. 


Place the berries in the water before it reaches the boiling point. Turn off the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
Strain the infusion and consume it in case of flu or simply for the delicious citrus flavor.

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