Best Hawthorn Berries Extract Side Effects – Hawthorn berries are small berries found on shrubs and trees in the Crataegus family. This category of plants includes more than 100 trees and shrubs distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America.
One of the distinctive features of hawthorn is its high nutrient content, sweet taste and relatively low sweetness. The color of hawthorn berries can vary from light yellow to black.
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Hawthorn has long been used as a medicinal herb to help with digestion, heart muscle function, and blood pressure. For the same reason, hawthorn is used in traditional Chinese medicine. Let’s take a closer look at what hawthorn is for and how to use it correctly.
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As we know, hawthorn berries contain a large amount of polyphenols, one of the powerful plant antioxidants. When ingested in the human body, they allow neutralizing the negative effects of free radicals – unstable molecules that cause the destruction of certain cells. The concentration of unwanted molecules increases due to improper diet, negative environmental effects in the form of polluted air, and bad habits such as smoking.
Due to their high antioxidant activity, scientists have linked the inclusion of polyphenols in the diet to a reduced risk of the following diseases.
While initial research in the above areas has shown encouraging results, scientists say more testing is needed to determine hawthorn’s effects on various diseases.
Including hawthorn berries in your diet can reduce inflammation and improve your health. Research shows that chronic inflammation can lead to diabetes, cancer, asthma, and many other diseases.
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One experiment found that hawthorn can reduce inflammatory compounds in mice with liver disease. Meanwhile, in another group of rodents with asthma, symptoms were relieved.
Related results from animal studies show that the supplement has anti-inflammatory effects, including in humans. But more research is needed to confirm this property.
Hawthorn has been used in Chinese medicine for many years to lower blood pressure. Scientists believe that fruits have the ability to expand blood vessels, which leads to normalization of blood pressure.
In a 10-week study of people with high blood pressure, researchers found that regular consumption of 500 milligrams of hawthorn extract lowered diastolic blood pressure but had no effect on blood pressure.
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In another trial involving 79 people with type 2 diabetes, researchers found that 1,200 milligrams of hawthorn extract was more effective at normalizing blood pressure than a moderate amount. In people with normal blood pressure, this substance did not change for the worse or for the better.
Hawthorn is often seen as part of beauty products to prevent hair loss or stimulate hair growth. For example, one of the experiments conducted on rats showed that adding hawthorn extract to the diet increased the size and number of hair follicles, improved the quality of the hair, and ensured its growth.
According to scientists, the above-mentioned effect is related to the high content of polyphenols. However, the number of studies on the use of hawthorn in this area is relatively small. Therefore, several additional experiments are needed to confirm this effect.
Some studies show that including hawthorn in the diet can normalize the level of fats in the blood, such as triglycerides and cholesterol. These trace elements are responsible for transporting nutrients and hormones in the body. However, this function is respected only if their level is within normal limits.
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An increase in triglyceride and cholesterol levels and a decrease in HDL (good cholesterol) lead to the development of atherosclerosis and the accumulation of cholesterol plaques on the vessel walls. The latter process leads to a complete blockage of the blood vessels, which can lead to a stroke or heart attack.
In one study, scientists found that “bad” cholesterol (LDL) decreased by 28-47 percent and triglyceride levels decreased in mice given hawthorn extract. At the same time, another study shows that the effect of the plant can be compared to a special drug that normalizes cholesterol levels. However, unlike the drug, the fruit extract was more effective in lowering LDL levels.
Hawthorn berries have been used in folk medicine for hundreds of years to normalize gastrointestinal function. They can relieve abdominal pain and indigestion. Researchers identify properties related to high fiber content, which relieves constipation, improves digestion, and acts as a probiotic in the body.
Probiotics are essential substances for supporting healthy gut bacteria and normal digestion. One study found that in people with slow digestion, regular fiber consumption shortened the time between bowel movements by an average of 30 minutes.
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In addition, scientists have found that hawthorn extract shortens the time that food passes through the gastrointestinal tract. It speeds up a number of processes and helps relieve the symptoms of indigestion in a short time. In addition, this product was able to protect against gastric damage in people with ulcers.
One of the unique properties of hawthorn is that it has a mild sedative effect on the body, which allows it to reduce anxiety. However, studies of hawthorn’s effects on blood pressure have shown that this product has very little effect on anxiety levels. However, in another experiment, combining the fruits of this plant with magnesium and maca led to a significant reduction in feelings of anxiety and depression.
Since the use of hawthorn has fewer side effects than anti-anxiety drugs, scientists continue to study its effects on the central nervous system. Moreover, researchers suggest that this product can be used to treat central nervous system disorders and depression.
If you want to use hawthorn extract or berries to treat anxiety, restlessness, or depression, you should first stop taking other medications and consult your doctor.
Ways Hawthorn Berry Improves Heart Health
The benefits of hawthorn are often compared to traditional medications for heart failure. An analysis of 14 different trials in different age groups showed that the use of hawthorn in combination with anti-heart failure drugs improved the heart’s function and the body’s ability to withstand high loads. At the same time, the test participants’ shortness of breath decreased and their endurance increased.
A two-year study involving nearly 950 people with heart failure found that hawthorn was more effective at normalizing heart rhythms and relieving shortness of breath than a placebo. What’s more, the group that took hawthorn needed less heart medication.
Another study involving more than 2,600 people with heart failure showed that hawthorn extract reduced the risk of death from heart disease.
Because of the aforementioned health benefits of hawthorn, doctors recommend using this product along with heart failure medications. They also noted that the supplement is not dangerous to human health and has few side effects.
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Hawthorn berries are very rare in grocery stores. However, they can be easily purchased from specialized online stores.
As a rule, hawthorn tablets contain not only the fruits of the plant, but also leaves and flowers. This is due to the fact that the content of useful substances in the last two products is much higher than in fruits.
Recommendations for the use of hawthorn may vary depending on the form. For example, in the treatment of heart failure, 300 milligrams of the extract per day and 250-500 milligrams of the natural form are recommended.
It should be noted that in most cases the composition of dietary supplements is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Therefore, it is impossible to know the effectiveness or safety of a particular supplement.
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When purchasing supplements, look for quality-assured products from independent sources such as the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP), ConsumerLab, or NSF International.
Although the side effects of drinking hawthorn are relatively small, doctors recommend that this product be included in the diet very carefully. This is due to the fact that some people experience dizziness and nausea when consuming the extract of this plant.
In addition, scientists note that hawthorn has a strong effect on the heart muscle, so it somehow affects the effect of some drugs. Therefore, you should definitely consult your doctor before adding it to your diet.
Doctors attribute the beneficial properties of hawthorn to its high antioxidant content. Including them in the diet has a positive effect on health and heart muscle function. Research shows that this product can normalize blood pressure and reduce blood triglycerides and “bad” cholesterol. Its use can also improve hair growth and eliminate inflammatory processes that lead to the development of dangerous diseases.
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If you want to include hawthorn berries or supplements with the same name in your diet, you should consult your doctor first.
In our blog: You will find various health news and issue articles by Vietnamese doctors and our editors. Written by Ariane Lang, BSc, MBA and SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD — Cathy W. Reviewed by Warwick Medical, R.D., CDE, Nutrition — Updated December 13, 2021
These nutrient-rich fruits are roasted, tangy, and mildly sweet. Their color ranges from yellow to dark red (
For centuries, people have used hawthorn as a berry
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