Dog Rose | Rosa Canina

Rosa canina belongs to the Rosaceae family. Many of the Rosaceae are thorny, and most are characterized by the presence of stipules on the leaf. The flowers having five sets of parts. The fleshy fruit is called a rose hip is not a true fruit. The rose hip is derived from large part from a cup-shaped enlargement of the flower stalk (calx), within its cavity are numerous carpels or true fruits.

Rosa canina ranges in height from 1-5 m and its stems are covered with small sharp spines. The flowers are pale pink, 4-6 cm diameter with five petals, and matures into an oval 1.5-2 cm red-orange fruit, the rose hip. The fruit is valued for its high vitamin C level.

Rosehips have been used by many cultures for centuries. Recommendations for its use exist in Tibetan medicine, and mentioned in the works of Avicenna, and even in manuscripts of biblical times.

Botany and Ecology

Latin names: Rosa canina

Other Rosa species: Rosa lutetiana; Rosa alba; Rosa centifolia; Rosa damascena; Rosa gallica, Rosa provincialis , Rosa rugosa; Rosa villosa, Rosa pomifera.

Common Names: Apothecary Rose, Cynosbatos, Dog Rose, Dog Rose Hips, Églantier, Gulab, Heps, Hip, Hip Fruit, Hip Sweet, Hipberry, Hop Fruit, Persian Rose, Phool Gulab, Pink Rose, Rosa de Castillo, Rosa Mosqueta, Rosae Pseudofructus Cum Semen, Satapatri, Satapatrika, Shatpari, Wild Boar Fruit.

Plant Nomenclature:

Kingdom: Plantae

Division: Magnoliophyta

Class: Magnoliopsida

Order: Rosales

Family: Rosaceae


The leaves of Rosa canina are alternate. A rose's flower has two types of modified leaves, the sepals and the petals. Sepals are the protective green wrapper leaves that surround the flower bud as it develops. When the flower opens, the sepals turn backward, exposing the petals. As the petals unfurl, you can see that they are connected to the base of the flower where the sepals are also connected. The petals are the fragrant parts of the rose flower, and they carry the color.

Both fragrance and color are attractants to pollinating insects. It is noted for attracting wildlife.
The flowers are hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies), Apomictic (reproduce by seeds formed without sexual fusion). The plant is self-fertile. They open in June and July and mature into an oval 1.5-2 cm red-orange fruit, or hip in autumn.

Habitats, ecosystems, geographic range: Rosa canina is a scrambling shrub-like species native to Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia. It has been introduced to North America during early colonization.. During World War II in the United States Rosa canina was planted in victory gardens, and can still be found growing in wet, sandy areas up and down the eastern U.S. coastline. Rosa canina is frequently around the edges of woods, hedges, garden fences. Rosa canina may also be found growing naturally in open areas, such as meadows, pastures and wasteland. In Colorado, this author has frequently see Rosa canina at both 5,000 and 10,000 feet.

Time of growth, flowering and fruiting (phenology)

Rosa canina seeds often takes two years to germinate. This is because it may need a warm spell f weather after a cold spell in order to mature the embryo and reduce the seed coat. The flowers of the Rosa canina are in bloom from June to July. Rosa canina hips usually grow approximately 30 mm in diameter, but have a flimsy layer of flesh that encloses numerous seeds. The fruits or hips of Rosa. canina are usually vivid red and harvested during fall.

Ecological Status

Rose Canina is considered an invasive in some areas like the high country of New Zeland. It is recognised as displacing native vegetation but not considered to be a conservation threat.

Medicinal information


Hips, leaves and flowers are used. The fruits or hips of the Rose Canina are collected during fall. The numerous carpels or true fruits must be carefully removed before it is used for pharmaceutical purposes. The flowers are collected when in full bloom.


Pharmaceutical companies have used Rose Canina and it was in the official British Pharmacopoeia for refrigerant and astringent properties. Now only used in allopathic medicine to prepare a confection of hips used in conjunction with other drugs. The pulp being separated from the skin and hairy seeds and beaten up with sugar.

Herbalists place Rose Canina in high regard. The petals, hips and galls are astringent, carminative, diuretic, laxative, smoothing eyes and as a tonic. Rose Canina is considered strengthening to the stomach and useful in diarrhea and dysentery, allaying thirst, and for its expectorant qualities good for coughs and spitting of blood. Culpepper states that the hips are "grateful to the taste and a considerable restorative, fitly given to consumptive persons, the conserve being proper in all distempers of the breast and in coughs and tickling rheum" and that it has "a binding effect and helps digestion." He also states that "the pulp of the hips dried and powdered is used in drink to break the stone and to ease and help the colic." The leaves of the Rose Canina when dried and infused in boiling water have often been used as a substitute for tea and have a grateful smell and sub-astringent taste.

