Health Hawthorn Berries – Hawthorn is often called “the heart herb” for its various cardioprotective abilities. Prized for its ability to uplift and strengthen the heart both emotionally and physically, the hawthorn berry has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for all kinds of serious heart conditions. These include angina, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, irregular heartbeat and even congestive heart failure.
In fact, Hawthorn was used to treat heart ailments as far back as the first century! Fast forward to the early 1800s and doctors in the United States were also using this medicinal herb for respiratory and circulatory disorders. (1)
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Hawthorn fruit, leaves and flowers are all used medicinally today. Hawthorn fruit comes in the form of small red berries. Native American tribes enjoyed eating them and they also used hawthorn to treat heart problems as well as gastrointestinal complaints. (2)
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What makes hawthorn berries so medicinal? It seems to have a lot of flavonoids for starters. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants known to effectively reduce inflammation while boosting immune function. Eating a diet high in flavonoid-rich foods, beverages and herbs has been linked to the prevention of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases as well as cancer. (3)
Let’s take a closer look at how a tiny little hawthorn berry can really make huge improvements in the health of many people.
The hawthorn bush, also called thornapple or May tree, is a deciduous plant. It is a member of the rose family (Rosaceae) belonging to the genus
. Hawthorn can come in the form of a thorny hawthorn bush or a hawthorn tree. Most of the time you will find hawthorn growing along the sides of sunny forested hills. There are several species of hawthorn, many of which are found in North America. (4)
Berries Crataegus Oxyacantha, Which Is Also Known As Hawthorn. Berries Are In The White Cup, Isolated Over White Background. Stock Photo
A hawthorn plant has berries as well as flowers that bloom in May. Hawthorn flowers are red, pink or white. The petite hawthorn berries appear after the flowers bloom. When the hawthorn berries are fully ripe, they are typically red in color, but sometimes they are black. These berries are edible. How do they taste? Most people describe hawthorn berries as a mixture of sweet and sour.
The hawthorn herb is loaded with health beneficial compounds. These compounds have been shown to actually increase heart health. Hawthorn’s antioxidant flavonoids improve blood flow, protect against blood vessel damage, and even help dilate blood vessels. (5)
These flavonoids include OPCs. What are OPCs? OPC stands for oligomeric proanthocyanidins. OPCs are some of the most common polyphenolic substances found in plants. (6)
Hawthorn berry is best known for its helpful toning effects on the heart. As a “cardiotonic herb,” hawthorn has been shown to be impressively helpful for all kinds of serious heart conditions. These include heart failure, heart disease, angina pectoris, changes in heart rhythm and atherosclerosis. According to a 2016 study published in the journal
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To date, research has shown that hawthorn can even have a beneficial effect on congestive heart failure (CHF). Multiple studies have shown that hawthorn supplementation led to an improvement in cardiac function based on a number of parameters. These parameters include blood pressure, heart rate, cardiac output and exercise tolerance.
One trial in particular gave 78 patients with NYHA class II heart failure a commercial preparation of hawthorn leaves and flowers. After two months, the patients who received 200 milligrams of hawthorn three times a day had an increased working heart capacity, as well as a reduction in symptoms. The Hawthorn group also showed a decrease in systolic blood pressure during physical activity. Another German study also showed that a hawthorn extract (LI132 Faros®) works almost as well as a prescription heart failure drug (captopril). And, the hawthorn extract had fewer side effects. (9)
) special extract either alone or as an adjunct to conventional treatment. After two years, fatigue, stress dyspnea and palpitations (the three main symptoms of heart failure) were all significantly reduced in the group that took hawthorn compared to the group that did not take hawthorn. (10)
Many herbal practitioners recommend hawthorn berries, flowers and leaves as a natural blood pressure reducer. A scientific study published in
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Had 79 type 2 diabetic patients either 1200 milligrams of hawthorn extract daily or a placebo for a total of 16 weeks. Hypotensive medications were also taken by 71 percent of study participants.
What did they find? The Hawthorn group experienced greater reductions in diastolic blood pressure. But there were no group differences in systolic blood pressure reduction. (11) Hopefully, more studies on the use of hawthorn to lower blood pressure will come soon.
