Dog Rose

Rosa canina

Herbs gallery - Dog Rose

Common names

  • Dog Brier
  • Dog Rose
  • Hip Rose
  • Wild Brier

Rosa canina, also referred to as the dog rose, is a permanent scrambling or climbing species of rose that is indigenous to Europe, south-western Asia and northern Africa. Generally, the plant is found to be growing up to three meters or around 10 feet in length. Some plants may even grow longer and reach the apex of taller trees growing nearby. Rosa canina plants bear hooked thorns on the stem and these aid the plants in climbing. The plant has pinnate leaves, with each leaf having two to three pairs of jagged leaflets. Usually, the blooms of Rosa canina are pink, but they may also be found in white. The flowers are around 4 cm to 6 cm in diameter, each having five petals. The flowers develop into reddish-orange colored fruits, also known as hips.

It is interesting to note that in the Middle Ages, between the 5th and 15th century, the rose hips/ fruits were a preferred sweet luxury among the people. However, the Rosa canina variety plants were not held in the same esteem as the cultivated assortment of rose - Rosa gallica. Despite this, herbal medicinal practitioners regarded the plant of the dog rose as herb possessing elevated therapeutic properties and usually prescribed the plants or their preparations to treat various chest problems.

Flowers of Rosa canina are not only attractive, but also contain numerous therapeutic properties and, hence, are recommended for treating an assortment of medical conditions. As mentioned before in this article, Rosa canina or the dog rose is a permanent plant that is indigenous to Europe, northern Africa as well as the temperate regions of south-western Asia. Since the dog rose plant is a natural source of a number of vitamins, it is recommended to cure diarrhea, quench thirst, as a diuretic to increase urination and also to avert stomach inflammation.

These plants have hooked thorns on their stem that make them perfect for growing them as hedgerow. The Rosa canina bears leaves in clusters of two to three that have jagged or saw-like edges. In fact, the most important parts of the dog rose are its fruits or hips, which possess high medicinal value. The fruits or hips of Rosa canina are usually vivid red and harvested during the fall. They are widely used for their medicinal properties.

The fruits or hips of the dog rose enclose an assortment of vitamins and added essential nourishments. For instance, the hips of Rosa canina enclose rich amounts of vitamin C. In addition, the fruits also contain different amounts of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and K. The other ingredients contained in the dog rose fruits are tannins, flavonoids, vanillin, polyphenols, carotenoids and essential oil. Each of these elements contained in the Rosa canina hips have significant roles in the human body.

Among the several reasons, the dog rose is held in high esteem owing to the elevated levels of vitamins enclosed in its fruits/ hips. It is important to note that the fresh hips provide more vitamins and other nourishments for the human body than those that have been collected some time back. Hence, it is not surprising to find that many people take brews prepared with the dog rose fruits/ hips with a view to avail an excellent dosage of prepared vitamins that are easily absorbed by the body. These hips are consumed by means of sweet, nourishing syrup known as the rose hip syrup.

There are quite a number of people who like to use a combination of the Rosa canina or the dog rose petals and hips/ fruits. When the petals and hips are used in blend, they are said to function as a diuretic, astringent, a laxative as well as a stimulant or tonic. However, when the hips are used separately, people assert that they are effective in treating diarrhea, trivial contagions, cold, gastritis and scurvy. In addition, presently several studies are being conducted to find whether the hips of Rosa canina are able to prevent or overturn the development of cancer cells.

All said and done, using the dog rose or Rosa canina also has its downsides. There is a number of side effects related to the use of Rosa canina, but most of them are comparatively insignificant or having less adversity. For instance, a beneath the fleshy tissues of the hips you will find a layer resembling fine bristles or hair. If this hair-like layer of the Rosa canina fruit is consumed, it may cause irritation in the mouth as well as the digestive tract. Like in the case of any other herbal supplements, one should check with a medical expert before he or she starts taking a homeopathic treatment with therapeutic preparations made with the dog rose.

Parts used

Hips, leaves, flowers, essential oil.


The hips/ fruits of the dog rose or Rosa canina enclose high levels of vitamins. Significantly enough, when the dog rose fruits are consumed fresh they not only provide diverse types of vitamins, but also additional nourishing substances in a particular arrangement enabling the body to digest or absorb them without much difficulty. In fact, the hips of the dog rose 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 enclose tannins, they are also used to prepare a medication to treat diarrhea. The dog rose hips also possess diuretic properties and hence, they are also recommended to treat water retention by the body, they especially help in increasing the urine outflow. This action of the dog rose fruits also help the body to eliminate the wastes and toxins produced by it. Additionally, dog rose hips are also effective in satiating thirst and assist in alleviating stomach inflammations, such as swelling and pain in the gastronomic tract.

