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Uses and Benefits of Rose Hips and Rosehip Seed Essential Oil

I am a great fan of essential oils and herbs for everyday health and well-being.

Why Is Everyone Talking About Rosehip Oil?

Rosehip oil is a proven reducer of crow's feet, wrinkles, and scars. The essential oil is extracted from the seeds and seed casings of a rose bush (Rosa canina or Rosa majalis), and rose hips are the fruit of the rose plant.

The oil from the plant contains retinol (vitamin A), vitamin C, and essential fatty acids. These combined nutrients make it a great skincare product because it is packed full of natural antioxidants. Rosehip oil is not the same as attar of roses or rose oil. Attar of roses is produced from rose petals, and rosehip oil is produced from the hips which form after a rose blooms. The Rosa canina species has fine hairs on the outside which can cause irritation, so these should be removed before use.

The linoleic acids in rosehip oil have been shown to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

The linoleic acids in rosehip oil have been shown to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Rosehip Oil Reverses the Signs of Aging

Why does rosehip oil work so well? The plant contains about 1700–2000 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams of oil. The plant also contains natural tretinoin (the acidic form of vitamin A). Tretinoin is the active ingredient in many prescribed wrinkle reducers. The two vitamins work to halt and reverse typical signs of aging such as wrinkles, crow's feet, and sagging skin by accelerating the skin's cellular activity and hastening skin renewal and cell regeneration. The face becomes firmer and smoother, and the signs of aging diminish with its use.

Rosehip oil can help repair damaged hair.

Rosehip oil can help repair damaged hair.

The Oil Is Beneficial for Skin and Hair

The oil can also be used in body creams, lotions, and massage oils:

  • Skin care: Applying the oil twice a day can help your skin return to a more youthful appearance. Expect to see results in about three months.
  • Scars: The oil improves the appearance of scars including those from acne or radiation therapy and may help to fade age spots and reduce uneven pigmentation.
  • Sunburns: Too much sun? Try applying a few drops of the oil to the sunburn for a soothing remedy. The powerful antioxidant properties of the oil are one reason why it is so useful for skincare.
  • Hair care: The oil adds shine and body to colored hair, permed hair, or hair that has been damaged by too much sun or cold weather.

How to Store Rosehip Oil

Unlike most essential oils and aromatherapy oils that can be purchased in stores, rosehip oil should be kept refrigerated because of its delicate nature. The plant oil is more susceptible to spoiling than most vegetable oils, especially in regards to fluctuations in temperature, oxygen saturation in the air, and light.

Rosehip tea offers vitamins C, A, B1, B2, B3, K.

Rosehip tea offers vitamins C, A, B1, B2, B3, K.

Rose Hip Tea Benefits and Recipe

This versatile plant makes a tangy, tart tea and has a lovely pink color. By drinking this tea, you will be adding vitamins C, A, B1, B2, B3, K and a wide variety of flavonoids and polyphenols into your diet.

How to make rose hip tea:

  1. Dry and finely grind the entire rose hip (pulp, seeds, and all).
  2. Add two teaspoons of the crushed rose hips to hot water. You may also buy ready-made rose hip herbal tea bags.
  3. Sweeten it with honey or sugar, and drink it several times per day.

Rosehip Oil in Aromatherapy

Strictly speaking, rosehip oil is not an essential oil, but is usually referred to as an essential oil because of the benefits and properties it offers. It is often used in aromatherapy products, especially for aromatherapy skin care and massage. This is because of the wonderful benefits it offers for skin texture and elasticity, as well as its scent. Unlike many essential oils, it can be used undiluted for maximum benefits. As with other oils, I think it is worth buying organic rosehip oil.

Thinking of Growing Your Own Roses?

Roses are propagated from hips by removing the seeds from the outer coating and sowing just beneath the soil’s surface. Plant the seeds in a cold frame, a greenhouse, or under glass indoors. It takes at least three months until they germinate. Only about half germinate at all, so sow more seeds than you want plants.

A "Climbing Souvenir de la Malmaison" rose flower.

A "Climbing Souvenir de la Malmaison" rose flower.