Decreased blood flow to the heart causes chest pain known as angina. Sometimes it is confused with indigestion. But, true angina can be a symptom of coronary heart disease. So far, research shows that hawthorn is an effective natural remedy for preventing and treating angina.
, hawthorn’s bioflavonoids help dilate both peripheral and coronary blood vessels. This can improve blood flow to the heart, making hawthorn very useful for angina. Hawthorn’s proanthocyanidins are also believed to reduce the tension of blood vessel walls. Again, this is very helpful in discouraging angina. (12)
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In one study, 80 subjects (aged 45 to 65 years) with stable angina pectoris were randomly divided into four groups. The first group was the aerobic exercise group. The second group took a hawthorn extract. The third group did aerobic exercise, plus they took a hawthorn extract. Finally, the fourth group was the control group. After 12 weeks, the researchers found that the combination of aerobic exercise and hawthorn supplementation “was an effective complementary strategy to significantly lower the risk of atherosclerosis and heart problems.” (13)
Animal studies have shown that hawthorn berry extract can be a helpful natural remedy for reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from the body. In China, hawthorn is called “Shan-Zha”. A study with animal subjects showed some really impressive health results from an ethanol extract of Zhongtian hawthorn, a cultivar of wild Shan-Zha, which has larger hawthorn fruit.
This 2016 study revealed that hawthorn berry extract not only reduced overall high cholesterol levels, it also reduced LDL cholesterol, liver cholesterol and triglycerides in particular, as well as body weight. (14)
Scientific research conducted in 2008 revealed that hawthorn berry extract is excellent for reducing inflammation. This is huge for health because we know that inflammation is the root of most diseases.
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Research also shows that hawthorn berry extract is a free radical scavenger. This is extremely beneficial for human health because free radicals can cause cellular damage (including DNA damage) by stealing electrons through a process called oxidation.
The 2008 animal study also demonstrated how hawthorn berry extract has protective effects for the gastrointestinal system and it appears to successfully kill certain types of unwanted bacteria. (15)
How can you incorporate hawthorn berries into your life? There are several options. You can opt for hawthorn berry tea, either prepackaged or loose. Loose hawthorn berries can often be purchased in the bulk section of many health food stores. You can also take a hawthorn supplement in capsule form or a hawthorn extract in liquid tincture form.
So far, safe hawthorn doses appear to be between 160 to 1,800 milligrams per day for a period of three to 24 weeks. Noticeable improvement in symptoms may take six to 12 weeks. (18)
Health Benefits Of Hawthorn Berry
You should not take hawthorn if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not give hawthorn products to children. Supplementation with hawthorn is recommended for short-term use by adults. If symptoms worsen while taking hawthorn, you should discontinue use and seek emergency medical care.
For some users, hawthorn can cause nausea, stomach upset, fatigue, sweating, headache, dizziness, palpitations, nosebleeds, insomnia, agitation and other side effects.
While hawthorn is known to be excellent for the heart, it can interact with prescription medications for heart disease. Medications for other heart problems, high blood pressure and male sexual dysfunction are also known to interact with hawthorn. Some specific medications known to possibly interact with hawthorn include digoxin, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers (CCBs), nitrates, phenylephrine, and phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors. If you have heart disease or any other health condition or are currently taking medication(s), check with your doctor before taking a hawthorn berry product or any other hawthorn supplement. (19, 20)
It is also important to note that heart failure is a very serious health condition. It is best not to self-medicate with hawthorn supplements if you suffer from this condition.
Hawthorn Berry, Used For The Treatment Of Blood Pressure (the Silent Killer) With The Ability To Lower The Blood Pressure Without Any Of The Side Effects Experienced From Conventional Medicines
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Dr. Ax on Facebook 22 Dr. Ax on Twitter 0 Dr. Ax on Instagram Dr. Ax on Google Plus Dr. Ax on Youtube Dr. Ax on Pintrest 0 Share on Email Print Article 22Hawthorn berries are small fruits that can be found on shrubs or trees that belong to the Family Crataegus belong. This category of plants includes more than 100 trees and shrubs that can be found