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Known interactions

No interactions found.

How to use Wild Boar Fruit

Scientific Name: Rose Hips

Other Names: Hip berry, Rosa species, Rose Haws, Rose Heps, Wild Boar Fruit

Who is this for?

Because fresh rose hips contain significant amounts of vitamin C, which is also known as ascorbic acid, they have been promoted for the prevention and treatment of the common cold. While no scientific evidence supports the theory that large doses of vitamin C can increase the body's resistance to colds or any other conditions, their high content of vitamin C and other nutrients such as folate makes rose hips a common ingredient in multiple vitamin products. The amount of nutrients in rose hips depends on the species of rose and on the growing conditions. In addition, their vitamin C content decreases with drying, processing, and storage; therefore, commercially available "natural" vitamins containing rose hips frequently also include vitamin C from synthetic sources.

Some recent evidence from animal studies suggests that an extract of rose hips may have a protective effect on stomach tissue. Extracts are concentrated liquid preparations usually made by soaking chopped or mashed plant parts in a liquid such as alcohol, and then straining out the solid parts. In one study involving laboratory rats, rose hip extract protected against all experimentally-induced stomach ulcers. More study is needed to prove or disprove this finding.

Rose hips have been used in the past to treat diarrhea. They contain a small percentage of tannins, which provide mild astringent properties. An astringent shrinks and tightens the top layers of skin or mucous membranes, thereby reducing secretions, relieving irritation, and improving tissue firmness — all actions that may help relieve diarrhea. Rose hips may also have mild diuretic effects, meaning that they may promote the loss of water from the body. This possible diuretic action is thought to result from pectin and small amounts of natural fruit acids contained in rose hips. Studies of laboratory animals, though, show that the diuretic action of rose hips is both minor and unpredictable. Prescription and non-prescription drugs are more effective and reliable as both antidiarrheals and diuretics.

When should I be careful taking it?

Because vitamin C is water-soluble, excess doses of it are lost in the urine. No toxic build-up occurs in the body. Besides, a prohibitively large amount of rose hips must be eaten to provide large amounts of vitamin C. Therefore, taking rose hips is not thought to present risks for most individuals.

What side effects should I watch for?

Taking rose hips does not appear to result in severe side effects, because the amounts of vitamin C in most rose hip products are small. Very large doses of vitamin C (more than 2,000 mg per day) taken for prolonged periods of time, however, have been associated with the development of bladder stones or kidney stones. Studies of this effect are inconclusive, but individuals who have or who have had urinary tract stones may want to avoid using large amounts of rose hips.

In very rare cases, vitamin C has caused sickle cell crisis; therefore, individuals with sickle cell disease should not take rose hips.

Workers who handle rose hips during harvesting and processing may develop asthma from breathing their dust. Fibers from the processed rose hips are known to irritate the respiratory tract as well as the skin, potentially causing respiratory or contact allergies.

Less Severe Side Effects

Taking rose hips by mouth has not been linked with side effects, although very large doses of vitamin C have occasionally resulted in side effects such as:

  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea

Skin contact with powdered rose hips may cause itching.

What interactions should I watch for?

Prescription Drugs

Large doses of vitamin C may increase the effectiveness of the anticoagulant drug warfarin. As a result, blood may not clot properly and uncontrolled bleeding may occur. Although rose hips are not thought to contain enough vitamin C to present a problem, it is advisable to avoid taking rose hips while taking warfarin.

Non-prescription Drugs

If vitamin C is taken at the same time as iron tablets, the amount of iron absorbed by the body may increase. No serious results are thought to occur, but certain blood diseases such as hemochromatosis or thalassemia may be worsened by elevated iron levels in the blood. Individuals who have these blood diseases should avoid taking rose hips.

Vitamin C may also increase the amount of aluminum absorbed from antacids that contain aluminum. Consequences of increased aluminum levels are not known.

Some interactions between herbal products and medications can be more severe than others. The best way for you to avoid harmful interactions is to tell your doctor and/or pharmacist what medications you are currently taking, including any over-the-counter products, vitamins, and herbals.

Should I take it?

Rose plants are believed to have originated in the Middle East, and the country of Turkey is now the leading producer of roses for commercial use. During the Middle Ages in Europe, rose petals and rose hips were used widely for many medical conditions as well as for ornamentation and scent. Native American people used both fresh and dried rose hips as food. Dried rose hips were sometimes used by them as beads for making jewelry and a poultice of rose hips was used to treat skin conditions. In the late 18th century, it was learned that rose hips could prevent scurvy, which results from a vitamin C deficiency. Barrels of dried rose hips were often taken on shipboard and given out to sailors as part of their rations. During World War II, rose hips were harvested from "Victory Gardens" to replace vitamin C from the citrus fruits that were unavailable in Britain and other cool climate areas. Preserves and jellies were made from them and they were stewed as a fruit or substituted for raisins in baking. Although eating rose hips generally has lost favor in most developed countries, rose hip tea has a pleasant fragrance and slightly acidic taste, making it popular as a beverage or food flavoring in many parts of the world.

Rose hips contain the seeds of the rose plant. Appearing after the blooms fall, the grape-sized fruits turn bright red when ripe. Generally, they are collected and dried after the first hard frost in the early winter. Different species of roses have different amounts of nutrients — the dog rose (Rosa canina) may be the best source of vitamin C. For all species, however, much of the vitamin C content is lost during the drying process, so some authorities recommend freezing freshly harvested rose hips. Rose seeds may be removed from rose hips and pressed for oil.

Dosage and Administration

The dose of rose hips varies depends on the condition being treated and the dosage form of the rose hips. Several commercially-available forms include syrups, tea bags, and tablets. If you choose to use one of these products, follow the directions on the package you purchase.

To make a rose hip tea, a typical recommendation is to boil about 2 tablespoons of dried rose hips or about one tablespoon of ripe fresh rose hips in a covered pot containing up to 2 cups of water. The rose hips should be boiled until they are soft — usually 10 to 15 minutes — and then strained out of the liquid before the tea is ingested. Because the tea has a tart taste, it is often sweetened or flavored with other sweet herbs such as cinnamon. Generally, no limits are placed on the amounts of tea that may be consumed per day.

Summary

Rose hips are primarily used as a source of vitamin C, but their vitamin C content decreases greatly after they are dried. They may also have mild antidiarrheal and diuretic properties.

Risks

Due to their vitamin C content, rose hips should be avoided by individuals with sickle cell disease and individuals with bladder or kidney stones.

Side Effects

Although rose hips have a high vitamin C content, taking enough rose hips to produce side effects would be difficult. Generally, side effects from even very large doses of vitamin C are mild. They may include headache and heartburn.

Interactions

Rose hips may possibly interfere with warfarin. Taking them with vitamins, antacids, or other products that contain iron or aluminum may also result in increased blood levels of iron or aluminum.

References

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(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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