Hawthorn Berries Benefits And Side Effects – The hawthorn berry, also known as “haw”, has been a popular ingredient in desserts and wines and a key medicinal herb for thousands of years. In ancient Rome, it was used to relieve diarrhea. It is also a basic herb in traditional Chinese medicine. In the Middle Ages, Europeans used it to keep their hearts healthy.
There are hundreds of species of hawthorn all over the world. Although they’re tiny, hawthorn berries pack a serious health punch, especially for your heart. They can also improve your exercise performance (x).
Hawthorn Berries Benefits And Side Effects
Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of physician visits, hospitalization, and death in the United States. More than 600,000 people die each year from heart disease (x).
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Hawthorn berries contain phytonutrients including anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins – antioxidants that strengthen blood vessels. They can also reduce symptoms of congestive heart failure, irregular heartbeat, arrhythmia, low blood pressure, angina, atherosclerosis and high cholesterol (x).
Research suggests that hawthorn berry extract significantly benefits heart health compared to a placebo (x). In one study, researchers gave 78 heart failure patients 200 mg of hawthorn three times daily for two months. At the end of the trial, patients experienced an improvement in working heart capacity and a reduction in their heart disease symptoms (x). In fact, hawthorn berry was almost as effective as prescription heart medication in reducing symptoms — and it had fewer side effects (x).
Hawthorn can also keep your heart healthy by lowering blood pressure. In one study, scientists gave 79 patients with type 2 diabetes either 1,200 mg of hawthorn extract daily or a placebo. At the end of the 16-week study, participants who took hawthorn had a greater reduction in blood pressure than those who did not (x).
Often confused with indigestion, angina is the technical term for chest pain. It is caused by decreased blood flow to the heart and is often a symptom of heart disease.
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Studies suggest that the bioflavonoids (plant compounds) in hawthorn can reduce angina by dilating and relaxing blood vessels, which promotes healthy circulation. They also improve blood flow to the heart and reduce tension in your blood vessels, which helps prevent chest pains (x).
People used hawthorn berry extract to treat gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and indigestion as early as the first century (x). Today, studies suggest that hawthorn improves digestion by promoting gastrointestinal motility—the contraction of muscles that move food through your digestive system (x). Hawthorn can also support the production of enzymes that ensure you absorb nutrients properly for optimal health (x).
People have applied hawthorn berry extract topically to help treat itching, boils, ulcers, sores, and frostbite. However, there are not enough studies to confirm these claims (x).
Hawthorn can be effective when used in combination with various other supplements. Coenzyme Q10 can lower cases of heart disease during the early stages when combined with hawthorn. Ginkgo Biloba can be used with hawthorn to improve blood circulation and ensure sufficient oxygenation to the brain. Garlic (Allium sativum) and arnica (Arnica montana) can help treat cases of angina and low blood circulation. Lemon balm (Melissa Officinalis) and Herb are also used in combination with hawthorn to calm the nerves and induce sleep for insomnia.
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Hawthorn is considered a safe supplement for adults. However, there are rare side effects that include stomach upset, headache or dizziness (x, x).
Additionally, hawthorn berry extract may interact with prescription medications. If you are taking any medications that affect and treat the heart, consult your doctor before taking this supplement. Also, if you have high blood pressure, take beta-blockers and calcium blockers, male enhancement drugs that dilate blood vessels or any medications that increase blood flow to the heart, you should consult your doctor before taking this supplement. Hawthorn is also contraindicated for people taking digoxin (x). Women who are pregnant may also want to avoid using hawthorn berry because it could potentially reduce uterine tone (x).
As a supplement, it is best to take 1, 200 mg or half a teaspoon, once or twice a day, or as directed by your doctor (x). You can also safely take hawthorn berry extract for a period of 16 weeks (x).
