Hawthorn Berrys Vs Goji Berries

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Hawthorn Berrys Vs Goji Berries

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Note that each number in parentheses [1, 2, 3, etc.] is a clickable link to a peer-reviewed scientific study. A plus sign next to the number “[1+, 2+, etc…]” means that the information is found within a full scientific study rather than an abstract.

Hawthorn is one of the oldest European medicinal herbs. Its flowers, leaves and berries are especially valuable as a remedy for heart ailments. This plant may offer additional benefits for people with high cholesterol, diabetes and anxiety. Read on to learn more about hawthorn and how to use it safely.

Hawthorns (Crataegus spp.) are thorny trees or shrubs with white flowers and red berries. Although the name “Hawthorn” originally referred to the common hawthorn (C. monogyna), it is now used for the entire genus and even its relatives (Rhaphiolepis) [1+].

Hawthorn is native to Europe, North America and Asia. They belong to the same family as roses and many edible fruits such as apples, pears, plums and cherries (Rosaceae) [2].

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Hawthorn is the oldest known medicinal plant in Europe and its use was first documented over 2,000 years ago. In European and American folk medicine, it is used [3+, 4+, 2] for:

The German Commission E approved the use of hawthorn for mild heart failure in the 1980s. Hawthorn extracts are mainly obtained from common and English (C. laevigata) hawthorn, their hybrids and other European species [3+].

Extracts used in Europe and America are obtained from berries, leaves and flowers. Berries should contain at least 1% procyanidins, while leaves and flowers require at least 1.5% [1+] flavonoids.

In China, only the berries and leaves are used. The berries are not required, but the leaves must contain at least 7% flavonoids and 0.05% hyperoside [1+].

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The berries are also eaten fresh or used to make wine, jams, and candies in both China and Europe [1+].

Flavonoids are most concentrated in flowers. Berries are also rich in them, but less ripe. The leaves are high in vitaxin and oligomeric proanthocyanidins [10, 11+].

Although not FDA-approved, hawthorn extract is commercially available as a supplement, especially for heart disease. Regulations set manufacturing standards but do not guarantee that they are safe or effective. Talk to your doctor before using hawthorn to avoid unexpected interactions.

Although conventional treatments improve symptoms and reduce mortality, people with heart failure often have a poor quality of life. Hawthorn can be combined with drugs and implantable devices to improve heart failure [2].

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Hawthorn extract (240-1, 800 mg/day), both alone and as adjunctive therapy, improves mild heart failure according to two meta-analyses and 8 studies in over 4k people. It increased pumping force while reducing fatigue and shortness of breath [ 12 , 13 , 14 , 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 , 21 ].

However, in 2 studies of nearly 3k people taking conventional medicine, this extract did not improve symptoms of heart failure. It only reduced the risk of sudden death. The dose may have been inadequate, however, as the majority of those included had moderate to severe heart failure [ 22 , 23 ].

Homeopathic hawthorn remedies are also used, although they may not contain the active compounds. In a trial of over 200 people, homeopathic hawthorn (10-20 drops, 3x/day) was as effective as conventional medicine. However, the study suffered from several shortcomings (lack of randomization and blinding, evaluation of subjective parameters, and short follow-up) [24+].

In people with heart failure, venous blood can become blocked in the legs, causing swelling. In 2 studies of more than 1k people with heart failure, hawthorn extract (900 mg/day) reduced leg swelling [14, 15].

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In rats and mice, the extract reduced blood leakage from blood vessels by strengthening their inner lining [25, 26].

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High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for heart disease. Hawthorn extract (500-1, 200 mg/day) reduced blood pressure in 4 clinical trials of approximately 300 people [27+, 28, 29, 30, 18].

The extract also reduced blood pressure in rats and relaxed arteries in tissue studies [31, 32, 33, 34, 35].

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Orthostatic hypotension (literally, “standing low blood pressure”) is a condition that causes a sudden drop in blood pressure after standing up quickly.

