Hawthorn Berries Organic

Hawthorn Berries Organic – 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 nutrient-rich berries have a tart, tangy flavor and a mild sweetness. They range in color from yellow to dark red (

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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 an important 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 in high concentrations.

Free radicals can come from certain foods. You can also get more of it as a result of exposure to environmental toxins such as air pollution and cigarette smoke (

Polyphenols are associated with numerous health benefits due to their antioxidant activity, including a lower risk of (

While initial research in animals and cells is promising, more studies in humans are needed to assess the effects of hawthorn berries on disease risk.

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Summary Hawthorn berry contains plant polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties that have been linked to numerous 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 diseases. This treatment reduced the production of molecules that cause inflammation and decreased 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 for humans. However, more research is needed.

Summary Hawthorn berry extract has demonstrated 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 to help treat high blood pressure (

Animal studies show that hawthorn can act as a vasodilator, meaning it can relax narrowed blood vessels and ultimately lower 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.

The researchers found that those who took 500 mg of the extract daily had reduced diastolic blood pressure — the lowest figure of any 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. The people who took the extract experienced more blood pressure improvements than those in the placebo group (

Still, more studies are needed to substantiate these findings. It is also important to note that using an extract is not the same as eating the berries.

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Bottom Line: Some research suggests that hawthorn berries may lower blood pressure by helping blood vessels widen. However, further studies are needed.

Some studies indicate that hawthorn extract can improve blood cholesterol levels thanks to its flavonoid and pectin content. Pectin is a type of fiber involved in cholesterol metabolism (

Imbalanced blood cholesterol levels — especially high triglycerides and low HDL (good) cholesterol — play a role in atherosclerosis, or the formation of plaque in your arteries (

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 one 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 not given the extract (

Similarly, a 6-week study in rats showed that when rats were given hawthorn berry supplements, they had significantly lower levels of fasting triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol (

Finally, a 6-month study in 64 people with atherosclerosis found that taking hawthorn 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 (

While this research is promising, more human studies are needed to assess the effect of hawthorn extract on blood cholesterol levels.

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Bottom Line: Research in animals and humans suggests that taking hawthorn extract may help lower 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 proven to aid digestion by reducing constipation and acting as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are foods that nourish and promote healthy gut bacteria, which are essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system (

An observational study in people with slow digestion found that every extra gram of dietary fiber people consumed was associated with a 30-minute decrease in the time between bowel movements (

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In addition, a study in rats found that hawthorn extract drastically reduced the intestinal transit time of food in the digestive system (

In addition, research in rodents suggests that compounds in hawthorn berries may enhance the production and activity of digestive enzymes, namely those necessary for the digestion of fatty and protein-rich foods (

Summary Humans have used the hawthorn berry for centuries as a digestive aid. It can help relieve constipation and increase the production of enzymes needed to digest fatty and protein-rich foods.

Hawthorn berries can help prevent premature skin aging caused by collagen breakdown due to overexposure to the sun or ultraviolet light.

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A test-tube study found that a mixture of hawthorn and ginseng extracts could prevent signs of aging by inhibiting the formation of wrinkles and increasing skin moisture (

Research suggests that this effect may be due to the antioxidant content of the hawthorn berry. Nevertheless, research in this area is limited and studies in humans are needed.

Summary Some research suggests that hawthorn berries may help reduce the signs of aging due to their antioxidant content.

In an older study of 264 people with anxiety, a combination of hawthorn extract, magnesium, and California poppy flower significantly reduced anxiety levels compared to a placebo. However, it is unclear what specific role hawthorn played (

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Hawthorn seems to have few side effects compared to traditional anti-anxiety drugs. That’s one of the reasons scientists continue to explore it as a potential treatment for central nervous system conditions like anxiety and depression (

However, different types of hawthorn products have been used in these studies, not necessarily the berry specifically. More research is needed.

If you’d like to try a hawthorn supplement to help manage your anxiety, don’t stop taking your current medications and discuss it with a healthcare provider beforehand to make sure it’s safe for you.

Summary Scientists are investigating hawthorn supplements as a potential treatment for anxiety. At the moment, however, not much research has been done on them for this purpose. More research is needed on hawthorn berry’s effects on anxiety.

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Hawthorn berry is best known for its use in traditional contexts in the treatment of heart failure, among other traditional medicines. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart cannot pump blood properly.

Multiple studies have suggested that hawthorn berry may have beneficial effects without serious side effects in people with heart failure (

Studies usually show improvements in heart function and heart failure symptoms, such as shortness of breath and fatigue (

However, there is some evidence that hawthorn may be harmful in certain cases of heart failure. One study found that taking it alongside conventional treatments increased the risk of worsening heart failure (

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Summary In some traditional medicine, people often take hawthorn berry in addition to other traditional medicines for heart failure. However, it can be harmful when combined with conventional heart failure medications.

Hawthorn berry may be hard to find at your local grocery store. However, you may be able to 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 contain only 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 medications.

Look for products that have been certified by independent organizations that assess the effectiveness and quality of supplements, 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, the correct doses are still not defined and more research is needed.

Not many side effects have been reported from taking hawthorn berries. The existing ones seem to range from mild to moderate.

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The most common side effects people have reported are sweating, headache, drowsiness, palpitations, mild rash, agitation, and gastrointestinal effects (

While these are not life-threatening events, if you experience any of these symptoms, talk to a healthcare provider.

Bottom Line: Side effects of consuming hawthorn berries are usually mild. They often include sweating, headache, drowsiness, palpitations, mild rashes, agitation, and gastrointestinal effects.

The use of medicinal herbs as alternative treatments for various diseases is increasing

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