Rosa canina, commonly known as the dog-rose, is a variable climbing wild rose species native to Europe, northwest Africa and western Asia. It is a deciduous shrub normally ranging in height from 1-5 metres, with pale pink, deep pink or white flowers, flowering from late spring to mid-summer. The flowers mature into an oval red-orange fruit, or ‘hip’ during early to mid-Autumn.
Rose-hips are best known as one of the richest plant sources of Vitamin C. During world war ll when there was a shortage of citrus fruits in the UK the British government organised the harvesting of as many rose-hips as possible as a substitute source of Vitamin C. This led to a generation of children growing up with a daily spoonful of rose-hip syrup.
Apart from Vitamin C, rose-hips also contain other vitamins, pectin, tannins, flavonoids, carotenoids, and galactolipids. Galactolipids are found in cell membranes and have formed the basis of a number of different studies.
One particular galactolipid "GOPO" is of particular interest and has been subject of considerable research.
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