Rosehip tea is an herbal tea made from the pseudo-fruits of the rose plant.
It has a delicate, floral flavor that’s slightly sweet with a distinct tart aftertaste.
Found just below the rose petals, rose hips are small, round, and typically red or orange.
There are several hundred species of rose plants, though research on rose hips has focused on the pseudo-fruits of the Rosa canina plant.
Rose hips have been linked to numerous benefits, including improved immunity, heart health, weight loss, and skin aging.
Here are 8 health benefits of drinking rosehip tea.
1. Rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that protect or reduce cell damage caused by molecules called free radicals.
Consuming foods and beverages rich in antioxidants may protect against chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
In a study on the antioxidant contents of six fruit extracts, rosehip was found to have the highest antioxidant capacity.
More specifically, it has been found to contain high levels of polyphenols, carotenoids, and vitamins C and E, all of which have powerful antioxidant properties.
The amounts of these antioxidants in rose hips can vary greatly, depending on the plant species, time of harvest, and altitude at which the plant was grown.
Interestingly, plants from higher altitudes tend to have higher antioxidant levels.
Additionally, research shows that dried rose hips may offer fewer antioxidants than fresh varieties.
As rosehip tea can be made with either, you may get more antioxidants by using fresh rose hips instead of dried ones or tea bags.
Rose hips are rich in antioxidants that can help protect against cell damage from free radicals. While the exact amount varies by plant, fresh rose hips have been shown to contain more antioxidants than dried ones.
2. May support a healthy immune system
One of the most impressive benefits of rose hips is their high concentration of vitamin C.
While the exact amount varies by plant, rose hips have been shown to have among the highest vitamin C content of all fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin C plays many essential roles in your immune system, including:
- stimulating the production of white blood cells called lymphocytes, which protect your body against infection
- enhancing the function of lymphocytes
- helping maintain your skin’s protective barrier against outside pathogens
In addition to vitamin C, rose hips contain high levels of polyphenols and vitamins A and E, all of which help strengthen and protect your immune system.
Though some animal research suggests that supplementing with concentrated rosehip extract can enhance immune function, human research is lacking.
Compared with other fruits and vegetables, rose hips offer one of the highest levels of vitamin C. This vitamin, along with other compounds in rosehip tea, helps strengthen and protect your immune system.
3. May protect against heart disease
Due to its high concentration of antioxidants, rosehip tea may benefit heart health.
Studies suggest a relationship between vitamin C intake and heart disease risk.
One review of 13 studies found that supplementing with at least 500 mg of vitamin C per day was associated with a significant decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood triglycerides, two risk factors for heart disease.
Additionally, observational studies have linked insufficient vitamin C intake to an increased risk of dying from heart disease.
Rose hips are also high in flavonoids. These antioxidants have been shown to reduce blood pressure in people with elevated levels and improve blood flow to the heart.
A 6-week study in 31 adults with obesity found that those who consumed a drink containing 40 grams of rosehip powder per day had significantly improved blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, compared with the control group.
However, the researchers suggested that these beneficial effects may have been partially due to the high fiber content of the powder, which is not present in rosehip tea.
While rose hips contain antioxidants that have been shown to protect against heart disease, more research is needed on the effectiveness of rosehip tea specifically.
4. May aid weight loss
Research suggests that rosehip tea may aid weight loss.
Studies show that rose hips from the Rosa canina plant are high in an antioxidant called tiliroside, which may have fat-burning properties.
In an 8-week study in mice prone to obesity, those fed a high-fat diet containing 1% rosehip extract gained significantly less body weight and stomach fat than animals that did not receive the supplement.
Human research shows similar results. In a 12-week study in 32 adults with excess weight, taking 100 mg of rosehip extract daily significantly decreased body weight and stomach fat, compared with the placebo group.
However, current research is limited to the effects of concentrated rosehip extract — not tea. More human studies are needed to evaluate the relationship between rosehip tea and weight loss.
Some studies in mice and humans indicate an association between rosehip extract and reduced body weight and stomach fat. Still, more research on rosehip tea specifically is needed.
5. May protect against type 2 diabetes
While the exact mechanism is unclear, some research suggests that rose hips may protect against type 2 diabetes.
In a study in mice on a high-fat diet, supplementing with rosehip powder over 10–20 weeks significantly decreased blood sugar levels, fasting insulin levels, and fat cell growth in the liver — three risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
In another study, rosehip extract significantly lowered fasting blood sugar levels in rats with diabetes.
However, in a study in adults with obesity, supplementing with rosehip powder daily had no significant effects on fasting glucose levels or insulin sensitivity. These results applied to people with healthy and impaired blood sugar levels alike.
As with weight loss, current research is limited to rosehip extract, and more studies on the relationship between rosehip tea and type 2 diabetes risk are needed.
