Hawthorn Berries Dissolves Blood Clots – Hawthorn is a small thorny tree with white flowers and red berries that grows in England and throughout Europe.
Although known and used by the Greek physician Dioscorides, hawthorn became popular in Europe and the United States in the late nineteenth century.
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In countries like Germany, where doctors prescribe the herb and monitor its use, hawthorn is widely used to treat angina pectoris and the early stages of congestive heart failure (New York Heart Association grades I and II).
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In the United States, where medicinal plants are primarily used as home remedies, hawthorn has been much less well known. Heart failure of any degree is generally not considered suitable for self-medication, so anyone choosing to use hawthorn should be carefully monitored.
The plant parts used are leaves, flowers and berries (haws), standardized for their procyanidin content.
Hawthorn flowers, leaves and berries contain 1 to 3 percent of compounds called oligomeric procyanidins, also called pycnogenols or leucoanthocyanidins.
There are also flavonoids, which make up about 1 or 2 percent of the plant. The flowers and fruits are the richest in total flavonoids and also contain the most hyperosides.
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Other components include purines, sterols and amines, some of which can stimulate the heart. In addition, there are also orientin glycosides, cyanogenetic glycosides and saponins.
Hawthorn dilates blood vessels. This activity helps to lower blood pressure, and since it also dilates the coronary vessels, the chances of angina are reduced. It does not work fast enough to be useful once an angina episode has started. A certain effect on the heart develops rather slowly, but is beneficial, for example, a gentle “heart tonic”.
Animal studies show that hawthorn extracts can also lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It may also have a normalizing effect on blood sugar levels, although it is not considered suitable for treating diabetes.
In Germany it is indicated for certain irregular heart rhythms and is part of some geriatric tonics for aging hearts that do not yet need digitalis.
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Hawthorn extract inhibits the formation of thromboxane (which may reduce the risk of blood clots) and also has antioxidant properties.
The daily dose ranges from 160 mg to 900 mg of hawthorn extract, which provides 4 to 20 mg of flavonoids (standardized) and 30 to 160 mg of oligomeric procyanidins.
The minimum daily dose should provide 5 mg of flavones (calculated as hyperoside), 10 mg of total flavonoids (again calculated as hyperoside), or 5 mg of oligomeric procyanidins (calculated as epicatechin).
If the leaves and flowers themselves are used instead of a standardized extract, a tea is made by steeping a teaspoon of the herb in 2/3 cup of boiling water, steeping for twenty minutes, and straining. Two cups a day of such teas is the usual dose.
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The dried herb should be stored in a tightly closed container away from light to preserve its potency.
The treatment period is six weeks to determine if hawthorn has the desired effect. The supervising physician should adjust the dose as necessary.
Adequate research has not been done to prove that hawthorn is safe for pregnant and nursing mothers; indeed, the extract may reduce uterine tone and should be avoided during pregnancy.
People with serious heart problems and those taking other heart or blood pressure medications should consult their doctor before taking hawthorn.
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No side effects have been reported at usual doses. At very high doses, animals become sedated and humans may experience symptoms of low blood pressure, such as dizziness.
Hawthorn extracts may increase the activity (but not necessarily the toxicity) of other cardiac tonics such as digitalis. It is not recommended for people whose heart disease is severe enough to require Lanoxin or other digoxin medications.
Although no other interactions have been reported, caution advises caution when combining hawthorn with other heart or blood pressure medications (such as nitrates or calcium channel blockers).
Since hawthorn inhibits the synthesis of thromboxane, it may be incompatible with aspirin, which has a similar action. Careful monitoring of bleeding time (using PT and INR) is important when hawthorn extract is used with anticoagulants such as Coumadin. Please discuss these potential interactions with your doctor.
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Hawthorn is the oldest European medicinal plant. Its flowers, leaves and berries are highly valued, especially as a medicine for heart ailments. This herb may provide additional benefits for people with high cholesterol, diabetes, and anxiety. Read on to learn more about hawthorn and how to use it safely.
Hawthorns (Crataegus spp.) are thorny trees or shrubs with white flowers and red berries. Although the name “Hawthorn” originally referred to the common hawthorn (C. monogyna), it is now used for the entire genus and even its relatives (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, plums and cherries (Rosaceae) .
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Hawthorn is the oldest known medicinal plant in Europe and its use was first documented 2000 years ago. It is used in European and American folk medicine [3+, 4+, 2]:
The German Commission E approved the use of hawthorn in mild heart failure in the 1980s. Hawthorn extracts are mainly obtained from common and English (C. laevigata) hawthorn, their hybrids and other European species [3+].
Extracts used in Europe and America are obtained from berries, leaves and flowers. Berries should contain at least 1% procyanidins, while leaves and flowers need a minimum flavonoid content of 1.5% [1+].
In China, only berries and leaves are used. The requirements are not specified for berries, but the leaves should contain at least 7% flavonoids and 0.05% hyperoside [1+].
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The berries are also eaten fresh or used to make wine, jam and candies in both China and Europe [1+].
Flavonoids are most concentrated in flowers. Berries are also rich in them, but cooked less. Leaves contain more vitexin and oligomeric proanthocyanidins [10, 11+].
Although not FDA approved, hawthorn extract is commercially available as a supplement, especially for heart disease. Regulations set production standards but do not guarantee that they are safe or effective. Talk to your doctor before using hawthorn to avoid unexpected interactions.
Although conventional therapies improve symptoms and reduce mortality, people with heart failure often have a reduced quality of life. Hawthorn can be combined with drugs and implantable devices to improve heart failure .
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Hawthorn extract (240–1,800 mg/day), alone or as adjunctive therapy, improves mild heart failure, according to two meta-analyses and 8 studies with more than 4,000 people. This increased pumping power while reducing fatigue and shortness of breath [12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21].
However, the extract did not improve symptoms of heart failure in 2 studies of nearly 3,000 people who also took conventional drugs; it only reduced the risk of sudden death. However, the dose may have been insufficient because most subjects had moderate to severe heart failure [22, 23].
Homeopathic hawthorn remedies are also used, although they may not contain the active ingredients. In one trial with more than 200 people, homeopathic hawthorn (10-20 drops, 3 times a day) was as effective as conventional medicine. However, the study suffered from several shortcomings (lack of randomization and blinding, assessment of subjective parameters, and short follow-up) [24+].
Venous blood can stagnate in the legs of people with heart failure, causing swelling. In two studies involving more than 1000 people with heart failure, hawthorn extract (900 mg daily) reduced leg swelling [14, 15].
Hawthorn (shan Zha)
In mice and cells,
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