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What is Rosehip Tea Good for: 5 Health Benefits and How to Make It

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In terms of herbal teas, the appeal of drinking rosehip tea is hard to deny.

What is rosehip tea good for? With its pleasant fragrance and slightly sweet, slightly tart flavor, rosehips pack a nutritional punch—full of vitamin C and antioxidants. It’s also used for a wide range of medicinal purposes. It’s the complete package.

So what exactly are rosehips, anyway? Rosehips are essentially the seedpod or the “fruit” left on a rose bush after the flowers have bloomed. They’re also known as rose hep, or rose haw.

Rosehips can be round or oval-shaped, and range in color from orange to a deep scarlet red, depending on the variety. While there are many uses of rosehips from syrups to jams and jellies, rosehip tea is perhaps the most common way to consume this pseudo-fruit.

While there are many varieties of rose bushes, most rosehips are harvested from either the plants of the Japanese rose (Rosa rugosa), sweetbriar rose (Rosa rubiginosa), or dog rose (Rosa canina). This is because these varieties produce some of the largest rosehips making them ideal for harvesting.

However, dog rose, a species native to Europe seems to be the rose species focused on throughout many medical studies. Although different species of rosehips may differ slightly from one another, rosehips in general contain many of the same vitamins and compounds.

So what is rosehip tea good for? Let’s take a closer look.

Historical uses of rosehip tea

  • Hips from dog rose were used in the Middle Ages as a natural remedy for chest ailments. Rosehip syrup served as an overall health tonic for children plus a vital source of vitamin C.
  • During wartime and times of famine, people would turn to the hips of dog rose as a rich source of vitamin C.
  • Dog rose tea is used in traditional Austrian medicine to treat viral infections, as well as kidney problems and issues related to the urinary tract.

5 health benefits of rosehips

From providing a rich source of vitamins and antioxidants, to boosting immunity, let’s look at a few rosehip tea benefits.

1. Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants

Just one cup (100 grams) of raw rosehips provides 426 milligrams of vitamin C. Rosehips also contain complex B vitamins (B1, B2, B3), vitamin E, carotenoids, flavonoids, polyphenols, and phytochemicals. These properties have powerful antioxidant effects. Consuming foods or drinks rich in antioxidants helps ward off cancer, and protects against heart disease. Fatty acids such as linolenic, palmitic, and alpha-linolenic acids are also present in rosehips.

If you’re looking to maximize the health benefits of rosehips, choose fresh rosehips over dried rosehips as they contain greater levels of vitamins and antioxidants.

2. Acts as an anti-inflammatory

Galactolipids are just one of the many anti-inflammatory compounds found in rosehip tea. Rosehip extracts are often used to treat inflammation and pain in the body for various ailments such as arthritis.

One study involving people with osteoarthritis found that those who took daily rosehip extract experienced lower pain and more hip and joint mobility over a four-month period. The majority of participants (65 percent) reported a reduction in pain.

3. Supports a healthy heart

As a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin C, and flavonoids, rosehip tea supports the functioning of a healthy heart by reducing blood pressure, increasing blood flow, and protecting against heart disease.

One study involving participants with obesity found that taking 40 grams of rosehip powder every day (over the course of the six-week study) resulted in a reduction in bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and healthier blood pressure.

4. Acts as an anti-aging remedy

Rosehips contain astringent properties that can be beneficial for tightening and toning skin. Rosehip tea is also used for a variety of skin inflammation ailments such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne.

The high levels of vitamin C content in rosehip tea may help with collagen production and provide skin protection against the sun. Collagen is essential in promoting skin elasticity for a more youthful appearance, reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

One double-blind study involving participants between the ages of 35-65 years, shows a reported reduction in crow’s feet wrinkles, improved skin elasticity, and skin moisture after consuming 3 grams of rosehip powder daily over eight weeks. However, more studies need to be done to see if rosehip tea provides the same benefits as rosehip powder.

5. Boosts immunity

Vitamin C is a mighty agent in boosting your body’s immunity. It helps to boost white blood cell production, acts as a protective agent against outside pollutants, and also fights against infection.

Did you know that you only need one small serving of fresh rosehips (or roughly six rosehips) to get 199 percent of your vitamin C DV (daily value)? Unless you’re eating the daily recommended amount of nine servings of fruits and vegetables, you may not be getting enough vitamin C. The high vitamin C content in rosehips makes it a wise choice to add to your daily diet. 

Possible side effects of rosehip tea

Please speak to your doctor before using rosehip tea, and especially if taking rosehip supplements.

While there are many beneficial aspects of rosehip tea, some people may experience adverse gastrointestinal side effects such as diarrhea or constipation, and excessive gas. Other side effects include increased chance of kidney stones, and blood clots. Those with iron-related illnesses should use caution.

More studies need to be done concerning the safety of taking rosehips when pregnant or breastfeeding. To stay on the safe side, please speak to your doctor before using.

Depositphotos RosehipTea vi mart 89342862 xl 2015 1
Rosehip drink with fresh berries.
Credit: Deposit Photos, vi-mart

How to make rosehip tea

Making rosehip tea at home is a simple way to incorporate more vitamin C to your daily diet. You can use fresh or dried rosehips.

Dried rosehips:

Measure out 1–2 teaspoons of dried rosehips to 1 cup of water. Steep rose hips for 10–15 minutes.

Fresh rosehips:

Note: when using fresh rosehips avoid using aluminium or copper cookware—use stainless steel, glass, or enamel.

Fill around 1 tablespoon (roughly 4–8 rosehips) to 1 cup of water. Steep rose hips for 10–15 minutes. You can gently mash with a spoon to extract all the juice.

Sweeten rosehip tea with a dollop of honey, brown sugar, or stevia. Enjoy! You can get creative and create your own blend of leaves with rosehips including strawberry, mint, or hibiscus. Try adding a few rose petals as an extra touch.

Where can I find rosehip tea?

You can harvest rosehips from rose bushes growing in your garden, or wild rose bushes. It’s best to learn how to properly identify rose varieties before you begin foraging. Read more about when and how to harvest rosehips here.

If you’re buying rosehip tea with the intent of boosting your vitamin C content, be aware that dried or processed rosehips have greatly reduced vitamin C content as compared to fresh rosehips. A variety of factors come into play that affect vitamin C levels such as processing method, and growing conditions. The time between harvesting and processing also plays a role. Ideally rosehips are processed the same day as they’re harvested to retain maximum vitamin C.

Ground rosehips tend to lose its vitamin C quicker than dried whole or halved rosehips. One study showed that ground rosehips lost all of their vitamin C within 6 months, whereas rosehips cut in half retained more than 50 percent after 18 months. Many types of store-bought rosehip extracts and teas are fortified with vitamin C. As with most herbal teas and remedies, it’s best to use up sooner rather than later.  

Conclusion: what is rosehip tea good for?

While more studies need to be done to study the effects of drinking rosehip tea as it pertains to medicinal purposes, there’s no doubting the rich, nutritional content this small fruit has to offer. Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, drinking rosehip tea could be part of a relaxing and healthy daily ritual.

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  5. Phetcharat L, Wongsuphasawat K, Winther K. (2015 Nov 19).The effectiveness of a standardized rose hip powder, containing seeds and shells of Rosa canina, on cell longevity, skin wrinkles, moisture, and elasticity.10:1849-56. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S90092. eCollection 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26604725/
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