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Rosa canina, eglantier : photo E. Hurtel /



Rosaceae are especially numerous in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere.

These are plants with varied port (herbaceous to the trees) which have given by selection or hybridization many edible fruit plants: genus Prunus (plum, peach, apricot, almond, cherry), genus Malus (apple), genus Pirus ( pear), genus Fragaria (strawberry), genus Rubus (raspberry, blackberry) ...

The genus Rosa includes many species and varieties, often climbing with shrubby stem most often thorny.

The well-known and growing ornamental rosebushes around the world are hybrids of wild roses (with less developed flowers)

Rosa canina, eglantier : photo E. Hurtel /

Rosa canina, Dog Rose is a wild rose that is commonly found in Western Europe, plant with a bushy appearance (1 to 5 m) at the edge of the woods, in hedgerows and fallows.

The stems, erect, are covered with sharp spines, the foliage (compound, imparipinnate, dentate, pointed) , the flowers, usually solitary but sometimes grouped, have 5 petals very spread pale pink to white and fall rather quickly .

The receptacle of the "fruit" shaped urn is strongly colored (orange to bright red), it contains very hard seeds (achenes) surrounded by many hairs (1 to 3 mm).
This fruit, rosehip or cynorhodon(from the Greek dog rose: it was to be attributed to the rose hips antirabic power in antiquity) persists throughout the winter on the dog roses.

A vegetal neoformation with the hairy, red-brown aspect, the BEDEGUAR is often seen on dog roses.
It is a gall, reaction of the rose to a foreign body, in this case the laying of a hymenopteran insect (Cynips).
This gall is a defensive reaction of the plant against the parasite, it look like a jumble of plant filaments of 2 to 5 cm and sometimes more.



The "fruit" or ROSE HIP is the medicinal part and to a lesser extent the gall (bédégar), the seeds and the petals.

In the FRUIT , ROSE HIP, we find:

- pectin (which makes it a jam),
- sugars (including sorbitol),
- polyphenols (tannins): proanthocyanidols as well as flavonoids,
- vitamins: vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 0.5 to 1.7% (which is a lot), vitamins of group B,
- other organic acids: citric, malic.

The BEDEGUAR contains a lot of tannin.

The SEEDS (little studied) contain a food oil with the interesting composition: palmitic acid (1.7 to 3.1%), stearic acid (1.7 to 2.4%), oleic acid (14.7 to 18, 4%), linoleic acid (48.6 to 54.4%), linolenic acid (16.4 to 18.4%), arachidic acid (1.8 to 2.6%).


-The polyphenols of a rose hip extract (from which vitamin C has been removed) are antioxidant-free antiradicals.
They reduce the amount of free radicals produced by stimulated polynuclear activity at a concentration of between 1.3 mg and 5.7 mg / liter.

- A galactolipid extracted from the rose hips also shows an anti-inflammatory effect: it inhibits the activity (including migration) of neutrophils of the peripheral blood, without toxic effect on these same polynuclear.

- Two polyphenols (corilagin and tellimagrandine) reduce the resistance of Staphylococcus aureus to antibiotics of the beta-lactam family (penicillin) apparently by inactivating a protein that allows the coupling (capture) of this antibiotic.


Few studies on the effect of rose hip powder on osteoarthritis pain (5 g per day of powder for 3 months) show that there is a slight improvement (compared to placebo) in the general condition (sensation well-being), decreased joint pain and improved range of motion, in short a slight anti-inflammatory effect (evoked in vitro studies).



Rose hips have long been a valuable source of vitamin C for populations from temperate and cold climate regions (humans and animals) during the winter months.
It is traditionally harvested after the first frosts (but it is possible also before), the seeds and irritating hairs must be removed carefully .
This is obviously less valid now since we have fresh fruit almost all year round.née.

In Scandinavia, rosehips were incorporated in food (soup, porridge), in Switzerland and Germany it was used to make a "wine" or a "beer", in France jams, pastries.
North American Indians mixed the fruits of native roses with "pemmican" (traditional winter food made from dried powdered meat, fat, various flours and crushed almonds).

The fruits of wild roses do not come only from the only dog roses for example: Rosa blanda (in America), R. gigantea (India, Burma, China), R. pimpinellafolia (Eurasian burnet), R. eglanteria (Mediterranean Europe), R. rugosa (Asia), R. villosa (Eurasia).

The varieties of wild roses are numerous, the majority of these roses have been hybridized and are the origin of decorative roses.

Examples of use:

Rosehip tea:
30 to 60 g of shelled fruit in a liter of boiling water, let infuse until cool, well filter to remove hair (scratch, mouth, throat, anus); it is a drink rich in vitamin C, slightly astringent (beware to constipation), diuretic and pleasant.

Thoroughly clean fresh rose hips, remove seeds and hair, wash in cold water and filter, spray in blender; this compote, if it is fresh, contains a lot of vitamin C unlike the jam where vit C has almost disappeared by oxidation.

These preparations are considered TONIC, anti-asthenic and ANTI-INFECTIOUS : general fatigue, convalescence after infectious disease, aggressive drug treatment, influenza and other seasonal viral infections.

The content of tannin and flavonoids also makes it possible to prescribe Rosa canina in noninfectious mild diarrhea and as a vascular protector (capillary fragility, venous insufficiency), although this is not a traditional indication.

The extracts or totum of rosehip are also interesting to improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis as we have seen above: long-term treatment obviously.
Dosage for the treatment of osteoarthritis:

at least 5 g per day of total extract for several months.

BEDEGUAR (dog rose gall) can be used to prepare an astringent solution:
50 g of bédégar in 1 liter of boiling water in decoction for 10 minutes, the very colored liquid is interesting in case of diarrhea without fever (1/2 glass 2 to 3 times a day), to help heal wounds and chronic ulcers, antihemorrhagic and for oral hygiene (applications on canker sores for example)
It can also be used as a 1/5 dye for use as an antiseptic (pure or diluted)

The flower petals are slightly astringent useful for cleansing acne facial skin or in case of inflammation:
5 to 10 g of petals for 1/4 liter of boiling water (10 minutes of infusion)

Some herbal therapists recommend the bud or young branch of Rosa canina maceration glycerine 1 D:

- in allergic respiratory manifestations with or without infection (from chronic rhinitis to asthma): dosage, 50 to 100 drops per day for several weeks.
- as an add-on treatment for "food" migraine : dosage, 50 to 100 drops per day for several weeks.



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Dog rose fruit or rose hip is a possible source of vitamin C during the winter months; it also contains anti-inflammatory substances and medicinal tannins.
The dog rose bedeguar is another source of tannin.
Be careful to remove the small hairs that surrounds the seeds inside the fruit.