In Germany, a mixture of hawthorn berries and camphor is commonly used to raise blood pressure in people who often suffer from orthostatic hypotension. This treatment (5-80 drops per day) worked in 6 clinical trials on more than 500 people, but its rapid action suggests that camphor is responsible for the effect [36, 37, 38, 39, 40 , 41].

Hawthorn is a time-tested natural remedy for mild heart problems, including heart failure and high blood pressure. It can be safely incorporated into conventional medicine and interventions. However, it may not be used as a stand-alone in people with short-term or more severe heart conditions.

Nevertheless, remember that hawthorn is not approved by the FDA for heart disease. You can try this herb if you and your doctor decide it is suitable for improving your arthritis. Remember that hawthorn should never be used in place of your doctor’s prescription or recommendation.

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Poor blood and oxygen supply to the heart can be caused by blockages in the blood vessels that feed the heart (coronary arteries). This eventually causes chest pain or angina [42+].

Cholesterol buildup in the arteries is the most common cause of chest pain. In a clinical trial of 80 subjects with chest pain, hawthorn extract (240 mg, 2x/day) combined with exercise prevented arterial occlusion [43].

Hawthorn pills relieved chest pain in 46 people in a Chinese clinical trial. However, we could not access study details to analyze this [44+].

In animals and cells, hawthorn extract prevented high blood cholesterol, inflammation, damage to LDL by free radicals, and thickening of the artery wall – all of which increase the risk of occlusion [45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50].

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Coronary arteries can also be blocked by blood clots. Although hawthorn extract inhibited platelet aggregation in animals and in test tubes, a higher dose (2, 400 mg/day) was ineffective in 16 subjects [51, 52, 53, 54, 55+].

Surgery to open the vessels can damage their inner walls, causing the vessels to narrow. In rats, hawthorn extract prevented this undesirable effect [56].

In a trial of 49 people, hawthorn extract (400 mg, 3x/day) reduced blood cholesterol, both free and bound to LDL. Similarly, a complex containing 129 mg of hawthorn and other herbs (Asian water plantain, corn silk, Chinese knotweed, lingzhi mushroom, and mulberry) lowered LDL cholesterol in a trial in 42 people (4 capsules, 2x/day) [57, 58].

Overall, the current evidence is insufficient to claim that hawthorn lowers blood cholesterol. Further clinical research is needed to confirm these preliminary findings.

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In a clinical trial of over 250 people with anxiety disorders, a formulation with hawthorn, California poppy, and magnesium (2 tablets, 2x/day) reduced anxiety. Similarly, a formulation with hawthorn and other herbs (purple flower, valerian, black horehound, guarana, and kola nut) was effective in a trial of approximately 200 people (2 tablets, 3x/day) [63, 64].

However, many of the natural compounds used in the above formulations have anti-anxiety properties. It is difficult to say whether hawthorn contributed to the benefits.

Chronic stress and depression are strongly linked. Various extracts with sugar but not common hawthorn reduced depression in stressed rats [67, 68, 69, 70].

Two clinical studies and a few animal studies using hawthorn as part of an herbal mixture may not be considered sufficient evidence. Additional clinical trials testing hawthorn alone should be conducted to determine whether it has anti-anxiety effects in humans.

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A traditional Chinese medicine with extracts of hawthorn, goji berry, saffron, kombu, and mulberry (menoprogrin, 4x/day) reduced menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, and mood swings in a trial of 83 women. It also improved low sex hormone levels (estradiol and progesterone) [71].

Menoprogrin also prevented sex hormone secretion in menopausal rats by protecting their ovarian follicles [72, 73, 74, 75].

In a clinical trial on 20 women, a combination of hawthorn and ginseng extracts reduced eyelid wrinkles while increasing skin elasticity, moisture and radiance [76].

UV radiation accelerates skin aging by reducing its collagen content. In UV-exposed mice and skin cells, hawthorn extract increased collagen.

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