Beneficial Effects Of Hawthorn Berries – Written by Ariane Lang, BSc, MBA and SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD — Medically reviewed by Kathi V. Warvick, R.D., CDE, Nutrition — Updated December 13, 2021
These nutrient-rich berries have a tart, tangy flavor and a mild sweetness. They range in color from yellow to dark red (
Beneficial Effects Of Hawthorn Berries
For hundreds of years, people have used hawthorn berries as an herbal remedy for digestive problems, heart problems and high blood pressure. In fact, berries have been a key part of traditional Chinese medicine since at least 659 AD (
Medicinal Plants Hawthorn
Antioxidants help neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals that can harm your body when present in high levels.
Free radicals can come from certain foods. You may also have higher levels of them as a result of exposure to environmental toxins such as air pollution and cigarette smoke (
Polyphenols are associated with numerous health benefits due to their antioxidant activity, including a lower risk of (
Although initial animal and cell studies are 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 associated with numerous health benefits.
Research has found that chronic inflammation is linked to many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, asthma, and certain cancers (
In a study in mice with liver disease, hawthorn berry extract significantly reduced levels of inflammatory compounds, leading to reduced inflammation and liver injury (
In one study, researchers gave vitexin — a compound present in hawthorn leaves — to mice with respiratory problems. This treatment reduced the production of inflammatory molecules and reduced the white blood cell response to inflammation (
Hawthorn: A Little Known Super Fruit
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 both test-tube and animal studies. However, human research is needed.
In traditional Chinese medicine, hawthorn berries are one of the most commonly recommended foods for treating high blood pressure (
Animal studies show that hawthorn can act as a vasodilator, meaning it can relax narrowed blood vessels, ultimately lowering blood pressure (
Health Benefits Of Hawthorn Berry
A 10-week study looked at the effects of taking hawthorn extract in 36 people with mildly elevated blood pressure.
The researchers found that those who took 500 mg of the extract daily had reduced diastolic blood pressure—the lowest number of blood pressure readings (
In a 2006 study, researchers gave 1,200 mg of hawthorn extract to 79 people with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure every day for 16 weeks. People who took the extract had more improvements in blood pressure than those in the placebo group (
However, more studies are needed to support these findings. It is also important to note that using 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, further studies are needed.
Some studies show that hawthorn extract can improve blood cholesterol levels thanks to its flavonoid and pectin content. Pectin is a type of fiber that participates 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, mice 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 mice that did not receive the extract (
Similarly, a 6-week study in rats showed that when rats were fed hawthorn berry supplements, they had significantly reduced levels of fasting triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol (
Finally, a six-month study in 64 people with atherosclerosis found that taking hawthorn extract at a dose of 2.3 mg per pound (5 mg per kg) of body weight significantly reduced the thickness of harmful plaque buildup in the carotid artery (
Although this research is promising, more human studies are needed to evaluate the effect of hawthorn extract on blood cholesterol.
Impressive Health Benefits Of Hawthorn Berry
Summary Animal and human research suggests that taking hawthorn extract may help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, more human research is needed.
For centuries, people have used hawthorn berries and extract to treat digestive problems, especially indigestion and stomach pain (
Berries contain fiber, which has been shown to aid digestion by reducing constipation and acting as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are foods that nurture and promote healthy intestinal bacteria, which are vital for maintaining healthy digestion (
One 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 time between bowel movements (
Hawthorn In The Plate, Hawthorn Fruit And Its Benefits Stock Image
In addition, a study in rats noted that hawthorn extract dramatically reduced the transit time of food through the intestines into the digestive system (
Furthermore, research in rodents suggests that compounds in hawthorn berries may improve the production and activity of digestive enzymes—namely those needed to digest foods rich in fat and protein (
Summary People have used hawthorn berries as a digestive aid for centuries. It can help relieve constipation and improve the production of enzymes needed to digest fatty and protein foods.
Hawthorn berries can help prevent premature skin aging caused by collagen degradation due to excessive exposure to the sun or ultraviolet light.
Hawthorn: Properties And Side Effects Of This Herb!
One test-tube study found that a mixture of hawthorn and ginseng extracts can prevent signs of aging by inhibiting the formation of 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 unclear what specific role hawthorn played (
Amazing Health Benefits Of Hawthorn Berries
Hawthorn appears to have few side effects compared to traditional anti-anxiety medications. That’s one reason scientists continue to investigate it as a potential treatment for central nervous system disorders such as anxiety and depression (
However, these studies used different types of hawthorn products, not necessarily berries specifically. More research is needed.
If you want to try a hawthorn supplement to help manage your anxiety, don’t stop using your current medications and be sure to discuss it with your healthcare provider first to make sure it’s safe for you.
Summary Scientists are investigating hawthorn supplements as a potential treatment for anxiety. However, there is currently not much research on them for this purpose. More studies are needed on the effects of hawthorn berries on anxiety.
Hawthorn Berry Herb As A Diuretic
Hawthorn berries are best known for their use in traditional contexts in the treatment of heart failure, along with other traditional medicines. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart cannot pump blood properly.
Multiple studies have shown that hawthorn berries may have beneficial effects without serious adverse effects in people with heart failure (
Studies generally show improvements in heart function and symptoms of heart failure — such as shortness of breath and fatigue (
However, some evidence suggests that hawthorn may be harmful in certain cases of heart failure. One study found that taking it alongside conventional treatments increased the risk of developing heart failure (
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Summary In some traditional medicine practices, people commonly take hawthorn berries along with other traditional remedies for heart failure. However, it can be harmful when combined with conventional heart failure medications.
Hawthorn berries can be hard to find in 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 berries along with the leaves and flowers, although some include just the leaves and flowers.
Different brands and forms of hawthorn supplements have different dosage recommendations. Typical doses are 250-500 mg three times a day. However, research has yet to determine the optimal effective dose (
Hawthorn Benefits + How To Use To Lower Blood Pressure
Keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements like hawthorn less strictly than over-the-counter or prescription drugs.
Look for products that have received the seal of approval from third-party organizations that evaluate the effectiveness and quality of supplements, such as the United States Pharmacopoeia (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 more research is needed.
Not many side effects have been reported from taking hawthorn berries. Those that do exist seem to range from mild to moderate.
Hawthorn Berries: Identify, Harvest, And Make An Extract |
The most common ones reported by people are sweating, headache, drowsiness, palpitations, mild rash, 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 Side effects of consuming hawthorn berries are usually mild. They often include sweating, headaches, drowsiness, palpitations, mild rash, agitation, and gastrointestinal effects.
The use of medicinal plants as alternative treatments for several diseases is increasing