Hawthorn Berries Good For – Hawthorn berries are small fruits that can be found on shrubs or trees belonging to the Crataegus family. This category of plants includes more than 100 trees and shrubs found throughout Europe, Asia and North America.
A distinctive feature of hawthorn is its high nutritional content, sour taste and relatively little sweetness. The color of hawthorn berries can vary from pale yellow to black.
Hawthorn Berries Good For
For a long time, hawthorn has been used as a medicinal plant that helps normalize digestion, heart muscle function and blood pressure levels. For the same reason, fruits of hawthorn are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Let’s look further at what hawthorn is for and how to use it properly.
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As we know, hawthorn berries contain a large amount of polyphenols, which are among the strong antioxidants of vegetable origin. When ingested by the human body, they allow to neutralize the negative effects of free radicals – unstable molecules that lead to the destruction of certain cells. Concentrations of unwanted molecules can increase as a result of incorrect diet, negative environmental effects in the form of polluted air and bad habits such as smoking.
Due to their high antioxidant activity, scientists have linked the introduction of polyphenols in the diet to a reduced risk of diseases such as:
And while initial studies in the above areas have shown encouraging results, researchers insist that more experiments are needed to determine the effect of hawthorn on various diseases.
Adding hawthorn berries to your diet can reduce inflammation, which can improve the condition of your body. According to research, chronic inflammation causes a number of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, asthma and many others.
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In one experiment, it was found that in mice with liver disease, hawthorn could reduce inflammatory compounds. At the same time, in another group of rodents suffering from asthma, the product eliminated symptoms of the disease.
Corresponding results of animal studies have shown that supplements can have anti-inflammatory effects, also in humans. But more research is needed to confirm this feature.
Hawthorn has been used for many years in Chinese medicine to lower blood pressure. Researchers attribute this use to the berry’s ability to dilate blood vessels, leading to normalization of blood pressure.
In a 10-week study in people with high blood pressure, researchers found that regular consumption of 500 milligrams of hawthorn extract reduced diastolic blood pressure, but had no effect on blood pressure.
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In another experiment involving 79 people with type 2 diabetes, researchers found that 1,200 milligrams of hawthorn extract was more effective at normalizing blood pressure than moderate amounts. In those with normal blood pressure, however, intake of this substance did not result in any changes for the worse or for the better.
It is not uncommon to find hawthorn as one of the ingredients in cosmetic products designed to protect against hair loss or to stimulate hair growth. For example, one of the experiments on rats showed that adding hawthorn extract to the diet increases the size and number of hair follicles, which improves hair quality and ensures its increased growth.
According to researchers, the effect described above is due to the high content of polyphenols. Despite this, the number of studies in this area of hawthorn use is relatively small. Therefore, a number of further experiments are required to confirm this effect.
Some studies show that including hawthorn fruits in the diet can normalize blood fat levels, namely triglycerides and cholesterol. These trace elements are responsible for transporting nutrients and hormones throughout the body. However, this function is only respected if their levels are within normal limits.
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Elevated levels of triglycerides and cholesterol with a parallel decrease in HDL (good cholesterol) can lead to the development of atherosclerosis and the accumulation of cholesterol plaques on the vessel walls. The latter process can cause complete blockage of blood vessels and consequently lead to stroke or heart attack.
During one of the studies, researchers found that in mice with hawthorn extract in the diet, the level of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) decreased by 28-47 percent, and with it the amount of triglycerides. At the same time, another study showed that the effectiveness of the plant is comparable to special drugs for normalizing cholesterol levels. However, unlike drugs, fruit extracts were more effective in lowering LDL levels.
Hawthorn fruits have been used in folk medicine for several hundred years to normalize gastrointestinal function. They can eliminate abdominal pain and upset stomach. Scientists attribute the corresponding property to the high content of fiber, which eliminates constipation, improves digestion and acts on the body as a probiotic.
Probiotics are substances needed to promote healthy intestinal bacteria and normalize digestion. One study found that in individuals with delayed digestion, regular intake of fiber shortened the period between bowel movements by an average of 30 minutes.