While rodent studies indicate that rosehip extract has antidiabetic effects, this relationship has not yet been confirmed in humans. Additionally, more studies are needed using rosehip tea specifically.
6. May reduce inflammation and pain
Rosehip tea is high in compounds with anti-inflammatory effects, including polyphenols and galactolipids.
Galactolipids are the main types of fat in cell membranes. Recently, they have been studied for their strong anti-inflammatory properties and potential to reduce joint pain.
In a review of three studies, supplementing with rosehip significantly reduced joint pain in people with osteoarthritis. Furthermore, those receiving rosehip were twice as likely to report improved pain levels, compared with the placebo group.
Another 4-month study in 100 people with osteoarthritis found that those who supplemented with 5 grams of rosehip extract daily experienced significantly less pain and increased hip joint mobility, compared with the control group.
In fact, 65% of the participants in the rosehip group reported some reduction in pain.
Rosehip extract has also been suggested to aid rheumatoid arthritis, though research is limited, and high-quality human studies are lacking
Keep in mind that research on rose hips’ anti-inflammatory benefits has focused on concentrated extract rather than tea.
Rosehip tea is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, including galactolipids. Research has shown a link between rosehip extract and reduced arthritis pain. Still, more studies using rosehip tea are needed to confirm these results.
7. May fight skin aging
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body and responsible for providing elasticity to your skin.
Vitamin C has been shown to promote collagen synthesis and protect skin cells against sun damage, both of which can help keep your skin looking tighter and more youthful. As rosehip tea is high in this vitamin, drinking it could benefit your skin.
Additionally, rosehip tea contains the carotenoid astaxanthin, which may have anti-aging effects, as it helps prevent the breakdown of collagen.
Other carotenoids in rosehip tea may benefit skin health as well. In particular, vitamin A and lycopene are known to protect skin cells against sun damage.
An 8-week study in 34 people showed that those who consumed 3 grams of rosehip powder per day experienced fewer crow’s feet wrinkles, as well as improved skin moisture and elasticity.
However, it’s unclear whether drinking rosehip tea would have the same effect on skin health.
Rosehip tea is rich in compounds shown to protect your skin against aging, including vitamin C and carotenoids. While rosehip powder was found to reduce wrinkles, more research is needed to confirm if drinking rosehip tea would offer these same benefits.
8. Easy to brew at home
Rosehip tea has a tart flavor similar to that of green apple and can be made from the pseudo-fruits of any rose plant.
Still, it’s recommended to avoid using rose hips from a plant that’s been sprayed with a pesticide that isn’t labeled safe for human consumption.
Rose hips look like miniature red or orange apples and are found just below the flower petals of roses.
Fresh rose hips can be used for tea by first rinsing them well to remove any dirt and debris.
Next, place 4–8 rose hips in a cup (240 ml) of boiled water. Let the tea steep for 10–15 minutes and then remove the fruits.
Dried rose hips can be used as well. You can either dry fresh rose hips yourself or buy pre-dried, loose-leaf rosehip tea.
To brew, place 1–2 teaspoons of dried rose hips in an infuser and submerge it in a cup (240 ml) of boiled water. Steep for 10–15 minutes and then remove the infuser.
If you find the tea too tart, try adding a sweetener like honey to help balance out the flavor.
Rosehip tea tastes delicious both freshly brewed and iced.
Rosehip tea can be brewed at home using fresh or dried rose hips. A sweetener like honey is often added to balance out the tartness.
Rosehip tea has not been shown to cause serious side effects in most healthy adults. However, certain individuals should avoid rosehip tea.
For example, the safety and efficacy of rosehip tea have not been studied in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. It’s best to speak with your healthcare provider before trying this tea if you’re pregnant or nursing.
Additionally, due to its high levels of vitamin C, rosehip tea may increase the risk of kidney stones in some individuals.
Finally, if you’re currently taking lithium — a drug used to treat psychiatric disorders — it’s recommended to avoid rosehip tea, as its diuretic effect could increase the concentration of lithium in your body, causing serious side effects.
While rosehip tea is generally safe for adults, evidence on its safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding is lacking. Additionally, it may increase the risk of kidney stones and lithium toxicity in some individuals.
The bottom line
Rosehip tea is an herbal tea made from the pseudo-fruits of rose plants. It has a slight floral taste with a distinct tartness.
In addition to being easy to make at home, it has many potential benefits.
Due to its high levels of antioxidants, rosehip tea may boost your immune system, aid weight loss, reduce joint pain, support healthy-looking skin, and protect against heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
However, evidence on many of these benefits is limited to studies on rosehip extract, and it is unclear how much rosehip tea you would need to drink to experience these effects.
Nevertheless, this delicious drink can add a zest of flavor to your diet — no matter if you buy it dried or make it fresh.
Title: 8 Surprising Health Benefits of Rosehip Tea