Precisely speaking, the petals, fruits as well as the galls (abnormal growths on plants caused by insects etc.) of the dog rose possess therapeutic properties and are used to treat a number of medical conditions. They 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. The dog rose plants are used to prepare a type of distilled water that is somewhat astringent and commonly used as a lotion for subtle skins. As mentioned earlier, the hips of the dog rose are utilized to prepare the dog rose syrup which has a pleasant taste and is often added to cough mixtures for flavour. The seeds of Rosa canina or the dog rose are known to be vermifuge and help in getting rid of worms from the intestines. In addition, the plant is also used for Bach flower remedies and the catchwords used for prescribing it are 'Apathy' and 'Resignation'. The hips of several species of this genus contain high levels of vitamins and minerals. They are particularly rich in vitamins A, C and E, flavonoids and additional bio-active amalgams. In addition, the hips of the dog rose are also a significant natural resource for fatty acids, something that is very uncommon in fruits. Presently, researchers are studying whether the dog rose hips when used as food are capable of diminishing occurrence of cancers and also whether they are able to stop or reverse the development of cancer cells in the body.

The dog rose or Rosa canina plants are useful as an intense and stock-proof hedge, particularly when they are trimmed.

The fruits or hips of the dog rose may be consumed raw or cooked. They are widely used to prepare scrumptious jams, syrups and other such substances. In fact, the syrup prepared with the dog rose hips, called dog rose syrup, is highly nourishing and especially good for infants and children. Some people also use the dog rose fruits to prepare an herbal tea. It is interesting to note that frost make the fruits borne by this species of plants softer as well as sweeter. The dog rose hips usually grow approximately 30 mm in diameter, but have a flimsy layer of flesh that encloses numerous seeds. People consuming the dog rose hips raw should do it cautiously by eliminating the hair-like layer beneath the seeds. The seeds of the fruits are an excellent natural source of vitamin E and people often dry and pulverize them before mixing them with flour. In addition, the grounded seeds are also added with other foods and used as dietary supplements. The leaves of Rosa canina are dried and used as an herbal tea, substituting for genuine tea leaves. Some reports claim that the dog rose leaves may also be used 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 flavour, the base of the petals may taste bitter and, hence, they need to be removed before eating the petals. In China, people consume the dog rose petals as a vegetable. In addition, the petals of this variety of rose are also used to prepare an extraordinary aromatic jam.

Habitat and cultivation

As mentioned above, the dog rose or Rosa canina is native to Europe and the temperate climatic zones of Asia and northern Africa. Usually, the dog rose plant grows in hedgerows or a row of bushes forming a hedge and also as thickets or a thick coppice. Apart from this, the dog rose plants may also be found growing naturally in open areas, such as meadows, pastures and wasteland. The fruits or hips of the dog rose are collected during fall.

Rosa canina or the dog rose plants thrive well in damp soils and also grows fine in heavy clay soils. The plants of this species of rose have a preference for circumneutral soil as well as sunlight areas with their roots growing in the shade. However, if the dog rose is cultivated in darkness or profound shadow, they do not bear flowers and fruits. Although, the plants grow well in damp soil conditions, they are averse to soggy soils or arid areas. The plants have the aptitude to withstand exposure to marine conditions. While the fruits or hips of the dog rose draw several species of birds towards them, numerous insects and gall wasps inhabit the plants. The flowers of the dog rose are very aromatic, while the leaves when smashed or bruised, emit an excellent scent. Rosa canina or the dog rose has the aptitude to grow excellently in the company of parsley, lupins, alliums and mignonette. If garlic plants are grown in the vicinity of the dog rose, they help in protecting the plants of this rose species from diseases as well as invasion of insects. However, the growth of dog rose plants is very poor when they are near any boxwood plants.

The dog rose plant easily hybridizes with other members belonging to the same genus. However, the plants belonging to this genus are remarkably prone to invasion of the honey fungus.


Dog rose hips contain vitamins C (up to 1.25%), A, B1, B2, B3 and K, flavonoids, tannins (2-3%), invert sugar, pectin, plant acids, polyphenols, carotenoids, volatile oil and vanillin.


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