5 Incredible Benefits of Rose Apples

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

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Despite the name, rose apples are not related to roses or apples. In fact, rose apples are closely related to guava, and although there are multiple species, the most commonly eaten variety has the scientific name Syzygium jambos. Rose apples are thought to have a number of health benefits including controlling diabetes, improving digestion, reducing toxicity, promoting heart health, and boosting immunity. Here, we take a closer look at some of the accolades of rose apples.

What are Rose Apples?

As mentioned, the plant with the scientific name Syzygium jambos is a shrub or a small tree native to Southeast Asia. It spread throughout the world as an ornamental plant. However, it is now considered an invasive species, as it can grow and propagate very quickly, overtaking local flora. It has many names, depending on which country one finds oneself. One popular name for this fruit is Jambu – not to be confused with Jamun, which is a different fruit in many areas of India.

While rose apples resemble guavas, they have a very different texture, flavor, and odor altogether. Also unlike guavas, rose apples have numerous seeds, this fruit only has one or two large, unarmored seeds in an open, central cavity.

Rose apples, which are bell-shaped in appearance, can either be eaten raw, like apples or can be used to prepare a variety of dishes and desserts.

A basket of fresh ripe rose apples with leaves on a wooden table

Fresh rose apples, or rosewater apples, are juicy and delicious. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts

Rose-apples, raw
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]93
Energy [kcal]25
Protein [g]0.6
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.3
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]5.7
Calcium, Ca [mg]29
Iron, Fe [mg]0.07
Magnesium, Mg [mg]5
Phosphorus, P [mg]8
Potassium, K [mg]123
Sodium, Na [mg]0
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.06
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]22.3
Thiamin [mg]0.02
Riboflavin [mg]0.03
Niacin [mg]0.8
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]17
Vitamin A, IU [IU]339
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0
Cholesterol [mg]0
Sources include : USDA

Nutritional Value of Rose Apples

According to the USDA Nutrient Database, a 100gm portion of rose apple has high water content, 25 calories and 0.6gm of protein. Rose apples also contain vitamin C, dietary fiber, vitamin A, calcium, thiamin, niacin, iron, sulfur, and potassium. In terms of organic compounds, rose apples contain jambosine, betulinic acid, and friedelolactone.

Health Benefits of Rose Apples

Although research is limited, some important health benefits have been associated with this unusual fruit. Let’s take a closer look.

Control Diabetes

Jambosine is a type of alkaloid found in rose apples, that has shown promising results in regulating the conversion of starch into sugar. This may be an important development for those living with diabetes and who are at risk of developing this condition. Further research is ongoing about the impact of jambosine on blood sugar control. Traditionally in folk medicine, an infusion of roasted seed powder was said to be helpful against diabetes.

Aid in Digestion

The composition of rose apples, including high water content, makes them very good for regulating the passage of food through your digestive tract, relieving constipation, and perhaps, more serious health conditions. Also, in traditional medicine, the seeds of rose apples have been used to prevent diarrhea and dysentery.

Anti-cancer Potential

Early traditional texts have claimed that rose apples have anti-cancer potential because of nutrient profile, including high vitamins A and C content. However, there has been no study to support these claims, and further research is needed in this area.

Heart Health

The nutrient combination in rose apples – low in sodium and high in potassium, water, and other beneficial compounds – may have positive effects on lowering blood pressure. Lowering risk for hypertension and protecting heart health can lead to a lower risk of atherosclerosis, thereby preventing cardiovascular complications like heart attacks, strokes, and coronary heart diseases.

Boost Immunity

The active and volatile components in rose apple have been linked to having antimicrobial and anti-fungal effects. These antimicrobial and antifungal effects can help protect the skin from developing various infections and can boost the immune system against illness and infectious diseases.

Other Benefits

Although research is still ongoing, rose apples are thought to potentially benefit other health concerns like epileptic seizures, smallpox, inflammation in the joints, strained eyes, and help in increasing the cognitive ability.

Word of Caution: The stems, seeds, and leaves of certain cultivars can be highly toxic and contain trace amounts of cyanide. Consume rose apples from trusted markets and avoid excessive consumption of other parts of the fruit besides the flesh and the skin.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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