What are rosehips?
Rosehips usually get outshone by the more popular and appealing flowers that they grow under, with most being unaware about the real benefits of this small, easily overlooked fruit. However, rosehips are bursting with essential fatty acids, anti-oxidants and minerals, making them very versatile and often involved in the treatment of a variety of ailments, from rheumatoid arthritis to ageing skin.
#1 – Chockfull of vitamin C: Rosehips grow to be roughly the same size as a crab-apple and are sometimes harvested for decorative purposes, normally ripening in hues of red, orange or purple. Surprisingly though, these relatively small fruits contain around 60% more vitamin C than the average orange, making them extremely potent and useful for certain health complaints.
Vitamin C is incredibly valuable when it comes to the formation of collagen and the absorption of iron. Collagen is an essential protein that is found all over the body, but mainly in the skin and bones, where it plays an important role in maintaining structure and strength.
As you grow older, your production of collage will gradually start to decline, although other lifestyle factors like smoking or sunlight can also impact the formation of this protein. This is why rosehip is often celebrated for fighting signs of aging and keeping skin looking supple and firm.
#2 – Jam packed with EFA’s! EFAs, or essential fatty acids, are composed of two distinct variants – omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. Humans need a good intake of both to support their overall health and wellbeing as EFA’s serve an important function when it comes to your body. They are necessary for hormone production, the nervous system and keeping skin hydrated and healthy, even reducing some of the symptoms of skin conditions like eczema.
Certain omega-6 fatty acids cannot be synthesised naturally by your body so they must be absorbed from your diet. Rosehips contain a number of crucial omega-6 fatty acids, including polyunsaturated fatty acids which have been linked to tissue regeneration and the support of your cellular membranes.
#3 – Goodbye free radicals: Free radicals are unstable molecules that can affect the function of your healthy cells and cause tissue damage – this is known as oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can have a disastrous impact on your immune system, making you more susceptible to viral infections and diseases, with free radicals even being associated with heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
Free radicals can be produced naturally in your body or occur as a result of smoking or contact with pollution. Fortunately, your body has a way of fighting back against these corrupted cells – anti-oxidants!
Anti-oxidants are usually found in vitamins and minerals, and can work to repair the damage done by oxidative stress. Rosehips are abundant in anti-oxidants, being a great source of vitamins like vitamin A and C, as well as minerals like magnesium, zinc and sulphur. Rosehip syrup was readily available during the Second World War, when it was recommended for children to ward off colds and flus.
#4 – Rich in anti-inflammatory agents: Rosehip has often been linked to inflammatory conditions like arthritis, and is believed to have a positive effect on joint pain. According to Arthritis Research UK, this is partly to do with the levels of polyphenols and anthocyanins found in the fruit, which can reduce inflammation, easing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
This also makes rosehip very beneficial for the skin as well, as some skin conditions are caused by an inflammatory reaction from the immune system, which rosehip may be able to minimalise or reduce, decreasing the severity of certain symptoms.
#5 – Extremely versatile: Rosehip is growing in popularity and part of this surge is owed to how versatile the fruit is. Those looking to increase their intake of vitamin C or give their immune system a helping hand, often pick the fruit and find ways of incorporating it into recipes, either as a soup, a tea or sometimes even a jam.
However, this can come with its risk, the first being that rosehip can lose its vitamin C content when it is boiled. The dark, furry seed of the fruit should also be disposed of as it is inedible and can cause adverse side-effects.
This is why oils and capsules are more commonplace as many are unwilling to try picking the fruit. Rosehip supplements and oils are usually available from most healthfood stores, and are well regarded as the oil absorb quickly through the skin and works efficiently in a short amount of time.