Hawthorn Berries And Anti Platelet Action – Hawthorn has long been used in Chinese and Western medicine to treat various ailments. The most studied use of hawthorn is congestive heart failure (CHF). Its effectiveness for CHF and other conditions is limited, but so is its toxicity. However, it is always best to consult with your primary care provider and pharmacist before starting any herbal regimen to avoid any potential interactions with prescription or over-the-counter medications.
Genus and includes the rose family and hundreds of species of shrubs and trees. Other names for this plant include quickthorn, may flower, shan ja, and Crataegus berry. Hawthorn is native to northern Europe but grows worldwide. Hawthorn plants look like thorn bushes or small trees with bright green leaves, white flowers and red berries.
Hawthorn Berries And Anti Platelet Action
Hawthorn fruit is used in traditional Chinese medicine to improve digestion, blood circulation, and treat heart problems such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Dried fruits used to improve digestion are usually made into jams, jellies, candies or wines. In European herbal medicine, hawthorn is the oldest medicinal plant. The fruits, leaves and flowers are commonly used as a heart tonic, astringent, for muscle spasms and for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The leaves, berries, and flowers can be used to make liquids, usually with water and alcohol. Dried extracts can be made into capsules or tablets.
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The most studied clinical effect of hawthorn is its use in chronic congestive heart failure (CHF). However, the results of studies are not consistent and more data are needed to establish its use. A large study conducted in 2008 found that hawthorn used in combination with standard CHF drug therapy increased exercise tolerance and improved symptoms of fatigue and breathlessness compared to placebo. However, another trial in patients with CHF tested hawthorn extract against a placebo and failed to show a benefit when hawthorn was given alongside standard drug therapy.
Overall, hawthorn is well tolerated. The most commonly reported side effects associated with hawthorn are dizziness and vertigo. Other less common side effects include nausea, fatigue, sweating, rapid heartbeat, headache, shortness of breath, and nosebleeds. The only known contraindication to hawthorn is allergy
Products and plants. It should not be used during pregnancy or breast-feeding because of potential uterine stimulation.
There are no case reports of acute overdose with hawthorn berries or dietary supplement products. However, it is always best to consult your primary care provider and pharmacist before starting a Hawthorne regimen to avoid interactions with prescription and over-the-counter medications. If you are taking digoxin or any antiplatelet, anticoagulant, or blood pressure medication, consult your primary care provider and pharmacist, as studies indicate that hawthorn may interfere with these medications.
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If you suspect someone has accidentally overdosed or is experiencing side effects from hawthorn, get help online with webCONTROL or call 1-800-222-1222. Both options are free to the public and available 24 hours a day.
This actually happened to two children, ages 3 and 4, who both ate some hawthorn berries from their backyard. Both children had no symptoms 20 minutes after ingestion when their mother called Control for guidance. Control is recommended to watch for any severe and persistent symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. On a follow up call to the mother, she said she had no symptoms.
Hawthorn (Herbs at a Glance). Bethesda (MD): US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Updated 2008 May [cited 2021 Nov 30]. Written by Ariane Lang, BSc, MBA and SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD — Clinically reviewed by Kathy W. Warwick, R.D., CDE, Nutrition — Updated December 13, 2021
These nutrient-rich berries have a tart, tangy flavor and mild sweetness. They are yellow to dark red in color (
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For hundreds of years, people have used the hawthorn berry as an herbal remedy for digestive problems, heart problems, and high blood pressure. In fact, at least 659 A.D. The berry is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine.
Antioxidants help neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals, which can harm your body when they are present in high levels.
Free radicals can come from certain foods. You are exposed to air pollution and cigarette smoke (
Polyphenols are associated with many health benefits due to their antioxidant activity, including reduced risk (
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Although initial research in animals and cells is promising, more human studies are needed to evaluate the effects of hawthorn berries on disease risk.
Summary The hawthorn berry contains plant polyphenols, which 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 berry extract significantly reduced levels of inflammatory compounds, leading to reduced liver inflammation and injury (
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In one study, researchers gave vitexin — a compound found in hawthorn leaves — to mice with respiratory conditions. This treatment reduced the production of molecules that stimulate inflammation and reduced the response of white blood cells to inflammation (
These promising results from animal and test-tube studies suggest that the supplement may provide anti-inflammatory benefits to humans. However, more research is needed.
Summary Hawthorn berry extract has shown anti-inflammatory potential in test-tube and animal studies. Further, research in humans is needed.
In traditional Chinese medicine, hawthorn berry is one of the most commonly recommended foods to help treat high blood pressure (
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Animal studies show that hawthorn acts as a vasodilator, meaning it can relax constricted blood vessels, ultimately lowering blood pressure (
A 10-week study looked at the effects of taking hawthorn extract in 36 people with mildly elevated blood pressure.
Researchers found that those who took 500 mg of the extract daily lowered diastolic blood pressure — the bottom number of a blood pressure reading (
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 who took the extract experienced greater blood pressure improvements than those in the placebo group (
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However, 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.
Summary Some research suggests that hawthorn berries may lower blood pressure by helping dilate blood vessels. However, further studies are needed.
Some studies suggest that hawthorn extract improves 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 — can play a role in atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels (
Essential Health Benefits Of Hawthorn Berry
If plaque continues to build up, it can completely block a blood vessel, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
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 mice showed that when mice were given hawthorn berry supplements, they significantly reduced fasting triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Finally, a 6-month study in 64 people with atherosclerosis found that taking hawthorn extract at a dose of 2.3 mg (5 mg per kg) of body weight significantly reduced the thickness of harmful plaque in the carotid artery (
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Although this research is promising, more human studies are needed to assess the effect of hawthorn extract on blood cholesterol.
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 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 promote healthy gut bacteria that are critical to maintaining healthy digestion (
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According to an observational study in people with slow digestion, each additional gram of dietary fiber people consumed was associated with a 30-minute reduction in the time between bowel movements (
Additionally, a rat study observed that hawthorn extract dramatically reduced the gut transit time of food in the digestive system (
Furthermore, research in mice suggests that compounds in hawthorn berries improve the production and activity of digestive enzymes — which are essential for the digestion of foods high in fat and protein (
Summary People have used the hawthorn berry as a digestive aid for centuries. It helps relieve constipation and improves the production of enzymes needed to digest food rich in fat and protein.
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Hawthorn berries may help prevent premature skin aging caused by collagen degradation due to excessive sun or ultraviolet light exposure.
A test-tube study found that a mixture of hawthorn and ginseng extract could prevent signs of aging by inhibiting wrinkles.