Does Hawthorn Berries Make You Lose Weight – Written by Ariane Lang, BSc, MBA and SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD — Medically reviewed by Kathy W. Warwick, R.D., CDE, Nutrition — Updated December 13, 2021
These nutrient-rich berries have a sour, tangy flavor and a mild sweetness. They range in color from yellow to dark red (
Does Hawthorn Berries Make You Lose Weight
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 key part of traditional Chinese medicine since at least AD 659 (
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Antioxidants help neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals that can damage your body when present in high levels.
Free radicals can come from certain foods. You may also have higher levels due to 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 (
Although initial animal and cell research is promising, more human studies are needed to assess the effects of hawthorn berries on disease risk.
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Summary Hawthorn berries contain plant polyphenols that have antioxidant properties that have been linked to numerous 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 fruit extract significantly reduced levels of inflammatory compounds, leading to reduced inflammation and liver damage (
In one study, researchers administered vitexin—a compound present in hawthorn leaves—to mice with respiratory problems. 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 in humans. However, further research is needed.
Summary Hawthorn fruit extract has demonstrated anti-inflammatory potential in test-tube and animal studies. Still, 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 (
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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 lower diastolic blood pressure – the bottom number of the blood pressure reading (
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 experienced greater 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 suggest 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 (e.g.
Imbalanced levels of cholesterol in the blood — particularly high triglycerides and low HDL (good) cholesterol — play a role in atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in your arteries (
If plaque continues to build up, it could completely block a blood vessel, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
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In one animal study, mice given 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 fruit supplements, they had significantly reduced levels of fasting triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol (
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 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 assess the effect of hawthorn extract on blood cholesterol levels.
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Summary Animal and human research suggests that taking hawthorn extract may help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, more human research is needed.
People have used hawthorn berries and extract for centuries 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 nourish and support healthy gut bacteria that are vital to maintaining healthy digestion (
One observational study in people with slow digestion found that every additional gram of fiber people consumed was associated with a 30-minute reduction in the time between bowel movements (
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In addition, a study in rats found that hawthorn extract dramatically reduced the transit time of food in the digestive system (
In addition, research in rodents suggests that compounds in hawthorn berries could increase the production and activity of digestive enzymes—namely, those needed to digest fatty and protein-rich foods (
Summary People have used hawthorn berries for centuries as a digestive aid. It can help relieve constipation and increase the production of enzymes needed to digest fatty and protein-rich foods.
Hawthorn berries can help prevent premature skin aging caused by collagen degradation due to excessive sun or ultraviolet radiation.
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One test-tube study found that a mixture of hawthorn extract and ginseng can prevent the signs of aging by preventing 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 due to 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 hawthorn played (
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Hawthorn appears to have few side effects compared to traditional anti-anxiety medications. This is one reason why researchers 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 the berry specifically. More research is needed.
If you want to try a hawthorn supplement to help manage your anxiety, don’t stop taking your current medications and be sure to discuss it with a health care professional beforehand to make sure it’s safe for you.
Summary Researchers 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.
Health Benefits Of Hawthorn Berries
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 where 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 mostly 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 along with conventional treatment increased the risk that heart failure would progress (
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Summary In some traditional medicine practices, people commonly use 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 difficult 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 contain only 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 not yet determined the optimal effective dose (
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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 independent organizations that assess the effectiveness and quality of supplements, 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 further research is needed.
There have not been many reported side effects when taking hawthorn berries. Those that exist seem to range from mild to moderate.
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The most common ones reported by people are sweating, headache, drowsiness, palpitations, mild rash, restlessness, and gastrointestinal effects (
Even if 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 eating hawthorn berries tend to be mild. They often include sweating, headache, drowsiness, palpitations, mild rash, restlessness, and gastrointestinal effects.
The use of medicinal herbs as an alternative treatment for several diseases is increasing