The dog rose is a popular wild rose variety with a rich history of ornamental and therapeutic uses. In addition to its attractive flowers, the dog rose provides several essential nutrients and it is popularly consumed for medicinal purposes.

Quick Facts
General Information
  • Common name(s)Dog rose, dog brier, common brier, brier rose, wild rose
  • Scientific nameRosa canina
  • Plant typeShrub
  • Native regionNorth Africa/Middle East, Central Asia, Western Asia, Europe
  • Main producer(s)Chile
  • Main Economic UseMedicinal, Gardening, Cosmetic industry

Originally from Europe, Asia, and Africa, the dog rose has medicinal value and beauty that has lent it popularity for thousands of years. Less showy than its famous ornamental relatives, the dog rose is a highly adaptable plant, and it continues to be grown throughout the world, due to its pretty flowers and healing benefits.

Rose Medicinal Properties

Health Benefits of Dog Rose

The main source of dog rose benefits is its tiny fruit, known as rose hip, or rosehip, which have been historically used to treat a variety of health conditions. Nowadays, rosehip medicinal properties are mainly used for:

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

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

  • Relieving indigestion. Rosehip medicinal properties have been shown to alleviate stomach complaints, such as internal inflammation and diarrhea.

Traditionally, the fruit of the dog rose, the rosehip, have been used to treat a number of infectious diseases, influenza, colds, gallstones, and vitamin C deficiency, among many other health conditions.

How It Works

The different medicinal applications of the dog 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. Rosehip fruits 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, rosehips 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.

Dog Rose Side Effects

Rosehip fruits may cause side effects like nausea and headaches. An allergic reaction is also possible in sensitive people.

Dog 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 rosehip. The herb can also negatively interact with antacids, estrogen medication, fluphenazine, lithium, warfarin, and blood clotting drugs. A pharmacist or physician should be consulted  before start taking any medicinal form of rosehip.

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

How to Consume Rose

Fresh rosehip fruits and dog rose petals are edible and they can be used for culinary preparations, such as jellies and soups. The fresh rosehip is rich in vitamin C, but the drying and heating processes destroy most of this nutrient.

Natural Forms

  • Infusion. This is the most popular way to obtain dog rose benefits. The rosehip fruits and dog rose petals are dried, ground into a powder, and then steeped in hot water.

  • Poultice. Dog rose fresh leaves can be crushed and applied topically over superficial wounds and rashes, in order to reduce inflammation and speed up healing.

Herbal Remedies & Supplements

  • Syrup. Rosehip fruits can be boiled down to make a syrup and reap dog rose anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Essential oil. Properly-diluted rosehip oil is used topically for countering inflammation and skin irritations, and it is one of the easiest ways to reap rosehip medicinal properties.

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

Storing rosehip products for a long time also deteriorates their vitamin C content.
Quick Facts (How to Consume)
  • Edible partsFlowers, Fruit
  • TasteTart


Natural Forms

The dog rose bush can be easily found in most garden centers. On the other hand, rosehip teabags are also available, though these may need to be purchased in specialized health stores.

Herbal Remedies & Supplements

Dog rose and rosehip remedies, as well as supplements are mainly found in specialized health stores or large drugstore chains. Rosehip 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 rosehip supplements may come in various forms with different concentrations, although they are notably more common in capsule and tablet forms.

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


In its natural environment, the dog rose bush can be found growing along rivers, plains, and semi-arid, mountainous areas, as well as in forest edges. If grown to its optimum requirements, the dog rose bush can reach up to 9 feet (2.7 m) in height. This hardy wild rose can endure a variety of conditions, however it requires some basic care to thrive.

Growing Guidelines

  • Rose species require partial sun and well-moisturized loamy soils. 

  • Soil should have a pH of 5.5 - 6.5, and the dog rose bush 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 dog rose bush 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 cultivated for ornamental purposes, rose flowers are usually harvested in early spring.

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

Additional Information

Plant Biology

The dog rose bush is a perennial climber that can be up to 9 feet (2.7 m) high. Its tiny fruit, known as rosehip, is 2 cm long, oval-shaped, with a glossy, bright red exterior when mature, and it is topped with the dried sepals of the flower, which has five petals that can be white or light pink.

  • Classification

    The dog rose bush (Rosa canina) is one of the many wild rose plants within the large Rosaceae botanical group, otherwise known as the rose family. It includes about 2,800 species, spread over 95 genera, which grow worldwide, though members are most commonly found in the Northern Hemisphere. Many recognizable and economically-important flowering species fall into the rose family, including apple (Malus domestica), apricot (Prunus armeniaca), blackberry (Rubus fruticosus), cherry (Prunus spp.), and pear (Pyrus communis).

  • Varieties and Subspecies of Rose

    10 varieties of dog rose have been identified: Rosa canina var. dumetorum, Rosa canina var. canina L., Rosa canina var. corymbifera , Rosa canina var. andegavensis, Rosa canina var. evanida, Rosa canina var. frutetorum, Rosa canina var. libertiae, Rosa canina var. Montana, Rosa canina var. sepium, and Rosa canina var. subcanina . There are two recognized subespecies of dog rose: Rosa canina subsp. andegavensis and Rosa canina subsp. virens.

The botanical name of dog rose, 'Rosa canina' comes from the ancient belief that the plant could be used to treat wild dog bites.

Historical Information

Native to Europe, western and central Asia, and northern Africa, the dog rose have been highly valued by many cultures for millennia. There are countless references to the rosehip fruit  in holistic healing systems, from Tibetan medicine to Ayurveda,  as well as in the manuscripts of the famous Persian philosopher and physician Avicenna.

During the 15th century, Europeans introduced the dog rose bush into the Americas, southern Australia, New Zealand, and southern Africa, where it quickly spread and now grows in the wild.

During World War II, when citrus fruits were scarce, rosehip syrup was used to prevent scurvy.

Economic Data

The commercial supply of Rosa canina comes from different parts of the world, like Eastern and southern Europe, as well as from western and central Asia, where the dog rose mostly grows in the wild. For its high-quality rosehip products, Denmark uses a cultivar called Rosa canina 'Lito', which grows in the Scandinavian country, as well as in few other European countries.

However, the largest producer of rosehip pulp is Chile. This South American country exports nearly 4500 tons of dehydrated rosehip to Europe every year, followed by Bulgaria and Turkey.

Popular Beliefs

During the Middle Ages, the dog  rose  was  a  symbol  of  good  luck  and strength, and rosehip incense was believed  to be an effective evil deterrent. Garlands of dog rose blossoms were used to decorate houses  during spring festivals.

Other Uses

  • Gardening. The dog rose bush is also a popular ornamental plant, as it is one a popular flower in homes and public or private gardens.

  • Cosmetics. Rosehip oil is a popular ingredient in many skin care products, such as creams and lotions.


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  • Botanicals: A Phytocosmetic Desk Reference, p. 186
  • Galore International Journal of Health Sciences and Research, Herbal Medicine in Stamps: History of Rosa Canina through Philately, 2017
  • Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals, p. 520
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  • Mosby's Handbook of Herbs & Natural Supplements, p. 540
  • The Encyclopedia of Fruit and Nuts, p. 745
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  • University of Michigan, Rosa Canina Linnaeus
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Organic Body Care Recipes
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  • USDA Nutrient Database, Basic Report 35203: Rose hips, wild (Northern Plains Indians)
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  • Royal Horticultural Society, Rosa canina