Hawthorn berry extract is touted as a heart health herb. Research has shown that it contributes to the overall health of the cardiovascular system. This is especially true for those who suffer from angina, congestive heart failure, high or low blood pressure and other heart-related health problems. European doctors have been prescribing hawthorn for use under medical supervision for many years, although not so much with American doctors. Overall, this little red berry is a helpful ally in heart health and you might do well to add this supplement to your regular diet. Hawthorn is a group of tree plants in the rose family, which is native to the temperate regions of Europe, Middle. East, Asia and North America. Parts of the Middle East consider the plant sacred. Many historians believe that it may have been the Crown of Thorns worn by Jesus during the Crucifixion. In this article, you will discover 5 great benefits of hawthorn berry.
What Is Hawthorn Berry
This medicinal herb is known as one of the greatest natural agents for improving cardiovascular function. Hawthorn is approved as a cardiovascular aid by Commission E- an important branch of the German government that studies and approves natural therapies (1, 2).
It is widely used in Europe to improve the circulatory system, treat angina, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmia and congestive heart failure. It is famous for its ability to strengthen the heart and blood vessels and restore healthy muscle tone to the heart wall.
Hawthorn berry is loaded with a wide array of powerful antioxidant nutrients. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress and tissue damage in the body. The unique blend of antioxidants found in Hawthorn comes from a group of phytonutrients (3). These include tannins, flavonoids, proanthocyanidins and phenolic acids. The standardization of hawthorn products is based on the total content of flavonoids (2.2%) and proanthocyanidins (18.75%).
Hawthorn berry has been well studied in individuals with congestive heart failure (4, 5). Five of the six major studies conducted found dramatically improved symptoms (such as shortness of breath and fatigue).
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One study showed that hawthorn (taken at 900mg/day) for 2 months was as effective as low doses of captopril (a leading heart drug) in improving common symptoms associated with congestive heart failure (6).
The unique antioxidant blend in Hawthorn creates a powerful vasodilating effect. It acts to improve blood vessel endothelial function to where the vessel can open with less resistance. This allows greater blood flow in working tissues and improves oxygen usage. This is mainly due to the flavonoids rutin and vitexin together with the proanthocyanins (7, 8).
Hawthorn improves heart cell metabolism and improves the flow of electrolytes through the heart cells. This prevents or corrects heart rhythm abnormalities and strongly encourages a healthy heart rhythm.
Hawthorne contains flavones that improve the function of some heart enzymes. This effect increases the contractile force of the heart, which effectively increases stroke volume while increasing the heart’s tolerance to hypoxic conditions (9). It also improves the heart’s ability to create energy through anaerobic metabolism, which improves the heart’s ability to withstand stress.
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Hawthorn also acts to inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). Increased ACE causes an increase in angiotensin II and systemic vasoconstriction. This process raises blood pressure.
By modulating ACE levels, Hawthorn helps normalize blood pressure and reduce stress on the cardiovascular system. The body usually takes two to four weeks to adjust to hawthorn and have lasting effects on blood pressure (10, 11, 12).
Hawthorn also helps protect joints with its unique blend of antioxidants. These phytonutrients fend off specific classes of free radicals that are known to damage tissue collagen resulting in arthritic conditions. Natural remedies that support healthy collagen improve the health of joints, skin, hair and nails.
When you get a hawthorn berry, be sure to get the whole plant – leaves, flowers and berry. The berries contain more proanthocyanins while the flowers and leaves contain more vitexin. The most effective way to consume hawthorn if you cannot get it fresh is in dry and ground form. Here is the dried version and here is a combination of hawthorn with its cousin hibiscus in an organic tea
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Put the fresh plant or dried form in shakes or teas and consume daily. Due to its antioxidant and cardiovascular strengthening effects it is great to use before/after exercise. This improves exercise recovery by improving oxygen flow and neutralizes free radicals from damaged tissues.
You can also find a great herbal tincture that is easy to use. You can also use the Nutrigold Hawthorn Gold supplement here
Sources For This Article Include: 1. Tassell MC, Kingston R, Gilroy D, Lehane M, Furey A. Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Pharmacognosy Reviews. 2010;4(7):32-41. 2. Chang WT, Dao J, Shao ZH. Hawthorn: potential roles in cardiovascular disease. Am J Chin Med. 2005;33(1):1-10. PMID: 15844828 3. Rigelsky JM, Sweet BV. Hawthorn: pharmacology and therapeutic uses. It is