Are Hawthorn Berries Poisonous To Eat

Are Hawthorn Berries Poisonous To Eat – Written by Ariane Lang, BSc, MBA and SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD — Medically reviewed by Cathy W. Warwick, R.D., CDE, Nutrition — Updated December 13, 2021

These nutrient-rich berries have a tart, tangy flavor and mild sweetness. They range in color from yellow to dark red (

Are Hawthorn Berries Poisonous To Eat

For hundreds of years, people have used hawthorn berries as an herbal remedy for digestive problems, heart problems, and high blood pressure. In fact, the berry has been a major part of traditional Chinese medicine since at least 659 AD.

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Antioxidants help neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals that can harm your body when they are present in high levels.

Free radicals can come from certain foods. Environmental toxins such as air pollution and cigarette smoke (

Polyphenols are associated with many health benefits due to their antioxidant activity, including reduced risk.

Although preliminary research in animals and cells is promising, more human studies are needed to evaluate the effects of hawthorn berries on disease risk.

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Summary Hawthorn berries contain plant polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties that have been linked to many health benefits.

Research has found that chronic inflammation is linked to many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, asthma, and some cancers (

In a study in mice with liver disease, hawthorn berry extract significantly reduced levels of inflammatory compounds, thereby reducing liver inflammation and injury (

In one study, researchers gave vitexin, a compound found in hawthorn leaves, to rats with respiratory conditions. This treatment reduced the production of molecules that trigger inflammation and reduced the response of white blood cells to inflammation (

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These promising results from animal and test-tube studies suggest that the supplement may offer anti-inflammatory benefits for humans. However, more research is needed.

Summary Hawthorn berry extract has shown anti-inflammatory potential in test tube and animal studies. Still, research in humans is needed.

In traditional Chinese medicine, hawthorn berry is used to treat high blood pressure (

Animal studies show that hawthorn can act as a vasodilator, meaning it can relax constricted blood vessels, ultimately lowering blood pressure (

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A 10-week study looked at the effects of taking hawthorn extract in 36 people with mild hypertension.

Researchers found that those taking 500 mg of the extract daily had lower diastolic blood pressure—the lower number of blood pressure readings (

In a 2006 study, researchers gave 79 people with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure 1,200 mg of hawthorn extract every day for 16 weeks. Individuals taking the extract experienced greater blood pressure improvements than the placebo group (

Still, more studies are needed to back up these findings. It is also important to note that consuming the extract is not the same as eating the berries.

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Summary Some research suggests that hawthorn berries may lower blood pressure by helping to dilate blood vessels. However, more studies are needed.

Some studies indicate that hawthorn extract may improve blood cholesterol levels due to its flavonoid and pectin content. Pectin is a type of fiber involved in cholesterol metabolism.

Imbalanced blood cholesterol levels — especially high triglycerides and low HDL (good) cholesterol — play a role in atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels (

If plaque continues to build up, it can completely block a blood vessel, leading to a heart attack or stroke.

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In one animal study, rats that received two doses of hawthorn extract had lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, as well as 28-47% lower liver triglyceride levels, compared to rats that did not receive the extract (

Similarly, a 6-week study in rats showed that when rats were fed a hawthorn berry supplement, they had significantly lower levels of fasting triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol (LDL).

Finally, a 6-month study in 64 people with atherosclerosis found that taking hawthorn extract at a dose of 2.3 mg per pound (5 mg per kilogram) of body weight significantly reduced the thickness of harmful plaque buildup in the carotid arteries.

Although this research is promising, more human studies are needed to assess the effect of hawthorn extract on blood cholesterol.

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Summary Research in animals and humans suggests that taking hawthorn extract may help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, more human research is needed.

