Climbing perennial growing to a height of 10 ft (3 m). Has curved thorns, leaves with 2–3 pairs of toothed leaflets, pink or white flowers, and scarlet fruit (called “hips”).
Habitat & Cultivation
Native to Europe, temperate areas of Asia, and North Africa, dog rose grows in hedgerows and thickets and in open areas. The fruit is picked in autumn.
Dog rose hips contain vitamins C (up to 1.25%), A, B1, B2, B3, and K, flavonoids, tannins (2–3%), invert sugar, pectin, plant acids, polyphenols, carotenoids, volatile oil, and vanillin.
History & Folklore
The hips of the dog rose were a popular sweetmeat in the Middle Ages. The plants were not esteemed to the same degree as were cultivated roses (R. gallica), but dog rose was valued as the source of a widely used folk remedy for chest problems.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Dog rose hips have extremely high levels of vitamins. When consumed fresh, they provide vitamins and other nutrients in a form that is readily absorbed by the body. This makes rose-hip syrup a nourishing drink for young children. The tannin content of rose hips makes them a gentle remedy for diarrhea. The hips are mildly diuretic.
Clinical studies investigating the use of rose-hip extracts for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lower back pain have produced mixed results. Some have shown positive benefits, others none. It is likely that some people will benefit more than others, and given that rose-hip extracts are very safe, rose hips and rose-hip extract are well worth trying for arthritic conditions.