Ripe Bright Red Hawthorn Berry On Branches With Green Leaves. Concept Useful Medicinal Plant Of Crataegus Monogyna With Mature Berries Stock Photo
In addition, researchers have found that hawthorn extract can shorten the time it takes for food to pass through the gastrointestinal tract. This helps speed up a number of processes and eliminate symptoms of stomach upset in a shorter time. In addition, this product has been able to protect the stomach from damage in participants suffering from ulcers.
One of the distinctive properties of hawthorn is its mild calming effect on the body, which allows you to reduce feelings of anxiety. Despite this, research on the effect of hawthorn on blood pressure has shown that this product has a negligible effect on anxiety levels. However, in another experiment, combining the berries of this plant with magnesium and maca led to significant reductions in feelings of anxiety and worry.
Based on the fact that taking hawthorn has minimal side effects compared to anti-anxiety medications, researchers continue to study its effects on the central nervous system. In addition, researchers suggest that this product can be used to treat CNS disorders and depression.
If you want to use hawthorn extract or fruits of this plant to reduce anxiety, restlessness or treat depression, you should stop taking other medications first and consult your doctor.
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Often, the benefits of hawthorn are compared to traditional medicines for the treatment of heart failure. An analysis of 14 different experiments done on different age groups showed that using hawthorn in combination with heart failure medicine improved the heart’s function and its ability to withstand high physical activity. At the same time, participants in the experiment experienced a reduction in shortness of breath and an increase in endurance.
A two-year study, which included about 950 people with heart failure, found that hawthorn berries were able to normalize heart rhythm and relieve dyspnea more effectively than a placebo. In addition, the group taking hawthorn required less medication to treat heart disease.
Another study involving more than 2,600 people with heart failure symptoms found that hawthorn extract may reduce the risk of death from heart disease.
Due to the health benefits of hawthorn described above, doctors strongly recommend using this product along with medications to treat heart failure. They also note that supplementation is not dangerous to human health and has minimal side effects.
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Hawthorn berries are extremely rare to find in grocery stores. But they can be easily purchased in specialized online stores.
As a rule, hawthorn tablets contain not only berries of plants, but also leaves and flowers. This is because the concentration of useful substances in the latter two products is much higher than in fruit.
Recommendations for the use of hawthorn may vary depending on the form. So, for example, for the treatment of heart failure, extracts should be used in the amount of 300 milligrams per day, while the recommended amount of consumption in natural form is from 250 to 500 milligrams.
It is worth noting that the composition of dietary supplements in most cases is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Therefore, it is impossible to know the effectiveness or safety of a particular supplement.
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When purchasing supplements, look for products that have been quality-assured by independent sources such as the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), ConsumerLab or NSF International.
Although the number of side effects when taking hawthorn is relatively low, doctors recommend including this product in the diet with extreme caution. This is because some people have experienced dizziness and nausea when consuming extracts of this plant.
Researchers have also noted that due to its strong effect on the heart muscle, hawthorn can somehow affect the effect of certain medications. Therefore, before including it in the diet, you should definitely consult with your doctor.
Doctors often attribute useful properties of hawthorn to the high content of antioxidants. Including them in the diet can have a positive effect on health and heart muscle function. Studies show that this product can, among other things, normalize blood pressure, reduce triglycerides and “bad” cholesterol in the blood. In addition, its intake can improve hair growth and eliminate inflammatory processes that lead to the development of dangerous diseases.
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If you want to include hawthorn fruit or supplements of the same name in your diet, consult your doctor in advance.
In our blog: You will find posts from Vietnamese doctors and our editors on various health news and issues. The hawthorn berry, also known as “haw”, has been a popular ingredient in desserts and wines and an important medicinal herb for thousands of years. In ancient Rome, it was used to relieve diarrhea. It is also a staple herb in traditional Chinese medicine. In the Middle Ages, Europeans used it to keep their hearts healthy.
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