The rose, a beautiful flower with a rich history in addition to several essential nutrients, is used in medicinal remedies.

Quick Facts
General Information
  • Common name(s)Rose, dog rose, brier hip, rose hip
  • Scientific nameRosa canina
  • Native regionWestern Europe, Southern Europe, Eastern or Central Europe
  • Main Economic UseMedicinal

Originally from Europe, Asia, and Africa, the rose has medicinal value and beauty that has lent it popularity for thousands of years. The plant is believed to be an ancient crop estimated by historians as first being cultivated over 5,000 years ago. Now, however, after adapting to many different conditions, it continues to be grown throughout the world and remains respected as one of the most famous ornamental flowers.

Rose Medicinal Properties

Quick Facts (Medicinal Properties)
  • Medicinal actionAnti-inflammatory
  • Key constituentsVitamin C, lycopene
  • Ways to useCapsules, Hot infusions/tisanes, Syrup, Essential oil, Dried
  • Medicinal rating(1) Very minor uses
  • Safety rankingUse with caution

Health Benefits of Rose

Roses, in particular rose hip extract, bring the following benefits to the table:

  • Lowering joint inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties of roses's bioflavonoids can help provide relief for chronic sufferers of rheumatism, arthritis, and gout.

  • Soothing sunburned or acne-prone skin. Rose hip essential oil and rose tisanes are widely used in topical treatments against acne and facial skin irritation.

  • Relieving indigestion. Rose hips can help reduce stomach inflammation and diarrhea.

How It Works

The different medicinal applications of the rose derives from its high nutritional value. Their vitamin C (ascorbic acid) content is particularly significant, since it is even higher than that found in oranges. Roses also have high amounts of vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as sodium, zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium, boron, and copper. They are also a good source of lycopene, another strong antioxidant. This range of nutrients, combined with unique bioflavonoid and carotenoid compounds, make them an important part of herbal medicinal traditions.

In addition to containing 35% good quality oil and 25% protein, rose hips also boast high concentrations of phosphorus.

Herbs with anti-inflammatory properties, commonly used for relieving joint pain, are devil's claw and turmeric, whereas aloe and jojoba soothe a number of skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, skin rash, and sunburn.

Rose Side Effects

Rose hips may cause side effects like nausea and headaches. An allergic reaction is also possible.

Rose Cautions

Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as those with bleeding conditions, diabetes, kidney stones, anemia, and certain other rare conditions should avoid rose hip. The herb can also interact with antacids, estrogen medication, fluphenazine, lithium, warfarin, and blood clotting medications. For more details, consult a pharmacist or physician.

How to Consume Rose

Quick Facts (How to Consume)
  • Edible partsFlowers, Fruit
  • TasteTart

Fresh rose hips and petals are edible and they can be used for culinary preparations, such as jellies and soups. Fresh rose hips contain the most vitamin C, but processing and drying destroys most of this nutrient.

Natural Forms

  • Infusion. This is the most popular way to consume rose medicinally. The hips are dried, ground into a powder, and then steeped in hot water.

Herbal Remedies & Supplements

  • Syrup. Rose hips can be boiled down to make a syrup and reap the anti-inflammatory properties of the herb.

  • Essential oil. Properly-diluted rose hip oil is used topically for countering inflammation and skin irritations, and it is one of the easiest ways to consume rose.

  • Capsules. Supplemental forms are designed to contain a standardized dosage of rose extract. In addition, many commercial vitamin C supplements contain vitamin C derived from rose hips.

Storing rose products for a long time also deteriorates their vitamin C content.


Quick Facts (Buying)
  • Where to buySupermarkets, Farmers' markets, Specialized health stores, Online herb stores

Natural Forms

Fresh roses are easy to find in most garden centers. Prepared rose hip teabags are also available, though these may need to be purchased in specialized health stores.

Herbal Remedies & Supplements

Rose and rose hip remedies and supplements are mainly found in specialized health stores or large drugstore chains. Rose hip oil, is readily available in grocery stores and local markets around the world, and there is a wide variety of rose supplements available through online retailers.

Each brand of rose hips supplements may come in various forms with different concentrations, although they are notably more common in capsule and tablet forms.


Quick Facts (Growing)
  • Life cyclePerennial
  • Harvested partsFlowers, Fruit
  • Light requirementsPartial shade
  • Soil pH5.6 – 6.0 (Moderately acidic), 6.1 – 6.5 (Slightly acidic)
  • Growing habitatTemperate climates
  • Propagation techniquesCuttings

Roses require partial sun and well-moisturized loamy soils. If grown to its optimum requirements, the rose bush can reach almost ten feet (3.0 m) in height. Soil should have a pH between 5.5 and 6.5, and it should be watered deeply twice a week. Two to three inches (5.0 – 7.6 cm) of mulch should be added around the base of the plant to conserve moisture, and fertilization should be constant in order to speed up flower development. Although it produces seeds, cutting and grafting are commonly performed by gardeners in order to preserve the desired flower color. When it's being cultivated for ornamental purposes, flowers are usually harvested in early spring.

Additional Information

Plant Biology

All rose varieties are climbers that can grow up to 9.8 feet (3 m). They are characterized for having alternate and serrate leaves, as well as showy white to pink flowers, and bright red hips with no sepals.

  • Classification

    Rosa canina is a member of the Rosaceae family, otherwise known as the rose family. It includes about 2,800 species spread over 95 genera. The family grows worldwide, though members are most commonly found in the Northern Hemisphere. A number of recognizable and economically-important species fall into this family, including apple (Malus domestica), apricot (Prunus armeniaca), blackberry (Rubus fruticosus), cherry (Prunus spp.), and pear (Pyrus communis).

  • Varieties and Subspecies of Rose

    Over the course of history, approximately 100 cultivars of rose have been crossbred or developed. There are two possible varieties of R. canina: R. canina var. bakeri and R. canina var. globularis. Some taxonomists, however, claim that these varieties are not distinct from R. canina itself.

Historical Information

It was during the age of the ancient Roman Empire that the rose first became a large-scale ornamental crop, across Middle Eastern provinces especially. During this time, it became fashionable for Roman nobles to wear garlands of roses around their necks, in addition of exploiting its perfume and medicinal properties. During the Middle Ages, roses became associated with many Christian festivities, and rosewater became a staple ingredient for apothecaries, leading to the creation of the first monastery rose gardens. Eventually, the plant began to be recognized for its nutritional value and high vitamin C content in addition to its ornamental value.

Economic Data

The economic importance of rose cultivation is based mostly on its ornamental use, although its medicinal and nutritional applications also play a part. The rose family is one of the most economically-important crop families, and its yearly yield was about 113 million tons during 2005. Valued at about $400 USD per ton, it translates to the rose family industry being worth around $45 billion USD annually.

Popular Beliefs

Many specific subvarieties or colors of roses have acquired symbolic uses that go beyond simple decoration, forming a major part of religious and civil festivals around the world. Among these, the most well-known ones include the feast of St. Jordi in Catalunya, the handheld red rose of many European socialist parties, and the white rose of peace.

Roses have also established themselves as national and state symbols around the world, such as the Rose of England and the Wild Rose of Alberta.

Other Uses

The main usage of rose is as an ornamental plant, as it is one of the most popular flowers in homes and public or private gardens. Forms of dog rose are also used as stocks for the grafting or budding of other cultivated varieties.