Rose hip—the fruit of the wild rose bush—just sounds so much more romantic than your everyday produce, evoking images of lush, overgrown gardens at a Downton Abbey-esque estate. But it’s also a straight-up superfood, packed with more vitamin C than oranges.
“In the UK, during the Second World War [when citrus was scarce], people made rose hip syrup from the fresh hips to supplement their vitamin C levels and help keep them healthy,” says Tipper Lewis, lead herbalist at the famed British natural health emporium, Neal’s Yards Remedies.
Rose hips are also a known inflammation-buster, so much so that they’ve been used to help treat rheumatoid arthritis (a chronic inflammatory disorder), explains acupuncturist Jill Blakeway, director of the YinOva Center in New York. “Research has shown [rose hip] to be helpful at reducing the pain, inflammation, and swelling associated with the joints,” echoes Lewis.
“It’s thought to be a substance called ‘GOPO’—a galactolipid—that has the main effect, so if you’re buying rose hips [for inflammation], make sure they contain this substance.” Meaning buy it in whole or pure dried forms.
The fruit itself can taste a bit sour, so Lewis recommends trying it in tea, which is “tart and sweet at the same time.” Infuse fresh or dried hips in hot water, just like you would any tea, Lewis recommends. Or for a refreshing summertime tonic, soak rose hips in cold water overnight, then sip, letting the anti-inflammatory benefits (and yes, the Downton romance) wash right through you.