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Rose hip is a term used to refer to the extracts of rose plant fruit (of the Rosagenus), but it almost always refers specifically to Rosa canina, commonly known as the dog rose.
The fruits, and occasionally seeds, of dog rose are either ground up into a powder or made into tea, then supplemented to treat rheumatic diseases like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It improves joint health by reducing pain and stiffness.
Preliminary evidence also suggests rose hip may provide benefits to people with diabetes, as well as high blood pressure and cholesterol. It’s hypothesized that rose hip may have an anti-obesity effect, but this claim needs to be confirmed through research.
Rose hip alleviates joint pain through its immunosuppressive effects. The immune system can contribute to rheumatic diseases. An inflammatory cytokine called Interleukin 1-Beta (IL-1β) causes cartilage cells to produce proteins that digest and break down join tissue. In moderation, this process encourages cell turnover, but in excess, this process contributes to long-term joint tissue degradation, which is what causes joint problems. While rose hip doesn’t reduce IL-1β levels in the blood, it interferes with its ability to activate catabolic proteins.
Rose hip is also able to reduce chemotaxis, which is the transportation of immune cells into tissue. This serves as both an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive mechanism.