At Leapfrog we believe that the body is brilliant and will function optimally if we give it the micronutrients that it needs, together with sleep, exercise and minimal stress. We’ve long known plants have the power to help and heal, so Leapfrog has teamed up with medical herbalist Susan Janikowski to deep dive into plant properties and their benefits.
With autumn upon us, the hedgerows are now filled with masses of red rosehips in time for cold & flu season. Rose hips are the fruit of the wild rose and a wonderful example of a herb that is both a food and medicine, jam-packed with nutrients and phytochemicals. Highly valued as a rich source of Vitamin C, they are reputed to have up to 20 times more Vitamin C than oranges. They also contain Vitamin A (betacarotene) B1, B2, B3, E and K, minerals, fatty acids, and many other antioxidants including flavonoids, lycopene, polyphenols and carotenoids, providing many medicinal benefits.
As a food source rose hips are used in jams, syrups, pies, vinegars, jellies, stews, soups and wines. In Sweden rose hips are revered for their health-giving properties and made into Nyponsoppa (Rosehip soup), a well-loved winter dish. During the Second World War, when oranges were scarce, the Ministry of Food organised the collection of 500 tons rose hips to be made into a Vitamin C rich syrup.
As a medicinal herb, the most common preparations are as a tea, powder, capsules or syrup. The tea has a refreshing, tart taste and combines well with spices in the winter and mint in the summer months.
Wild rose species are used for rosehip medicine, in particular, Dog rose (Rosa canina) though other wild species including Rugosa rose (Rosa rugosa) and Sweetbriar (Rosa rubiginosa) are also a good source. In the UK they a best picked from September to November, when scarlet red and firm to touch. The seeds must be removed from the flesh of the rosehip as they contain irritating hairs.
1. Rosehips help strengthen immunity
Because of their Vitamin C content and other antioxidants, they help protect against infection. Safe for the whole family, they help to ward off colds and other upper respiratory tract infections. For a warming winter immune-boosting tea combine a teaspoon each of dried rose hips and elderberries with grated ginger, infuse in a cup of boiled water for 10 -15 minutes.
2. Rosehips are anti-ageing
With one of the richest sources of Vitamin C and bioflavonoids, along with other antioxidants, they protect against cell damage, support collagen synthesis, prevent wrinkles, improving the texture, elasticity and hydration of the skin.
3. Rosehips are anti-inflammatory
It’s due to their high vitamin C content and other phytochemicals, including galactolipids. These help collagen formation, needed by the body for healthy bones and cartilage. Recent research is showing the benefits of the daily intake of rosehip to help relieve arthritic joint pain and prevent cartilage damage. The daily dose used in the studies was 5g of rosehip powder.
4. Rosehips protect the cardiovascular system
Due to their high vitamin C content and bioflavonoids, as well as the many other antioxidants. These all strengthen and protect the integrity of the blood vessels. Studies are now showing their benefit in lowering cholesterol, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
5. Rosehips support digestive health
By their anti-inflammatory action, soothing the digestive mucosa. This makes them useful for healing the digestive tract after a stomach bug or antibiotic use. Their mild laxative effect can help in case of constipation.
6. Rosehip seed oil has superb skin healing properties
Extracted from seeds of the rosehip, the seed oil is a rich source of fatty acids, omega-3, and omega-6 and vitamin A (betacarotene). The oil is used topically for all skin types, to reduce scarring and pigmentation, soften wrinkles, reduce inflammation and increase hydration. To make an anti-ageing face oil combine with other enriching oils, such as sweet almond oil and avocado oil.