Hawthorn Berries Side Effects – Written by Ariane Lang, BSc, MBA and SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD – Clinically revised by Kathy W. Warwick, R.D., CDE, Nutrition – Updated December 13, 2021
These nutritious berries have a tart, sweet flavor and medium sweetness. They vary in color from yellow to dark red (
Hawthorn Berries Side Effects
For hundreds of years, people have used the hawthorn berry as an herbal remedy for digestive problems, heart issues and high blood pressure. In fact, the mulberry has been a key ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine since at least 659 A.D.
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Antioxidants help reduce unstable molecules called free radicals that can harm your body when present in high levels.
Free radicals can come from certain foods. You may have high levels of them due to exposure to environmental toxins such as air pollution and secondhand smoke (
Polyphenols are associated with many health benefits due to their antioxidant activity, including a lower risk of (
Although initial research in animals and cells is promising, more human studies are needed to evaluate the effects of hawthorn berries on the risk of disease.
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Summary Hawthorn berries contain plant polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties that have been linked to many health benefits.
Research has found that chronic inflammation is linked to many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, asthma, and certain cancers (
In a study on mice with liver disease, hawthorn berry extract significantly reduced levels of inflammation, leading to reduced liver inflammation and damage (
In one study, researchers gave vitexin – a compound found in hawthorn leaves – to rats with respiratory conditions. This treatment reduces the production of inflammatory molecules and reduces 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 in humans. However, more research is needed.
Summary Hawthorn berry extract has shown anti-inflammatory potential in test-tube and animal studies. Still, human research is needed.
In traditional Chinese medicine, hawthorn berry is one of the most common foods recommended to help treat high blood pressure.
Animal studies show that hawthorn can act as a vasodilator, meaning it can relax constricted blood vessels, ultimately lowering blood pressure (
Pdf) Health Benefits And Side Effects Of Hawthorn
A 10-week study looked at the effects of taking hawthorn extract in 36 people with high blood pressure.
The researchers found that those who took 500 mg of the extract daily had reduced diastolic blood pressure – the lowest number of blood pressure.
In a 2006 study, researchers gave 1, 200 mg of hawthorn extract to 79 people with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure daily for 16 weeks. People taking the extract experienced more improvement in blood pressure than those in the placebo group (
However, more studies are needed to support these findings. It is also important to note that using the extract is not the same as eating berries.
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Summary Some research shows that hawthorn berries can lower blood pressure by helping to widen blood vessels. However, further studies are needed.
Some research shows that hawthorn extract can improve blood cholesterol levels due to its flavonoid and pectin content. Pectin is a type of fiber involved in cholesterol metabolism (
Unbalanced blood cholesterol levels – especially high triglycerides and low HDL (good) cholesterol – play a role in atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup in your blood vessels.
If the plaque continues to grow, it can completely block the blood vessel, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
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In one animal study, mice that received two doses of hawthorn extract had lower cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, and 28-47% lower liver triglyceride, compared to mice that did not receive the extract.
Similarly, a 6-week study on rats showed that when the rats were fed hawthorn berry supplements, they significantly reduced the levels of triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol (bad cholesterol).
Finally, a 6-month study of 64 people with atherosclerosis found that taking hawthorn extract in a dose of 2.3 mg per kilogram (5 mg per kilogram) of body weight significantly reduced the size of the dangerous plaque buildup in the carotid artery.
Although this research is promising, more human studies are needed to test the effect of hawthorn extract on blood cholesterol.
The Benefits Of Hawthorn Berry & Leaf Extract
Summary Research in animals and humans suggests that taking hawthorn extract can help reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, human research is needed.
People have used hawthorn berries and extract for centuries to treat digestive issues, especially vomiting and stomach pain (
Berries contain fiber, which has been shown to aid digestion by reducing constipation and acting as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are foods that nourish and promote healthy gut bacteria, which are important for maintaining healthy digestion (
One observational study in people with slow digestion found that each additional gram of dietary fiber people ate was associated with a 30-minute reduction in time between bowel movements.
Health Benefits Of Hawthorn Berry
Additionally, a rat study found that hawthorn extract significantly reduced the time it took food to pass through the digestive tract (
Furthermore, research on mice suggests that compounds in hawthorn berries can improve the production and activity of digestive enzymes – those that are necessary for eating fatty and protein foods.
Summary People have used the hawthorn berry as a digestive aid for centuries. It can help relieve constipation and improve the production of enzymes needed to digest fatty foods and protein.
Hawthorn berries can prevent premature skin aging caused by the degradation of collagen due to excessive sun exposure or ultraviolet light.
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Another test tube study found that a mixture of hawthorn and ginseng extract can prevent signs of aging by preventing the formation of wrinkles and increasing skin moisture.
Research shows that this effect may be due to the antioxidant properties of the hawthorn berry. However, research in this area is limited, and human studies are needed.
Summary Some research shows that hawthorn berries can 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 not clear what role hawthorn plays (
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Hawthorn appears to have fewer side effects compared to traditional anti-anxiety medications. That’s one reason scientists continue to research it as a potential treatment for central nervous system disorders such as anxiety and depression (
However, these studies used different types of hawthorn products, not berry in particular. More research is needed.
If you want to try a hawthorn supplement to manage your anxiety, don’t stop using your current medications, and be sure to discuss it with a healthcare professional beforehand to make sure it’s safe for you.
Summary Scientists are investigating hawthorn supplements as a potential treatment for anxiety. However, at the moment there is not much research about this purpose. Additional studies of the effects of hawthorn berry on anxiety are needed.
Hawthorn (crataegus Oxycantha)
The Hawthorn berry is well known for its traditional use in the treatment of heart failure, as well as other folk remedies. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart cannot pump blood properly.
Several studies have suggested that hawthorn berry may have positive effects without serious side effects in people with heart disease (
Studies show improvements in heart function and heart failure symptoms—such as shortness of breath and fatigue (
However, some evidence has suggested that hawthorn may be harmful in certain cases of heart failure. Some studies have found that taking it along with conventional medicine increases the risk that heart failure will develop (
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Summary In some folk remedies, people often take hawthorn berry alongside other folk remedies for heart failure. However, it can be dangerous when combined with common heart failure medications.
Hawthorn berries can be hard to find in your local grocery store. However, you may be able to find it at farmers markets and specialty health food stores.
Hawthorn berry supplements often contain the berries as well as the leaves and flowers, although some include only the leaves and flowers.
Different brands and types of hawthorn supplements have different dosing recommendations. Usual doses are 250-500 mg three times a day. However, research has yet to find an effective dose (
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Keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements such as hawthorn under a stricter set of regulations than over-the-counter or prescription drugs.
Look for products that have received the seal of approval from independent organizations that evaluate efficacy and quality, such as the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, or ConsumerLab.
Summary You can eat hawthorn berries in many ways or take them as a supplement. However, optimal doses have not been defined and more research is needed.
No side effects have been reported from taking hawthorn berries. Those present appear to range from mild to moderate.
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The most frequently reported symptoms were sweating, headache, drowsiness, palpitations, mild rash, restlessness, and gastrointestinal effects (
While these are not life-threatening events, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider if you experience any of these symptoms.
Summary Side effects from eating hawthorn berries are usually mild. They usually include sweating, headache, drowsiness, heart palpitations, mild rash, tremors, and gastrointestinal effects.
The use of herbal medicine as an alternative treatment for many diseases is increasing