Hawthorn Berries For Heart Disease

Hawthorn Berries For Heart Disease – Hawthorn is often called the “herb of the heart” for its various heart-protective abilities. Prized for its ability to lift and strengthen the heart both emotionally and physically, the hawthorn berry has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for all kinds of serious heart problems. These include angina, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, irregular heartbeat and even heart failure.

In fact,  hawthorn has been used to treat heart disease as far back as the first century! Fast forward to the early 1800s and doctors in the United States were also using this medicinal plant for respiratory and circulatory ailments. (1)

Hawthorn Berries For Heart Disease

Hawthorn fruit, leaves and flowers are all used medicinally today. Hawthorn fruit comes in the form of small red berries. Native American tribes enjoyed eating them, and they also used hawthorn to treat heart problems, as well as gastrointestinal ailments. (2)

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What makes hawthorn berries so medicinal? It seems to be their numerous flavonoids to begin with. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants known to effectively reduce inflammation while boosting immune function. Eating a diet rich in flavonoid-rich foods, beverages and herbs has been linked to the prevention of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases as well as cancer. (3)

Let’s take a closer look at how a tiny hawthorn berry can actually improve the health of many.

The hawthorn bush, also called thorn bush or may tree, is a leafy plant. It is a member of the rose family (Rosaceae) belonging to the genus

. Hawthorn can come in the form of a thorn bush or a hawthorn tree. Hawthorns are most often found growing along the sides of sunny wooded hills. There are several species of hawthorn, many of which are found in North America. (4)

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A hawthorn plant has berries as well as flowers that bloom in May. Hawthorn flowers are red, pink or white. Small hawthorn berries appear after the flowers have bloomed. When fully ripe, hawthorn berries are usually red in color, but sometimes they are black. These berries are edible. How do they taste? Most people describe hawthorn berries as a combination of sweet and sour.

The hawthorn herb is loaded with health-enhancing compounds. These compounds have been shown to promote heart health. Hawthorn’s antioxidant flavonoids improve blood flow, protect against damage to blood vessels and even help dilate blood vessels. (5)

These flavonoids include OPC. What are OPCs? OPC stands for oligomeric proanthocyanidins. OPCs are some of the most common polyphenolic compounds found in plants. (6)

Hawthorn berries are best known for their helpful invigorating effect on the heart. As a “cardiac herb”, hawthorn has been shown to be incredibly helpful for all kinds of serious heart problems. These include heart failure, heart disease, angina, changes in heart rate and atherosclerosis. According to a 2016 study published in the journal

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So far, studies have shown that hawthorn can even have a beneficial effect on congestive heart failure (CHF). Many studies have shown that hawthorn supplementation has resulted in improved heart function across a number of parameters. These parameters include blood pressure, heart rate, cardiac output and exercise tolerance.

One study gave a special preparation of hawthorn leaves and flowers to 78 patients with NYHA Class II heart failure. After two months, patients who received 200 milligrams of hawthorn three times a day had increased heart capacity as well as reduced symptoms. The hawthorn group also showed a reduction in systolic blood pressure during physical exertion. Another German study also showed that hawthorn extract (LI132 Faros®) worked almost as well as a prescription heart failure drug (captopril). And the hawthorn extract had fewer side effects. (9)

) a special extract either alone or as an addition to conventional treatment. After two years,  fatigue, stress, and heart palpitations (the three main symptoms of heart failure) were significantly reduced in the hawthorn group compared to the non-hawthorn group. (10)

Many herbalists recommend hawthorn berries, flowers and leaves as a natural antihypertensive. A scientific study published in

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Had 79 type 2 diabetes patients either take 1200 milligrams of hawthorn extract per day or a placebo for a total of 16 weeks. Antihypertensive medications were also taken by 71 percent of the study participants.

What did they find? The hawthorn group experienced greater reductions in diastolic blood pressure. However, there were no group differences in systolic blood pressure reduction. (11) Hopefully more research will come soon to support the use of hawthorn to lower blood pressure.

Decreased blood flow to the heart causes chest pain known as angina. Sometimes it is confused with indigestion. But true angina can be a symptom of coronary artery disease. So far, studies have shown that hawthorn may be an effective natural remedy for preventing and treating angina.

, Hawthorn bioflavonoids help to dilate both peripheral and coronary arteries. This can improve blood flow to the heart, making hawthorn very useful for angina. Hawthorn’s proanthocyanidins are also believed to reduce tension in blood vessel walls. Again, this is very helpful in reducing angina. (12)

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In one study, 80 people (aged 45 to 65) with stable angina were randomly divided into four groups. The first group was the aerobic group. The second group took hawthorn extract. The third group did aerobic exercise in addition to taking hawthorn extract. Finally, the fourth group was the control group. After 12 weeks, the researchers found that the combination of aerobic exercise and a hawthorn supplement was “an effective adjunctive approach to significantly reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and heart problems.” (13)

Animal studies have shown that hawthorn berry extract can be a useful natural remedy for reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from the body. In China, hawthorn is called “Shan-Zha.” A study using animals showed very impressive health results from the ethanol extract of Zhongtian hawthorn, a cultivar of the wild Shan-Zha, which has larger hawthorns.

This 2016 study found that hawthorn berry extract not only reduced high cholesterol levels overall, but also specifically lowered LDL cholesterol, liver cholesterol, and triglycerides as well as body weight. (14)

Scientific studies conducted in 2008 revealed that hawthorn berry extract is excellent for reducing inflammation. This is huge for health as we know inflammation is at the root of most diseases.

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The study also shows that hawthorn berry extract is a free radical cleanser. This is very beneficial to human health as free radicals can cause cell damage (including DNA damage) by stealing electrons through a process called oxidation.

The 2008 animal study also showed how hawthorn berry extract has a protective effect on the digestive tract, and it appears to be able to successfully kill various types of unwanted bacteria. (15)

How can you incorporate hawthorn into your life? There are several possibilities. You can choose from Hawthorn Berry tea, either prepackaged or loose. You can often buy loose hawthorn in many health food stores. You can also take a Hawthorn supplement in capsule form or Hawthorn extract in liquid tincture form.

So far, safe hawthorn doses appear to be between 160 to 1,800 milligrams per day for a 3- to 24-week period. Noticeable improvement in symptoms may take six to 12 weeks. (18)

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You should not take hawthorn if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not give hawthorn products to children. Hawthorn supplementation is recommended for short-term use in adults. If any symptoms worsen while taking Hawthorn, you should discontinue use and seek emergency medical attention.

In some users, hawthorn may cause nausea, upset stomach, fatigue, sweating, headache, dizziness, palpitations, nosebleeds, insomnia, agitation, and other side effects.

Although hawthorn is known to be great for the heart, it can interact with prescription medications taken for heart conditions. Medications for other heart concerns, high blood pressure, and male sexual problems are also known to interact with hawthorn. Some specific medications known to potentially interact with hawthorn include digoxin, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers (CCBs), nitrates, phenylephrine, and phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors. If you have heart disease or other health problems or are taking medication/drugs, consult your doctor before taking a Hawthorn Berry product or any other Hawthorn supplement. (19, 20)

It is also important to note that heart failure is a very serious health condition. It is best not to self-treat with a hawthorn supplement if you suffer from this condition.

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Hawthorn Leaf And Flower Tea

These nutritious berries have a tart,