Everyone knows the rose-hip! As an “itchy powder”, it made life difficult for many kids! In Germany, they even sing about the rose-hip: August Hoffmann von Fallersleben wrote a nursery rhyme about it, which goes, “A little man stands in the woods, with a black cap on and clothed in beautiful orange-red, who can it be? Ah, it must be a rose-hip” and so on (very freely translated). However, science today knows better than ever that the rose-hip has much more to offer. The rose-hip is known to be one of the native plants that’s richest in vitamin C – only the acerola cherry or the exotic Camu fruit have a higher content. Our ancestors also appreciated the rose-hip and its ingredients – it was considered to be a medicinal plant for various illnesses in ancient times. It usually has a permanent place in the kitchen too, because its refreshing taste makes it ideal for the preparation of jams and liqueurs, but our best-known form of the fruit is rose-hip tea.
This little reddish fruit, often referred to as wild rose, is usually found in bushes and hedges. The rose-hip variety Rosa Canina was used in the monastic medicine of the Middle Ages, when it was considered useful for treating colds and complaints in the gastrointestinal tract. Its ingredients, such as vitamin C, pro-vitamin A, B vitamins, minerals, trace elements, secondary plant substances and galactolipid, which are all present in significant quantities in the fruit, are at the root of its healing effects.
Clinical studies conducted by the Danish physician and biochemist Dr. med. Kay Winther, have proven the effects that wild rosehip ingredients can have. In their research, the scientists focused on the ingredient galactolipid. Galactolipid is composed of fatty acids and sugars and is an important substance for relieving joint pain. It mitigates inflammatory joint diseases by inhibiting the migration of the white blood corpuscles into the inflamed region, preventing more cartilage tissue damage. Galactolipid is also capable of blocking inflammatory parameters, such as the CRP (C-reactive protein), which promotes inflammation.
As a further positive side effect, the scientists were also able to prove that LDL cholesterol, which is responsible for the formation of deposits in blood vessels, was significantly reduced by the regular intake of rosehip powder.
To obtain enough of the active ingredients, especially galactolipid, the whole rose hip must be carefully processed, i.e. the fruits must be dried at a maximum of 40° C. But rosehip tea or jam alone can’t improve inflammatory symptoms – the whole fruit, with skin and kernel, must be ground up. This is the only way to obtain a high-quality rosehip powder with a high galactolipid content. Picking and eating the rosehip raw straight from the shrub won’t taste too great either, because the rosehip has a very high proportion of tannins. It’s best to mix up the rosehip powder with your muesli and take it in juices, yoghurts or smoothies. The daily recommended intake is between 5 and 10 grams.
Rose-hip powder isn’t the only rose-hip product that has a pronounced positive effect on our health – rose-hip seed oil is also very healthy for us. It’s a popular oil in the cosmetics sector, because it can be easily incorporated into creams, soaps and ointments. The oil of the rose-hip seeds also stimulates the healing process of skin injuries, and it can even provide fast relief for itchy, cracked and brittle skin. Transretionary fruit acid in the oil is responsible for this healing property. It stimulates the skin to regenerate itself and builds up new collagen at the same time.