By Michael A. Smith, MD
Despite pharmaceutical profits of billions of dollars on heart medications, heart disease is still our number one killer. Although that topic is probably better suited for its own blog post, it sets the perfect stage for what we’re going to talk about here: a new study that explores the range of potential heart-health benefits of rose hip.
Rose Hip Improves Heart Health in Obese Patients1According to a new clinical study, Rosa canina or rose hip significantly reduces blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. The study was published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The authors of the study concluded that it could be the starting point for exploring rose hip as a “constituent of food portfolios aimed at reducing cholesterol and blood pressure, thereby decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease and mortality.”
This study specifically targeted obese patients with high blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol. The researchers believe that obesity is becoming a global epidemic; quoting the World Health Organization’s staggering statistic that by 2015 there will be 1.5 billion overweight people worldwide. In the United States, the obesity epidemic could cost $117 billion per year, most of that coming from the cost of treating heart disease and diabetes.
This new study indicates that extracts from rose hip may help reduce blood pressure and LDL cholesterol (the bad kind). The results were pretty impressive when you compare rose hip to commonly prescribed drugs for both conditions. Let’s look at the details.
Rose Hip Decreases Blood Pressure & Cholesterol1The Swedish and Norwegian researchers who conducted the study released their results last month. Thirty-one obese people were recruited for the randomized, double-blind, cross-over study. The participants were randomized into either a treatment group or control. The treatment group was given 40 grams of rose hip powder added to their apple juice, while the control group only received apple juice. The groups switched treatments halfway through the study.
After six weeks, total cholesterol dropped by 4.9%, while LDL cholesterol dropped by 6% in the rose hip group. But the most impressive result came from the reduction in blood pressure. There was an average decrease in systolic pressure of 3.4% or 4 points for the rose hip group. This drop in blood pressure was close to the average reduction in blood pressure observed in 27 pharmacological trials.
The authors state that it’s estimated that this blood pressure reduction can result in a decreased incidence of coronary heart disease by 15% and stroke by 25%. Overall, the risk of cardiovascular disease was decreased by 17% in the rose hip group compared to the control group — according to the Reynolds risk assessment score for heart disease.
What is Rose Hip?Rose hip is the fruit of the rose plant. It’s red-to-orange in color, begins to form in the spring, and ripens in late summer. It’s also loaded with vitamin C and other antioxidants, undoubtedly good for the heart.
They can be eaten raw, but the taste is very bitter. They’re best when added to jams, teas, jellies, syrups, soups, pies, breads, and they even can be made into wine. If you do eat them raw, remove the fine hairs inside the “hip,” as these can cause allergies and itching.
In Hungary, they use rose hip to make Palinka, a fruit brandy. Below is a cocktail called “American Beauty” that’s made with Palinka. Give it a try and let us know what you think!
Rose Hip Cocktail: American Beauty with Palinka
- 1 tbsp. Orange Juice
- 1 tbsp. Grenadine
- 1/2 oz. Dry Vermouth
- 1/2 oz. Palinka Fruit Brandy
- 1/4 tsp. White Creme de Cacao
- Dash Port
- U Anderson. Effects of rose hip intake on risk markers of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease: a randomized, double-blind, cross-over investigation in obese persons. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition advance online publication 14 December 2011; doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2011.203. http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/ejcn2011203a.html
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