Hawthorn Berries Blood Thinner – 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 nutritious berries have a sharp, spicy taste and mild sweetness. They range in color from yellow to dark red (
Hawthorn Berries Blood Thinner
For hundreds of years, people have used hawthorn berry 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 659 AD (
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Antioxidants help neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals, which can harm your body when present at high levels.
Free radicals can come from certain foods. You may also have higher levels of them as a result of exposure to environmental toxins such as air pollution and cigarette smoke (
Polyphenols are associated with many health benefits due to their antioxidant activity, including a lower risk of (
Although initial research in animals and cells is promising, more human studies are needed to assess the effects of hawthorn berries on the risk of disease.
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Summary Hawthorn berry contains plant polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties associated with many health benefits.
Research has found that chronic inflammation is linked to many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, asthma and certain 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 (
In one study, researchers gave vitexin—a compound present in hawthorn leaves—to mice with respiratory conditions. 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 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. Nevertheless, research in humans is needed.
In traditional Chinese medicine, hawthorn berry is one of the most 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 (
The Benefits Of Hawthorn Berry
A 10-week study looked at the effects of hawthorn extract in 36 people with mildly elevated blood pressure.
The researchers found that those taking 500 mg of the extract daily had reduced diastolic blood pressure – the lowest number of a 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 daily for 16 weeks. People who took the extract experienced greater blood pressure improvements than those in the placebo group (
Nevertheless, more studies are needed to support these findings. It is also important to note that using an extract is not the same as eating the berries.
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Summary Some research suggests that hawthorn berries may reduce blood pressure by dilating blood vessels. However, further studies are needed.
Some studies show that hawthorn extract can improve blood cholesterol levels due to its flavonoid and pectin content. Pectin is a type of fiber that is involved in cholesterol metabolism (
Imbalanced blood cholesterol levels — particularly high triglycerides and low HDL (good) cholesterol — play a role in atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup in your blood vessels (
If plaque continues to build up, it can completely block a blood vessel, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
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In an 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 berry supplements, they significantly reduced levels of fasting triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol
Finally, a 6-month study in 64 people with atherosclerosis found that hafthorn 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.
Incredible Health Benefits Of Hawthorn Fruit
Summary Research in animals and humans suggests that hafthorn extract may help reduce 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 (
The 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 vital to maintaining healthy digestion (
An observational study in people with slow digestion found that every additional gram of dietary fiber people consumed was associated with a 30-minute decrease in the time between bowel movements (
Hawthorn: Benefits, Side Effects, And Preparations
In addition, a rat study observed that hawthorn extract dramatically reduced the intestinal transit time of food in the digestive system (
In addition, research in rodents suggests that compounds in hawthorn berries can improve the production and activity of digestive enzymes—namely, those needed for the digestion of fatty and protein-rich foods (
Summary People have used hawthorn berry as a digestive aid for centuries. It can help relieve constipation and improve 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 light exposure.
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A test-tube study found that a mixture of hawthorn and ginseng extract can prevent the signs of aging by inhibiting wrinkle formation and increasing skin moisture (
Research suggests that this effect may be due to the antioxidant content of the hawthorn berry. 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 as a result of their antioxidant content.
In an older study in 264 people with anxiety, a combination of hawthorn extract, magnesium and California poppy 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. That’s one reason why scientists continue to pursue 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 manage your anxiety, don’t stop using your current medication, and be sure to discuss it with a healthcare professional to make sure it’s safe for you.
Summary Scientists are investigating hawthorn supplements as a potential treatment for anxiety. However, currently there is not much research on them for this purpose. More studies on the effects of hawthorn berry on anxiety are needed.
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Hawthorn berry is best known for its use in traditional contexts in the treatment of heart failure, alongside other traditional medicines. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart cannot pump blood properly.
Multiple studies have suggested that hawthorn berry can have a positive effect without severe negative effects in people with heart failure (
Studies mostly show improvements in heart function and heart failure symptoms — such as shortness of breath and fatigue (
However, some evidence has suggested that hawthorn may be harmful in certain cases of heart failure. One study found that taking it alongside conventional treatments increases the risk of heart failure progressing (
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Summary In some traditional medicine practices, people commonly take hawthorn berry alongside other traditional medicines for heart failure. However, it can be harmful when combined with conventional heart failure medications.
Hawthorn berries can be hard to find in your local grocery store. However, you can find it at farmers markets and specialty health food stores.
Hawthorn berry supplements usually contain the berry along with the leaves and flowers, although some only contain the leaves and flowers.
Different brands and forms of hawthorn supplements have different dosage recommendations. Typical dosages are 250-500 mg three times a day. However, research has yet to determine an optimal effective dose (
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Keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements like hawthorn under a less strict set of regulations than over-the-counter or prescription drugs.
Look for products that have received a seal of approval from independent organizations that assess the effectiveness and quality of the supplement, such as 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 more research is needed.
Not many side effects have been reported from the consumption of hawthorn berries. Those that do exist seem to range from mild to moderate.
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The most common ones people have reported are sweating, headache, drowsiness, palpitations, mild rash, agitation, and gastrointestinal effects (
Although 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 consuming hawthorn berries tend to be mild. They often include sweating, headache, drowsiness, palpitations, mild rash, agitation and gastrointestinal effects.
The use of medicinal herbs as alternative treatments for various diseases has become more and more