Rosa Canina

Beyond its tremendous beauty wild rose can provide relief not only from the daily routine but also that of arthritis. Below one can familiarize with evidence and studies undertaken on the fruit ( its peel and seed) known as Rose-hip. This work is emphasized on a particular variety of wild rose under the name Rosa Canina.

Wild rose contains seven vitamins, it is particularly rich Vitamin C. According to tradition wild roses were used for, fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, as diuretic and sometimes as sedative. Its decoction was used both for oral and topical use (gargle, mouthwash, applied also in compresses over the eyes).

This work focuses on the seeds of wild roses (hence forth referred as rose hips) and its application on soothing pain and stiffness on patients with osteoarthritis.

It is truly impressive how nature caters for therapeutic solutions in medical conditions and daily matters.

The interest towards rose hips was triggered in 1980 by a Danish farmer under the name Erik Hansen. He was an osteoarthritis sufferer who was under medication. Unfortunately there was not much improvement with the conventional medical treatment he was on. One day, a friend of his offered a jam made of local rose hips. To his surprise, he noticed a remarkable difference on his osteoarthritis symptoms. Thus he gathered the seeds and powdered them, helping others in such an extent that their letters motivated many scientists who initiated a systematic study on rose hips.

Uses and research

BBC news mentioned (Rose-hip ‘remedy’ for arthritis) the ability of rose hips to provide relief to some 400.000 suffers of osteoarthritis in the UK.( 18 June 2007, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK ) “Rose-hips could offer a cheap and effective way of treating debilitating rheumatoid arthritis, research from Germany and Denmark has suggested.” This was reference to the supplement under the name Litozin.
In 2001, Rossnagel and Willich in Humbolt university clinic in Berlin, were probably the first ones to publish the worth of alternative remedies and especially that of rose-hips. Therein, lab experiments provided evidence that rose hip can inhibit oxidative stress. Moreover, patients with osteoarthritis have demonstrated reduction of inflammatory indexes and less symptoms. Data from a randomized controlled data show too significant improvement in pain and more flexibility.

In 2004 a study was undertaken with rose hip seed of Rosa Canina, in the Institute of clinical research of Kolding in Denmark. A double blind randomized study with powder seeds and placebo in 112 osteoarthritis sufferers three months in duration. In total, the following were assessed : joint pain, flexibility and well being ( as in mood, sleep and energy ). Results indicated that patients who were under the alternative treatment responded to a percentage of 66% against 36% those with placebo. There were no significant side effects in none of the groups, a fact that shows not only the efficacy but also the safety of the seeds of rose hips.

A year later, the department of biochemistry of the county hospital in Gentoffe ( Copenhagen ) performed a randomized double blind clinical trial with placebo and powdered seeds and skin of Rosa Canina. The aim was to examine the pain reduction in osteoarthritis sufferers (knee or hip). The study took six months to complete. Stiffness, dyskenisia and total severity of the disease was evaluated with WOMAC ( Western Ontario and McMaster universities) questionnaire. Briefly, there was better score in those who took the alternative remedy, improvement in symptoms as well as minimal use of the rescue drug.

Chrubasic et al collected data from various studies stressing out the efficacy of rose hip seeds of Rosa Canina in osteoarthritis.

Deliorman et al from Gazi University in Turkey, published in the journal of ethnopharmacology a study presenting the antiflammatory activity and antinociceptive activity of the crude extract and fractions from Rosa canina L. fruits. The authors believe that there must be some sort of synergy in various active ingredients whereof their results are attributed.

A metananalysis of randomized controlled trials was published in 2998 by Christensen et. al from the Dredersberg hospital in Denmark. The subject of this study was to explore, up to what extent, the powder of rose hips of Rosa Canina can reduce pain in patients with osteoarthritis. This work so far has demonstrated that indeed the powder can alleviate the pain in those sufferers. However, longer and bigger trials are still required to evaluate the efficacy and safety.

The longest in duration study ever undertaken was the one-year survey on the use of a powder from Rosa Canina lito in acute exacerbations of chronic pain. The study was hosted in the department of Forensic medicine in University of Freihburg in Germany by Chrubasic et. al. It is worth to cite the original abstract.

“This pilot surveillance included 152 patients with acute exacerbations of chronic pain, 124 (Back group) with non-specific low back pain (NSLBP), 20 with NSLBP overridden by osteoarthritic pain (Knee-Hip group), and eight with specific LBP (included in the safety analysis). Patients were recommended the rose hip and seed powder Litozin at a dose providing up to 3 mg of galactolipid/day for up to 54 weeks. Clinical symptoms and well-being were assessed every 6 weeks. The patients also kept a diary of their pain and the requirement for rescue medication. Data were analyzed by intention to treat with last observation carried forward. Only 77 patients completed the year of surveillance. Multivariate analysis suggested an appreciable overall improvement during the surveillance, irrespective of group, and this was reflected for most of the individual measures in repeated measures ANOVA. The degree and time-course of improvement echoed that seen in similar surveillances of patients receiving an aqueous extract of Harpagophytum. Multiple regression analyses indicated that percentage changes from baseline tended to be greater in patients with greater degrees of pain and disability, but were otherwise largely unrelated to the patients’ characteristics. There were no serious adverse events. The rose hip and seed powder, Litozin, seems to deserve further, more definitive studies as a possible option in long-term management of NSLBP with or without osteoarthritic pain.”

Active ingredients

Lipophilic ingredients are said to tangle up in the action mechanism of the rose hips. Researchers from Copenhagen University have determined the active ingredient of Rosa Canina, which is a glycoside compound patented as GOPO®. Τhis patent refers to Litozin only.

Erik Hansen and his son devoted more than twenty years to cultivate such varieties of Rosa Canina that can provide concentrations of GOPO® , ten times more than that of ordinary varieties. 

Rose hips have a completely different action mechanism as opposed to glucosamine and chondroitin, meaning that they can be taken in conjunction.


In the pharmaceutical market it comes in the form of capsule or pure powder. Ask the help of your pharmacist for the appropriate dosage.

Up to know there are no known interactions of powder rosehips (Rosa Canina) with other drugs.

However, as with all herbs and nutritional supplements, you should not try any of the above if you are on medical treatment and/ unless you have the consent of a professional healthcare provider. The author takes no responsibility for the event of improper use of the above information.