Dr. Sartorio Vanna, Nutritionist Biologist and Healthcare Consultant, illustrates the properties and benefits of Rosehip.
Dog rose (Rosa canina L.) also known as scrub rose or wild rose, is a thorny shrub, belonging to the Rosaceae family, which grows spontaneously throughout Italy and Europe. Its flowering period is from May to July, while the ripening of its berries occurs in the months of October and November.
Dog rose is the most common rose species in temperate areas of the world. Fossilized remains dating back more than 40 million years are found in Oregon and Colorado.
Legend has it that the god Bacchus, unrequited in love with a nymph, trying to reach her while she ran away, made her trip over a bush and she fell. So, he decided to thank the bush by transforming it into Rosa: thus, delicate pink flowers appeared like the Nymph's cheeks.
According to Pliny the Elder, the roots of rose hips could cure rabies transmitted by dog bites. This belief was born from the symbolic-analogical reading of the thorns, which resemble the teeth of this animal. Precisely for this reason in the eighteenth century Charles Linnaeus, the Swedish naturalist founder of modern botany and zoology, gave this rose the adjective "canine". In fact, current scientific knowledge has ruled out that rosehip has any curative effect on rabies transmitted by dogs and other animals.
The ancient Romans, the Assyrians and the Persians knew and used dog rose. Hippocrates (460 BC-377 BC) considered dog rose as the suitable remedy against tuberculosis, a disease already found in the Neolithic and in Egyptian mummies. Avicenna (980 AD-1037 AD), an Arab doctor and philosopher, also used it for the same purpose and so it was for doctors throughout the Middle Ages.
During the Roman era, the use of dog rose had a more ornamental than therapeutic purpose: after the bath, Roman women rubbed themselves with rose powder, made up their eyelids with the essential oil obtained from the flower and to have a breath always pleasant they sucked on candies prepared with rose petals, honey and myrrh.
During the Second World War, in England, rose hips were used to prepare a syrup to be given to children as a vitamin C supplement , for the prevention of scurvy. At the end of the war the annual harvest was around 450 tons and the harvest continued until the early 1950s.
COMPOSITION, PROPERTIES AND BENEFITS
-BERRIES : they are very rich in vitamin C , 2,200 mg per 100g, a much higher quantity than that contained in the orange . They are also characterized by the presence of beta- carotene and lycopene, a substance with high antioxidant power; there are also some B vitamins , in particular B1 and B2, vitamin E and vitamin K. They also contain folic acid, flavonoids, tannins and fatty acids (including oleic, palmitic, stearic and linoleic acids). The content of mineral salts is also remarkable, in particular iron, zinc, copper, calcium, manganese, boron, sodium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium . Finally, they are rich in water (75%), fiber (24%, with 5.1% pectin, an emollient and regulating soluble fiber of the intestine) and proteins (7.2%).
Rosehip berries are immunostimulating, purifying , diuretic, toning the blood vessels, in particular the capillaries, cholesterol-lowering (they reduce bad LDL cholesterol ), anti-aging. They are used in vitamin C deficiencies and have anti-inflammatory properties, especially in case of problems in the respiratory system , such as coughs and colds, but also pharyngitis and tonsillitis. They also help in the presence of asthma and against allergic forms, both preventively and therapeutically. In addition, they have a tonic and stimulating effect, useful for dealing with particularly tiring periods, counteracting physical fatigue and mental fatigue.
The anti-inflammatory action of the rosehip berries is also manifested in the intestine, useful both in case of diarrhea (thanks to the astringent tannins) and constipation (due to the soluble fibers that they contain also useful for supporting the intestinal bacterial flora ).
The synergy between vitamin C and the flavonoids of rosehip berries favors the absorption of iron, as well as contributing to the production of hemoglobin. Rosehip therefore has a remarkable antioxidant power, which acts in particular on the circulatory system, protecting it and improving circulation, and on tissues, fighting free radicals and preventing cellular aging. The vitamin C contained in the berries also stimulates the production of collagen, which helps to maintain the elasticity and tone of the skin, protects bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints.
- FLOWERS: Rosehip flowers are an excellent source of antioxidants, in particular of polyphenols and anti-aging carotenoids. There are also vitamins B3, C, D and E, volatile oils, tannic acid, malic acid, pectin, iron and zinc. Rosehip flowers are anti-stress, useful against headaches, mild depression, poor sleep quality and anxiety. They are used in the form of cold macerate also for detox and diuretic treatments, against cycle disorders and those of pre-menopause and menopause.