The hips of the Rose Canina are widely utilized in preparing the rose hip syrup, especially for consumption by young children. The rose hip syrup is not only healthy, but also a nourishing beverage. Since the fruits of Rosa canina contains tannins, they are also used to prepare a medication to treat diarrhea. The Rose Canina hips also possess diuretic properties and therefore recommended to treat water retention. Rose Canina is especially helpful in increasing the urine outflow. This action of the Rose Canina hips also helps the body to eliminate the wastes and toxins. Additionally, Rose Canina hips are also effective in satisfy thirst and assist in alleviating stomach inflammations.

The petals, fruits as well as the galls (abnormal growths on plants caused by insects etc.) of Rose Canina possess therapeutic properties and are used to treat a number of medical conditions. These petals, fruits and galls of Rose Canina are carminative (help in alleviating flatulence), astringent, and laxative, diuretic, ophthalmic as well as stimulants. The hips are extensively taken internally to treat conditions, such as influenza, colds, scurvy, gastritis, trivial contagious ailments and diarrhea. Rose Canina also help in gout and rheumatic complaints. Decoction of rose hips are also effective for increasing hemoglobin. The Rose Canina plants are used to prepare a type of distilled water that is somewhat astringent and commonly used as a lotion for sensitive skin. The seeds of Rosa canina are known to be vermifuge helping in getting rid of worms in the intestines. Rose Canina is also used as a Bach flower remedy, a homeopathic preparation balancing the emotional states of 'Apathy' and 'Resignation'. The hips Rose Canina contain high levels of vitamins and minerals. Canina is particularly rich in vitamins A, C , E , flavanoids. In addition, the hips of the Rose Canina are also a significant natural resource for fatty acids, something that is very uncommon in fruits. Rose Canina hips are said to aid in the development of collagen and reduce stress. There seems to be some medical studies that indicate that rose hips may be also beneficial in the prevention of certain types of cancer, for treating rheumatoid arthritis, and preventing the development of kidney stones.

The fruits or hips of the Rose Canina may be consumed raw or cooked. They are widely used to prepare jams, syrups and other such substances. Some people also use the Rose Canina hips to prepare an herbal tea. It is interesting to note that frost make the fruits softer as well as sweeter. People consuming the Rose Canina hips raw should do it cautiously by eliminating the hair-like layer beneath the seeds. Rose Canina has been used as a food. People dry and pulverize them before mixing them with flour. The grounded seeds are also added with other foods and used as dietary supplements. The leaves of Rosa canina leaves are dried and used as an herbal tea, substituting for genuine tea leaves. Another suggested use is as a substitute for coffee. The pink or whitish petals of Rosa canina are also edible and may be consumed raw or cooked. While the petals have a pleasant flavor. The base of the petals may taste bitter and need to be removed before eating the petals. In China, people consume Rose Canina petals considering it as a vegetable. An amateur botanist has told me that he had made an extraordinary jam from Rose Canina. The roots of the Rose Canina which has the common name of the dog rose are used in treating a bite from a mad dog. It has even been reported that Rosa canina, dried and then smoked with tobacco produced mild hallucinogenic effects and abnormal dreams.

Russian Folk Remedies and Pharmaceuticals

  1. Classic Drink:
    5 tbsp crushed dried berries, add water, and simmer for 10 minutes. Drink after 2-3 hours, so that all the healing properties passed into the water. Take as much as regular tea or juice, adding any juices or honey to taste.
  2. For the low blood pressure, tincture of rose hips should be taken. Take half a liter of vodka and one hundred grams of dried rose hips (you can use fresh rose). Fruits are carefully chopped, pour vodka and soak in a dark place for 10 days. Drink tincture up to three times daily before meals (twenty drops).
  3. Inflammation of the middle ear, accompanied by the release of pus, Mix strong tea of rosehip flowers with the same amount of carrot juice. Use as eardrops.
  4. Inflammation of the prostate gland - make tea from rose hips fruit, seeded. To 250 milliliters of boiling water add one tablespoon of peeled fruit. Steep for 30 min.
  5. Rose Hip Oil:
    1. Rose Hip Oil is produced from the seeds, which are contained in the fruit of the plant. They have a lot of vitamin C, A and E, and therefore means it is highly effective. It is stored no longer than three months since volatile substances evaporate quickly.
    2. Oil is used for tissue regeneration, to smooth scars or to improve color. And it is effective even for old and deep scars. Good for psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, eczema, dermatitis. For best results, mix it with lavender oil. Also used in the treatment of stomatitis, gingivitis, ulcers, cracked nipples and burns.
    3. Rose Hip Oil - an excellent moisturizer, so it is successfully used for dry and mature skin. It can also protect skin from harmful sun rays.
  6. Juice hips:
    Rosehip juice has all the beneficial properties of fruits. You can cook it this way: fresh rose hips wash in cold water, then dry them and remove the seeds. Blanch fruits 2 minutes in boiling water, so gone soft, then grind with the pestle or rub through a sieve. In decoction of fruit add sugar (for 1 liter of water 200g of sugar). The resulting syrup is mixed with mashed fruit, bring to a boil and pour into hot jars, immediately roll them.

