Hawthorn Berries Extract For Hypertension – Hawthorn berries are a group of woody plants in the rose family that are native to the temperate regions of Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America. The plant is considered sacred by parts of the Middle East. Many historians believe that this may have been the crown of thorns that Jesus wore during his crucifixion. In this article, you will discover 5 great benefits of hawthorn berries.
This medicinal herb is known as one of the best natural remedies for improving cardiovascular function. Commission E – an important branch of the German government that studies and approves natural therapies (1, 2) – approves hawthorn as a cardiovascular aid.
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In Europe, it is widely used to improve blood circulation, treat angina, high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia and congestive heart failure. It is known for strengthening the heart and blood vessels and restoring healthy muscle tone to the heart wall.
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Hawthorn berries are packed with a wide variety 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 berries have been well studied in individuals with congestive heart failure (4, 5). Five of the six major studies conducted showed a dramatic improvement in symptoms (such as shortness of breath and fatigue).
One study found that hawthorn (taken at 900 mg/day) for 2 months was as effective as low-dose captopril (a major heart drug) in improving common symptoms associated with congestive heart failure (6).
The unique blend of antioxidants in hawthorn creates a powerful vasodilating effect. It works by improving the function of the endothelium of blood vessels, where the vessel can open with less resistance. This allows for greater blood flow in the working tissues and improves oxygen utilization. This is mainly due to the flavonoids rutin and vitexin together with proanthocyanins (7, 8).
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Hawthorn improves the metabolism of heart cells and increases the flow of electrolytes through the heart cells. This prevents or corrects heart rhythm disturbances and strongly promotes a healthy heart rhythm.
Hawthorn contains flavones, which enhance the activity of certain heart enzymes. This effect increases the contractile force of the heart, effectively increasing stroke volume while increasing the heart’s tolerance to hypoxic conditions (9). It also improves the heart’s ability to generate energy through anaerobic metabolism, which improves the heart’s ability to withstand stress.
Hawthorn also works by inhibiting angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). Elevated ACE causes an increase in angiotensin II and systemic vasoconstriction. This process increases blood pressure.
By regulating ACE levels, hawthorn helps to normalize blood pressure and reduce the burden on the cardiovascular system. It usually takes two to four weeks for the body to adjust to hawthorn, and it has lasting effects on blood pressure (10, 11, 12).
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Hawthorn also helps protect joints with its unique blend of antioxidants. These phytonutrients defend against specific classes of free radicals known to damage collagen in tissues, resulting in arthritic conditions. Natural remedies that support healthy collagen improve joint, skin, hair and nail health.
When harvesting hawthorn berries, be sure to take the whole plant – leaves, flowers and berries. Berries contain more proanthocyanins, while flowers and leaves contain more vitexin. The most effective way to consume hawthorn, if you cannot get it fresh, is dried and ground. Here is the dried version and here is the combination of hawthorn and its relative hibiscus in an organic tea.
Add the fresh or dried plant to drinks or teas and enjoy every day. Due to its antioxidant and cardiovascular strengthening effects, it is excellent for use before and after exercise. This improves post-exercise recovery by improving oxygen flow and neutralizing the removal of free radicals from damaged tissues.
You can also find a great easy to use herbal tincture here. Here you can also use the nutritional supplement Nutrigold Hawthorn Gold
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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: possible roles in cardiovascular disease. Am J Chin Med. 2005;33(1):1-10. PMID: 15844828 3. Rigelsky JM, Sweet BV. Hawthorn: pharmacology and therapeutic use. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2002, March 1; 59 (5): 417-22. PMID: 11887407 4. Pittler MH, Guo R, Ernst E. Hawthorn extract for the treatment of chronic heart failure. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008, January 23; (1): CD005312. PMID: 18254076 5. Pittler MH, Schmidt K, Ernst E. Hawthorn extract for the treatment of chronic heart failure: a meta-analysis of randomized trials. Am J Med. 2003, June 1; 114 (8): 665-74. PMID: 12798455 6. Zick SM, Vautaw BM, Gillespie B, Aaronson KD. Randomized blinded trial of hawthorn extract in chronic heart failure (HERB CHF). European Journal of Heart Failure. 2009; 11 (10): 990-999. 7. Asher GN, Viera AJ, Weaver MA, Dominik R, Caughey M, Hinderliter AL. Effect of a standardized hawthorn extract on flow-mediated dilation in prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults: a randomized controlled crossover trial. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012, March 29; 12:26 p.m. PMID: 22458601 8. Botanical Preparations for Regulating Heart Rhythm Link Here 9. Elango C, Devaraj SN. Immunomodulatory effect of hawthorn extract in an experimental stroke model. J Nervousness. December 30, 2010; 7:97. PMID: 21192826 10. Walker AF, Marakis G, Morris AP, Robinson PA. Promising hypotensive effect of hawthorn extract: a randomized double-blind pilot study in mild, essential hypertension. Phytother Res. 2002, February; 16 (1): 48-54. PMID: 11807965 11. Dahmer S, Scott E. Health effects of hawthorn. I am a family doctor. February 15, 2010; 81 (4): 465-8. PMID: 20148500 12. Fong HH, Bauman JL. hawthorn. J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2002 Jul;16(4):1-8. PMID: 12597258
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These nutrient-rich berries have a tart, tangy flavor and mild sweetness. Colors range from yellow to dark red (
For hundreds of years, people have used hawthorn as an herbal remedy for digestive problems, heart problems and high blood pressure. In fact, strawberries have been a key part of traditional Chinese medicine since 659 AD (
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Antioxidants help neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals, which can harm the body when present in high levels.
Free radicals can come from certain foods. You can also have higher levels due to 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 reduced risk (
Although initial animal and cell research is promising, more human studies are needed to evaluate 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 many health benefits.
Research has shown that chronic inflammation is linked to many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, asthma, and certain types of cancer (
In a study in mice with liver disease, hawthorn berry extract significantly reduced levels of inflammatory compounds, resulting in reduced inflammation and liver damage (
In one study, researchers gave vitexin — a compound found in hawthorn leaves — to mice with respiratory disease. 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, more research is needed.
Summary Hawthorn berry extract has shown anti-inflammatory potential in both test-tube and animal studies. However, 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, which ultimately lowers 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.
Researchers found that those who took 500 mg of the extract daily experienced a reduction in diastolic blood pressure—the bottom number of the blood pressure reading (
In a 2006 study, researchers gave 1,200 mg of hawthorn extract every day for 16 weeks to 79 people with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. People who took the extract experienced a greater improvement in blood pressure than those in the placebo group (
However, more studies are needed to support these findings. It is also important to know that using the extract is not the same as eating 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 show that hawthorn extract can improve blood cholesterol levels due to its flavonoid and pectin content. Pectin is a type of fiber that participates in cholesterol metabolism (
Imbalanced blood cholesterol levels—particularly high triglycerides and low HDL (good) cholesterol—play a role in atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels (
If plaque continues to build up, it can completely block a