Other Uses for Rose Hips and Rosehip Oil

UseFacts

Food Products

Used in food products such as herbal tea, jam, jelly, syrup, pies, puddings, bread, and marmalade.

Guinea Pig and Chinchilla Nutrition

A healthy treat for pet chinchillas and guinea pigs. These animals need vitamin C, but lack the digestive system to process many vitamin C-rich foods. Rose hips are a safe way to increase their vitamin C intake.

Horse Nutrition

Often added to horse feed. A tablespoon per day of the powdered form can be added to regular food to improve coat condition and encourage new hoof growth.

Anti-Itch Powder

The tiny hairs found inside rose hips are used in itching powder.

Crafts and Potpourri

Add a few drops of rosehip oil to a bowl of potpourri for a lovely pick-me-up and to refresh older mixtures.

Drawing of Rosa Majalis from an 1885 German botany book.

Drawing of Rosa Majalis from an 1885 German botany book.

Traditional Uses of the Plant

  • Nostradamus purportedly used rose hips with other ingredients to make rose pills which he prescribed to patients suffering from the plague. He claimed remarkable success with the pills.
  • Rose hips were used in many types of food preparations by native Americans.
  • During the Second World War, citrus fruits were very difficult to find during wartime owing to the attacks on shipping by the Germans. The people of England gathered wild rose hips and made a vitamin C syrup for general consumption. Rose hip syrup is still quite popular in England today—my grandmother was particularly keen on giving it regularly to toddlers and small children.
  • A traditional Hungarian alcoholic beverage called "palinka" contains rose hips.

Other Uses for Rosehips and Rose Hip Oil

  • Jam: Used in food products such as herbal tea, jam, jelly, syrup, pies, puddings, bread, and marmalade.
  • Got a guinea pig? Rose hips are a healthy treat for pet chinchillas and guinea pigs. These animals need vitamin C, but lack the digestive system to process many vitamin-C rich foods. Rose hips are a safe way to increase their vitamin C intake.
  • From the horse’s mouth: Rosehips are also often added to horse feed. A tablespoon per day of the powdered form can be added to regular food to improve coat condition and encourage new hoof growth.
  • Scratch and sniff: The tiny hairs found inside rose hips are used in itching powder!
  • Dried rosehips are also sold for crafts and potpourri. Add a few drops of rosehip oil to a bowl of potpourri for a lovely pick-me-up, and to refresh older mixtures.

Tips for Growing Your Own Roses

Thinking of growing your own roses? Roses are propagated from hips by removing the seeds from the outer coating and sowing just beneath the soil’s surface. Plant the seeds in a cold frame or greenhouse, or under glass indoors. It takes at least three months until they germinate. Only about half germinate at all, so sow more seeds than you want plants.

Wild rosehips growing in late summer. Photo is in the public domain.

Wild rosehips growing in late summer. Photo is in the public domain.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Comments

rosehip on November 26, 2010:

When I was a child my grandfather have lots of this at their home I always wonder what he used it for until a few months back I found out the benefits roship gives us, very nice hub very informative great job

isabelle ichikawa on September 27, 2010:

I have a question concerning the containance of tretinoin and vitamins in the rosehip oil, when the essential oil is cold pressed does it damaged the vitamins it contains ? is the absolute rosehip more efficient ?

I don't know if you can answer but if you can' t do you know where I can get some informations ?

Thank you !

Rob on August 01, 2009:

I bought a case. 24, one Lb bags. I soak two cups and it becomes a thick paste syrup then blend it all into fruit shakes.

Plants and Oils (author) from England on July 21, 2009:

Brian - I did too, for my Granny!

JG, I wouldn't swear that they actually worked, he claimed they did. Caveat emptor, I think.

Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on July 19, 2009:

Rose hip pills for the plague? Must've been the concentration of vitamins jump-starting a victim's immune system.

Brian Stephens from Castelnaudary, France on July 19, 2009:

We use to collect rosehips as kids for my mother, now I remember a little more about why she wanted them.

Plants and Oils (author) from England on July 18, 2009:

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Bob Ewing from New Brunswick on July 18, 2009:

I have collected rosehips for tea, good information, thanks.

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