Medicinal Uses For Hawthorn Berries

Medicinal Uses For Hawthorn Berries – 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

These nutritious berries have a sharp, tangy flavor and mild sweetness. They range in color from yellow to dark red (

Medicinal Uses For Hawthorn Berries

For hundreds of years, people have used hawthornberry 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 (

Impressive Health Benefits Of Hawthorn Berry

Antioxidants help neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals that can harm your body if they are present at high levels.

Free radicals can come from certain foods. You may also have higher 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 a lower risk of (

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

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Summary Hawthorn berry contains plant polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties that are linked to numerous health benefits.

Research has found that chronic inflammation is associated with 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 found in hawthorn leaves—to mice with respiratory conditions. This treatment reduced the production of molecules that trigger inflammation and reduced 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. Nevertheless, research in humans is necessary.

In traditional Chinese medicine, hawthornberry 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 constricted blood vessels, ultimately lowering 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 lower diastolic blood pressure – the bottom number of a blood pressure reading (

In a 2006 study, researchers gave 1,200 mg of hawthorn extract to 79 people with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure every day for 16 weeks. The people who took the extract experienced more blood pressure improvements than those in the placebo group (

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

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Summary Some research suggests that hawthorn berries can lower blood pressure by helping to dilate blood vessels. However, further studies are needed.

Some studies indicate 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 (

Imbalanced blood cholesterol levels — especially high triglycerides and low HDL (good) cholesterol — play a role in atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup in your blood vessels (

If plaque continues to build, it can completely block a blood vessel, leading to a heart attack or stroke.

Impressive Hawthorn Berry Benefits, Dosage, & Side Effects

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 that did not receive the extract (

Likewise, a 6-week study in rats showed that when rats were fed hawthorn berry supplements, they had significantly reduced 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 (

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

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Summary Research in animals and humans suggests that taking hawthorn extract can help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, more human research is needed.

For centuries, people have used hawthorn berries and extract to treat digestive problems, especially indigestion and stomach pain (

The berries contain fiber, which has been proven to help digestion by reducing constipation and acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are foods that feed and promote healthy gut bacteria, which are essential for maintaining healthy digestion (

One observational study in people with slow digestion found that each additional gram of dietary fiber people consumed was associated with a 30-minute reduction in the time between bowel movements (

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In addition, a rat study observed that hawthorn extract dramatically reduced the intestinal transit time of food in the digestive system (

Furthermore, research in nails suggests that compounds in hawthorn berries can improve the production and activity of digestive enzymes – namely those necessary for the digestion of fat and protein-rich foods (

Summary People have used hawthornberry as a digestive aid for centuries. It can help reduce constipation and improve the production of enzymes needed to digest fat and protein-rich foods.

Hawthorn berries can help prevent premature skin aging caused by collagen degradation due to excessive exposure to sun or ultraviolet light.

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One test-tube study found that a mixture of hawthorn and ginseng extract 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 hawthornberry. However, research in this area is limited, and human studies are needed.

Summary Some research suggests that hawthorn berries may help reduce 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 marigold significantly reduced anxiety levels compared to a placebo. However, it is unclear what specific role hawthorn played (

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Hawthorn appears to have few side effects compared to traditional anti-anxiety medications. That’s one reason scientists are further investigating it as a potential treatment for central nervous system disorders such as anxiety and depression (

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

If you want to try a hawthorn supplement to manage your anxiety, don’t stop your current medication, 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, there is currently little research on them for this purpose. More studies of the effects of hawthornberry on anxiety are needed.

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Hawthornberry is best known for its use in traditional contexts in treating heart failure, alongside other traditional medicines. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart cannot pump blood properly.

Several studies have suggested that hawthornberry may have beneficial effects without severe adverse effects in people with heart failure (

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

However, some evidence has suggested that hawthorn may be harmful in certain cases of heart failure. One study found that taking it in addition to conventional treatments increased the risk that heart failure would progress (

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Summary In some traditional medicine practices, people commonly take hawthornberry alongside other traditional medicines for heart failure. However, it can be harmful when combined with conventional heart failure medications.

Hawthornberry can be difficult to find at your local supermarket. 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 hawthorn supplements have varying dosage recommendations. Typical doses 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 nutritional supplements like hawthorn under a less strict set of regulations than over-the-counter or prescription medications.

Look for products that have received a seal of approval from independent organizations that assess supplement effectiveness and quality, 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, appropriate doses have not yet been defined and more research is needed.

Few side effects have been reported from taking hawthorn berries. Those that do exist seem to range from mild to moderate.

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

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

Summary Side effects of consuming hawthorn berries are usually mild. They often include sweating, headache, drowsiness, palpitations, mild rash, agitation and gastrointestinal effects.

The use of medicinal herbs as alternative treatments for various diseases has become more and more common

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