Physicians in Russian hospitals and clinics prescribe Holosas an extract of Rose Canina hip. The indications are: restoring normal liver function, increase bile production, stimulate immune system and as an anti-inflammatory.

Ayurvedic Information

Taste : sour, astringent

Energy : cooling

Post digestive effect : sour

Dosha : V-PK+

Actions : stimulant, carminative, astringent.

Srotamsi : Pranavaha srotas, annavahasrotas,ambuvahasrotas,rasavahasrotas, asthivahasrotas, majjavahasrotas, mutravahasrotas.

Uses in Ayurveda

1. Rose essence is one of the safest substances for healing. It has been primarily used for Anti-stress therapy. If someone is depressed, having anxiety or feeling mentally exhausted, the smelling Rose Canina essence helps immediately. The mind get freshness. Nervous system gets relief and a calm, soothing stage of mind is attained.

2. It is helpful in women's Gynecological disorders, including menopausal symptoms. If used before menstrual cycle, it reduces P.M.S. problems.

3. It reduces excessive heat of the body.

4. It has cleaning effect on liver, kidneys and spleen.

5. It increase smoothness, reduce wrinkles on the face and helps the skin of the body glowing and charming.

6. It is good for respiratory disorders.

7. It has been used to mask the taste of many obnoxious food dishes as well as to make them tastier to eat due to its rich and smooth flavor.

8. It is useful in reducing extra fat from the body and make body slim.

9. From the time of Queen Cleopatra most of the Persian, European and Indian Queens loved Rose for its wonderful healing qualities due to its soothing and cooling effects.

10. After a whole day's hard work, in the early evening, Ayurvedic Doctors recommends Rose drink for refreshing and a romantic evening. This drink is called "Gulab Lassi".

Known Hazards

There is a layer of hairs around the seeds just beneath the flesh of the fruit. These hairs can cause irritation to the mouth and digestive tract if ingested.


  1. Rose Canina is very rich in vitamin C, acorbic acid. Therefore people with high acidity, with gastritis and especially peptic ulcer disease should be very careful.
  2. Due to this acidity, every time after eating rose hips, rinse mouth with clean water to protect enamel of teeth.
  3. Absolutely contraindicated in any preparations from the hips to people who are prone to thrombosis and thrombophlebitis.
  4. When inflammation of the inner lining of the heart (endocarditis), as well as some other heart diseases should not take preparations or drugs with Rose Canina in large quantities.
  5. It is not recommended for people with poor blood circulation.
  6. Persons with high blood pressure should not take alcoholic tinctures Rose Canina hips. Such drugs are just recommended for low blood pressure. And to lower blood pressure should be taken only water extracts of rose hips. Water infusion is not recommended for low blood pressure.
  7. Long term use of Rose Canina could adversely affect the functioning of the liver. It can lead even to noninfectious jaundice.
  8. Preparations from the roots of Rose Canina inhibit the secretion of bile.
  9. Decoction of the roots of this plant is not recommended for people suffering from constipation, the condition may worsen.


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Stephenson,J & Morss,J, ( 1931 ), Medical botany, or, Illustrations and descriptions of the medicinal plants of the London, Edinburgh, and Dublin pharmacopœias: Vol 3, pg.100

Hedgerow and verge consultant and contractor. Based in the U.K., (n.d.), Dog Rose (Rosa canina) Linn, 10.22.2010,

Author unknown,(n.d.), Rose,10.22.2010,

Stanley, N, (n.d.), Dog Rose, 10.22.2010,

Author unknown, (n.d.), 11.25.2010 Rose hip - contraindications,

Rossnagel, K, Roll, K & Willich,S, (2004), The clinical effectiveness of rosehip powder in patients with osteoarthritis. A systematic review, Phytomedicine. 2004, 27-28

Green,A (2011), personal communication, Rose petal Jam.

Monastyrsckaya,N , personal communication, Rose hip in Russian Folks Remedies.

By: Nellie Shapiro