People have been using hawthorn berries and extracts for centuries to treat digestive problems, especially indigestion and colic (

Berries contain fiber, which has been shown to aid digestion by reducing constipation and acting as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are foods that nourish and promote healthy gut bacteria, which are important for maintaining healthy digestion (

An observational study in people with slow digestion found that each additional gram of dietary fiber people consumed was associated with a 30-minute reduction in the number of bowel movements.

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Additionally, a rat study showed that hawthorn extract dramatically reduced the gut transit time of food in the digestive system (

In addition, research in rodents suggests that compounds in hawthorn berries can increase the production and activity of digestive enzymes—that is, those needed for the digestion of fatty and protein-rich foods.

Summary People have used hawthorn berries as a digestive aid for centuries. It can help relieve constipation and increase the production of enzymes needed to digest fatty and protein-rich foods.

Hawthorn berries can help prevent skin aging caused by the degradation of collagen caused by excessive sun or exposure to UV light.

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A test-tube study found that a combination of hawthorn and ginseng extracts could prevent signs of aging by reducing wrinkles and increasing skin moisture.

Research suggests that this effect may be due to the antioxidant content of hawthorn berries. However, research in this area is limited, and human studies are needed.

Summary Some research suggests that hawthorn berries may help reduce the signs of aging as a result of their antioxidant content.

In an older study of 264 people with anxiety, a combination of hawthorn extract, magnesium, and California poppy flower significantly reduced anxiety levels compared to a placebo. However, it is not clear what specific role Hawthorne played (

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Hawthorn appears to have fewer side effects than traditional anti-anxiety medications. This is one reason why scientists continue to investigate it as a potential treatment for central nervous system disorders such as anxiety and depression (

However, these studies used a variety of hawthorn products, not necessarily the berry specifically. More research is needed.

If you want to try a hawthorn supplement to manage your anxiety, don’t stop using your current medications, and be sure to discuss it with a healthcare professional beforehand to make sure it’s safe for you.

Summary Scientists are exploring hawthorn supplements as a potential treatment for anxiety. However, there is currently not much research on them for this purpose. More studies of the effects of hawthorn berries on anxiety are needed.

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Hawthorn berry is known for its use in traditional contexts in the treatment of heart attacks along with other traditional medicines. A heart attack is a condition in which the heart cannot pump blood properly.

Several studies have suggested that hawthorn berries may have beneficial effects without serious adverse effects in people with heart failure (

Studies often show improvements in heart function and heart failure symptoms — such as shortness of breath and fatigue (

However, some evidence suggests that hawthorn may be harmful in some cases of heart failure. One study found an increased risk of heart attacks when it was taken alongside conventional treatments (

Is Hawthorn Berry Safe?

Summary In some traditional medical practices, people commonly take hawthorn berry along with other traditional medicines for heart failure. However, it can be harmful when combined with traditional medicines for heart failure.

Hawthorn berries can be hard to find at your local grocery store. However, you may be able to find it at farmers markets and specialty health food stores.

Hawthorn berry supplements usually contain the berry along with the leaves and flowers, although some contain only the leaves and flowers.

Different brands and forms of hawthorn supplements have different dosage recommendations. Usual doses are 250-500 mg three times daily. However, research has yet to determine the optimal effective dose (

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Keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements like hawthorn under less stringent rules than over-the-counter or prescription drugs.

Look for products that have received the seal of approval from independent organizations that evaluate supplement effectiveness and quality, such as the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, or ConsumerLab.

Summary You can eat hawthorn berries in many ways or take them as a supplement. However, appropriate doses are still undefined and require further research.

Not many side effects have been reported from consuming hawthorn berries. Those present appear to range from mild to moderate.

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People may experience sweating, headaches, insomnia, palpitations, light rashes, agitation, and gastrointestinal effects (

Although these are not life-threatening events, be sure to talk to a healthcare professional if you experience any of these symptoms.

Summary The side effects of consuming hawthorn berries are mild. They often include sweating, headache, drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, irritability, and gastrointestinal effects.

The use of medicinal herbs as an alternative treatment for various diseases is increasing

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