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Rosehip for osteoarthritis

3 min read

Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the joints of the body become damaged, stop moving freely and become painful. It's the most common form of arthritis in the UK affecting an estimated 8.75 million people who have sought treatment.

Statistics from Arthritis Research UK reveal that the condition affects 33% of people aged 45 years and over, and 49% of women and 42% of men aged 75 years and over. Women are more likely than men to seek treatment for symptoms.

A natural complementary medicine for arthritis

Rosa canina is the scientific name for rosehip, it is a species of wild rose native to some regions in Europe, Africa and Asia. Rosehip is made from the fruits that usually develop after the bloom has died (see the photograph above). It is a herbal medication which has anti-inflammatory properties and is now widely available to purchase as convenient rosehip tablets.

Evidence shows rosehip is more effective than glucosamine for osteoarthritis treatment

A study presented by scientists at the World Congress on Osteoarthritis in Montreal, Quebec, confirms that rosehip powder may relieve joint pain better than glucosamine. A major review of evidence that shows rosehip powder contains a galactolipid compound known as GOPO. It is GOPO which is believed to play an essential role in the anti-inflammatory benefits rosehips provide. Rosehip extract also contains polyphenols and anthocyanins, which are believed to ease joint inflammation and prevent joint damage.

The conclusions add weight to the argument that rosehip powder is a potent and effective natural alternative to both glucosamine and anti-inflammatory painkillers in osteoarthritis.

Dr Rod Hughes, a Consultant Rheumatologist at St Peter's Hospital in Chertsey, Surrey said:

"The evidence supporting the benefits of specialised rose-hip powder as a treatment for OA (osteoarthritis) appears to be consistent as further studies are produced.  Patients who wish to try a natural remedy in addition to their prescribed treatment, exercise and weight control programmes, may, on the basis of this study, consider rose-hip supplements."

How long do I need to take rosehip to get results?

In clinical Rosehip trials for osteoarthritis which are reported by Arthritis Research UK, after 3 weeks of taking a rosehip supplement, participants had a significant reduction in pain scores and painkiller use compared to a placebo, but it didn’t significantly reduce stiffness and disability or improve the overall disease severity.

After 15 weeks, participants who were given rosehip had a significant reduction in pain, stiffness, disability and painkiller use as well as significant improvement in overall disease severity compared to participants on the placebo.

While rosehip cannot cure arthritis, optimum doses of 5000mg/10,000mg+ per day have been found to be effective at improving the condition of affected joints and reducing inflammation. As a result, they may help significantly improve the quality of life of people living with arthritis. 

Based on these results we recommend that in order to properly evaluate if rosehip can effectively help ease osteoarthritis, people should take a rosehip supplement for a minimum of 3 months.

Is it a safe supplement to take?

To date clinical trials have not reported any side effects of rosehip supplements. They appear to be safe to be taken alongside non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). medications, however, if you are taking any prescription medications you should always consult with your doctor prior to taking food supplements.

A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.