Hawthorn Berries Supplement Benefits – Written by Ariane Lang, BSc, MBA and SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD – Medically reviewed by Kathy W. Warwick, R.D., CDE, Nutrition – Updated on December 13, 2021
This nutrient-rich berry has a tart, tangy flavor and mild sweetness. They range in color from yellow to dark red (
Hawthorn Berries Supplement Benefits
For hundreds of years, people have used hawthorn berries 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 that can damage your body when they are present in high levels.
Free radicals can come from certain foods. You can also get high levels of them as a result of exposure to environmental toxins such as air pollution and cigarette smoke (
Polyphenols are associated with many health benefits due to their antioxidant activity, including reduced risk (
Although preliminary research in animals and cells is promising, more human studies are needed to evaluate the effects of horn berries on disease risk.
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Summary The hawthorn berry contains plant polyphenols, which 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 some cancers (
In a study in mice with liver disease, hawthorn berry extract significantly reduced levels of inflammatory compounds, which in turn reduced liver inflammation and injury (
In one study, researchers gave vitexin — a compound found in hawthorn leaves — to mice with respiratory conditions. This treatment reduces the production of molecules that trigger inflammation 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 offer anti-inflammatory benefits for humans. However, more research is needed.
Summary Hawthorn berry extract has shown anti-inflammatory potential in test-tube and animal studies. Still, research in humans is needed.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the hawthorn berry is a commonly recommended food to help treat high blood pressure (
Animal studies show that hawthorn can act as a vasodilator, meaning it can relax blood vessels, ultimately lowering blood pressure (
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A 10-week study looked at the effects of hawthorn extract in 36 people who had low blood pressure.
The researchers found that people who took 500 milligrams of the extract daily had lower diastolic blood pressure — the bottom number of the blood pressure reading (
In a 2006 study, researchers gave 79 people with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure 1,200 milligrams of hawthorn extract every day for 16 weeks. People who took this extract experienced greater blood pressure improvement than the placebo group (
Still, more studies are needed to back up these findings. It is also important to remember that consuming an extract is not the same as eating the berries.
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Summary Some research suggests that hawthorn berries may lower blood pressure by helping to dilate blood vessels. However, more studies are needed.
Some studies show that hawthorn extract can improve blood cholesterol levels thanks to its flavonoid and pectin content. Pectin is a type of fiber that is involved in cholesterol metabolism (
Imbalanced blood cholesterol levels — especially high triglycerides and low HDL (good) cholesterol — contribute to atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels (
If plaque continues to form, it can completely block a blood vessel, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
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In an animal study, mice that received two doses of hawthorn extract had lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, as well as 28-47% lower liver triglyceride levels, compared to mice that received not done (
Similarly, a 6-week study in mice found that when mice were fed a hawthorn berry supplement, their fasting triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels decreased.
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 formation in the carotid artery. .
Although this research is promising, more human studies are needed to evaluate the effect of hawthorn extract on blood cholesterol.
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Summary Research in animals and humans suggests that taking hawthorn extract helps lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, more human research is needed.
People have used hawthorn berries and extracts for centuries to treat digestive problems, especially indigestion and colic.
Berries contain fiber, which has been proven to aid digestion and act as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are foods that promote healthy gut bacteria, which are important for maintaining healthy digestion (
An observational study in people with slow digestion found that each additional gram of dietary fiber consumed was associated with a 30-minute reduction in the time between bowel movements.
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Additionally, a rat study observed that hawthorn extract dramatically reduced the gut transit time of food in the digestive system (
In addition, research in rodents suggests that compounds in hawthorn berries can increase the production and activity of digestive enzymes—those needed to digest foods rich in fat and protein (
Summary People have used hawthorn berries as a digestive aid for centuries. It may help relieve constipation and increase the production of enzymes needed to digest foods rich in fat and protein.
Hawthorn berries may help prevent premature skin aging caused by the breakdown of collagen caused by excessive sun or ultraviolet light exposure.
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A test tube study found that a combination of hawthorn and ginseng extracts can prevent signs of aging by preventing the formation of wrinkles and increasing skin moisture (
Research suggests that this effect may be due to the antioxidant content of hawthorn berries. However, research in this area is limited, and human studies are needed.
Summary Some research suggests that hawthorn berries may help reduce the signs of aging as a result of their antioxidant content.
In an older study in 264 people with anxiety, a combination of hawthorn extract, magnesium, and California poppy flowers reduced anxiety levels compared to a placebo. However, it is unclear what specific role Hawthorne played (
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Hawthorn appears to have fewer side effects than traditional anti-anxiety medications. This is one reason why scientists are investigating it as a potential treatment for central nervous system disorders such as anxiety and depression (
However, these studies have used a variety of hawthorn products, not necessarily exclusively berries. 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 works. That it is safe for you.
Summary Scientists are investigating hawthorn supplements as a potential treatment for anxiety. However, at the moment there is not much research on them for this purpose. More studies of the effects of hawthorn berry on anxiety are needed.
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Hawthorn berry along with other traditional medicines is known for its traditional use in the treatment of heart failure. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart cannot pump blood properly.
Several studies have suggested hawthorn berry may have beneficial effects without severe adverse effects in people with heart failure (
Studies often show improvements in heart function and symptoms of heart failure — such as shortness of breath and fatigue (
However, some evidence suggests that hawthorn may be harmful in some cases of heart failure. One study found that taking it along with conventional treatments increases the risk of developing heart failure (
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Summary In some traditional medicine practices, people usually take hawthorn berry along with other traditional medicines for heart failure. However, it can be harmful when combined with conventional medications for heart failure.
Hawthorn berries can be difficult to find at your local grocery store. However, you can 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 supplements have different recommendations. Common dosages are 250-500 mg three times daily. However, research is yet to determine an optimal effective dose (
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Note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements such as hawthorn under less stringent rules than over-the-counter or prescription drugs.
Look for products that have received a seal of approval from independent organizations that evaluate supplement effectiveness and quality, such as the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, or ConsumerLab.
Summary You can eat hawthorn berries in several ways or take them as a supplement. However, the appropriate dosage is still unknown and further research is needed.
Many side effects from taking hawthorn berries have not been reported. Those that do exist appear to be mild to moderate.
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The most common ones reported by people are sweating, headache, drowsiness, palpitations, mild itching, irritability, and gastrointestinal effects (
Although these are not life-threatening events, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider if you experience any of these symptoms.
Summary Side effects of consuming hawthorn berries are mild. These often include sweating, headache, drowsiness, palpitations, mild rash, agitation and gastrointestinal effects.
The use of medicinal herbs as an alternative treatment for many diseases is increasing