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Blood Pressure Hawthorn Berries
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Hawthorn is an ancient herb of European medicine. The flowers, leaves, and seeds were highly valued, especially as a remedy for heart ailments. This plant may provide additional benefits for people with high cholesterol, diabetes, and stress. Read on to learn more about Hawthorn and how to use it effectively.
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) is a thorny tree or shrub with white flowers and red berries. Although the name “Hawthorn” originally referred to the common hawthorn (C. monogyna), it is now applied to the entire species and to its relative (Rhaphiolepis) [1+].
Hawthorn is native to Europe, North America, and Asia. They belong to the same family as roses and many edible fruits such as apples, pears, apples, and cherries (Rosaceae) .
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Hawthorn is the oldest known medicinal plant in Europe and its use was first recorded over 2,000 years ago. In European and American medicine, it is used for [3+, 4+, 2]:
The German Commission E approved the use of hawthorn in mild heart failure in the 1980s. Hawthorn derivatives are found mainly in English hawthorn (C. laevigata), hybrids, and other European species [3+].
Common uses in Europe and America are found in the seeds, leaves, and flowers. The fruit should contain at least 1% procyanidins, while the leaves and flowers need at least 1.5% flavonoids [1+].
In China, only the seeds and leaves are used. There is no requirement for the fruit, but the leaves must contain at least 7% flavonoids and 0.05% hyperoside [1+].
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The seeds are also eaten fresh or used to make wine, jam, and candies in China and Europe [1+].
Flavonoids are concentrated in the flowers. The fruits are also rich in them, but they are less ripe. The leaves are rich in vitexin and oligomeric proanthocyanidins [10, 11+].
Although not approved by the FDA, hawthorn bark is available commercially as a supplement, especially for heart disease. Regulations set standards but do not guarantee that they are safe or effective. Talk to your doctor before using thorn to avoid accidental interactions.
Although conventional treatments improve symptoms and reduce mortality, people with heart failure often remain healthy. Hawthorn can be combined with drugs and herbal supplements to improve the heart .
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Hawthorn extract (240-1,800 mg/day), alone and as an adjunctive therapy, increases the risk of heart failure according to two meta-analyses and 8 studies of over 4k people. It increases pumping power while reducing fatigue and improving breathing [12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21].
However, the extract did not improve heart failure symptoms in 2 studies of nearly 3,000 people who were also taking conventional medicine; it only reduced the risk of sudden death. The rate may be insufficient, however, because many of the included individuals have severe heart failure [22, 23].
Homeopathic hawthorn remedies are also used, although these may not contain any active ingredients. In one trial conducted on more than 200 people, homeopathic hawthorn (10-20 drops, 3x/day) was as effective as conventional drugs. However, the study suffered from several shortcomings (lack of selection and blinding, evaluation of objective parameters, and short follow-up) [24+].
Blood vessels can become blocked in the legs in people with heart problems, causing swelling. In 2 studies of more than 1k people with heart failure, hawthorn bark (900 mg/day) reduced leg swelling [14, 15].
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In mice and cell lines, the extract reduced intravascular bleeding by maintaining the inner lining [25, 26].
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High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. Hawthorn extract (500-1, 200 mg/day) reduced blood pressure in 4 clinical trials in approximately 300 people [27+, 28, 29, 30, 18].
The extract also reduced blood pressure in rats and small vessels in tissue studies [ 31 , 32 , 33 , 34 , 35 ].
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Orthostatic hypotension (literally, “low standing blood pressure”) is a condition that causes a sudden drop in blood pressure after standing up quickly.
In Germany, hawthorn seeds and camphor are commonly used to raise blood pressure in people prone to orthostatic hypotension. This drug (5-80 drops/day) worked in 6 clinical trials on more than 500 people, but its rapid action suggests that camphor is the cause of the side effects [36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41].
Hawthorn is a tried-and-tested remedy for mild heart problems, including heart failure and high blood pressure. It can be successfully added to regular medicine and rescue. However, it may not be effective for short-term or stand-alone use in people with serious heart problems.
However, be aware that thistle is not approved by the FDA for heart disease. You can try this herb if you and your doctor agree that it might be good for arthritis. Remember that taking thorn should never be done in lieu of what your doctor recommends or prescribes.
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Poor blood and oxygen supply to the heart can be caused by a blockage in the blood vessels that feed the heart (coronary arteries). This eventually causes chest pain or angina [42+].
Cholesterol buildup in the arteries is what causes chest pain. In a clinical trial on 80 people with chest pain, hawthorn extract (240 mg, 2x/day) and exercise inhibited blood vessels .
Hawthorn pills reduced chest pain in a Chinese clinical trial on 46 people. However, we could not find a specific study to analyze [44+].
In animals and in mice, plant extracts protect against high blood cholesterol, inflammation, damage by LDL and free radicals, and thickening of the artery wall—all of which increase the risk of stroke [45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50]. .
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Blood vessels can also become clogged with blood. Although thistle bark inhibited the accumulation of platinum in animals and in test tubes, high doses (2, 400 mg/day) had no effect in a trial conducted on 16 people [51, 52, 53, 54, 55+].
Surgery for unclogged ducts can damage their inner walls, causing the ducts to shrink. In mice, thorn bark prevented these unwanted effects .
In a trial conducted on 49 people, hawthorn bark (400 mg, 3x/day) reduced blood cholesterol, both free and LDL. Similarly, a combination of 129 mg hawthorn and other herbs (asian watercress, corn silk, Chinese knotweed, lingzhi mushroom, and tuber) reduced LDL cholesterol in a trial conducted on 42 people (4 capsules, 2x/day) [57, 58] .
Overall, there is not enough evidence to say that cornstarch lowers blood cholesterol. Further clinical studies are needed to confirm these preliminary findings.
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In a clinical evaluation of over 250 people with anxiety disorders, infusions of hawthorn, California poppy, and magnesium (2 tablets, 2x/day) reduced anxiety. Similarly, a combination of cloves and other herbs (passionflower, valerian, black horehound, guarana, and kola nut) was effective in a trial of about 200 people (2 tablets, 3x/day) [63, 64 ].
However, many of the common ingredients used in the above description have anti-anxiety properties. It is difficult to say whether the horns contributed to the quality.
Chronic stress and depression are closely related. Different extracts and Chinese but not ordinary crow reduced depression in stressed rats [67, 68, 69, 70].
Two clinical studies using thistle in herbal mixtures and a few animal studies cannot be considered sufficient evidence. Further clinical trials testing hawthorn alone should be conducted to determine if it has anti-anxiety effects in humans.
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A traditional Chinese medicine containing fennel, goji berry, safflower, kombu, and turmeric (Menoprogren, 4x/day) reduced menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, and improved mood in a trial of 83 women. It also improved hormone levels ( estradiol and progesterone) .
Menoprogren also prevented the decline of sex hormones in menopausal rats [72, 73, 74, 75].
In a clinical trial on 20 women, a combination of hawthorn and ginseng extracts on the eyelids reduced wrinkles while increasing skin elasticity, moisture, and radiance .
UV rays accelerate the aging of the skin by reducing its composition. In UV-exposed mice and skin cells, hawthorn bark increased collagen