Para Que Sirve Hawthorn Berries – Written by Ariane Lang, BSc, MBA and SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD — Clinically reviewed by Kathy W. Warwick, R.D., CDE, Nutrition — Updated December 13, 2021
These nutrient-rich berries have a tart, tangy taste and mild sweetness. They are yellow to dark red in color (
Para Que Sirve Hawthorn Berries
For hundreds of years, people have used the hawthorn berry as an herbal remedy for digestive problems, heart problems, and high blood pressure. In fact, Perry dates back to at least 659 A.D. The former has been an important part of traditional Chinese medicine (
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Antioxidants help neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals, which can be harmful to your body in high concentrations.
Free radicals can come from certain foods. 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 hawthorn berries on disease risk.
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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 some cancers.
In a study conducted 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 administered vitexin — a compound found in hawthorn leaves — to mice with respiratory conditions. This treatment reduced the production of inflammatory molecules and reduced the white blood cell response to inflammation (
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These promising results from animal and test-tube studies suggest that they provide anti-inflammatory benefits in humans. However, further 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, hawthorn berries are one of the most commonly recommended foods to help treat high blood pressure (
Animal studies show that hawthorn can act as a vasodilator, meaning it relaxes 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 moderate high blood pressure.
Researchers found that people who consumed 500 milligrams of the extract daily had lower diastolic blood pressure — the bottom number on the blood pressure scale (
In a 2006 study, researchers gave 79 people with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure 1,200 mg of hawthorn extract every day for 16 weeks. Those who took the extract experienced greater blood pressure improvements than those in the placebo group (
However, further studies are needed to support these findings. It is also important to note that consuming a juice is not the same as eating the berries.
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Summary Some research suggests that hawthorn berries may lower blood pressure by dilating blood vessels. However, further studies are needed.
Some studies indicate that hawthorn extract may 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 the formation of plaque in your blood vessels (
If plaque continues to build up, it can completely block a 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 total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, as well as 28-47% lower liver triglyceride levels, compared to mice that did not receive the extract (
Similarly, a 6-week study in mice showed that when mice were given hawthorn berry supplements, they significantly reduced fasting triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Finally, in a 6-month study in 64 people with atherosclerosis, 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 evaluate the effect of hawthorn extract on blood cholesterol.
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Anecdotal research in animals and humans suggests that taking hawthorn extract may help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, more human research is needed.
Digestive problems, especially indigestion 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 grow and promote healthy gut bacteria, which are essential for maintaining healthy digestion (
An observational study in people with slow digestion found that each additional gram of dietary fiber people consumed was associated with a 30-minute reduction between bowel movements (
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Additionally, in a rat study, hawthorn extract dramatically reduced the intestinal transit time of food through the digestive system (
Also, research in rodents suggests that compounds in hawthorn berries can improve the production and activity of digestive enzymes—those needed for the digestion of fat- and protein-rich foods (
Summary People have used the hawthorn berry as a digestive aid for centuries. It helps relieve constipation and increases the production of enzymes needed to digest fatty and protein-rich foods.
Hawthorn berries can help prevent premature skin aging caused by collagen degradation due to excessive sun or UV light exposure.
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In a test-tube study, a combination of hawthorn and ginseng extract prevented 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 more human studies are needed.
Summary Some research suggests that hawthorn fruits may help reduce the signs of aging as a result of 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 specific role Hawthorne played (
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Hawthorn appears to have fewer side effects compared to traditional anti-anxiety medications. This is one reason why 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 necessarily the berries. Further research is needed.
If you want to try a hawthorn supplement to manage your anxiety, don’t stop using your current medications and 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 not much research on them for this purpose now. More studies are needed on the effects of hawthorn berry on anxiety.
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Hawthorn berry is best known for its use in traditional contexts to treat heart failure, along with other traditional medicines. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart cannot pump blood properly.
Several studies have suggested that hawthorn berries are beneficial for people with heart failure without serious adverse effects (
Studies often show improvements in heart function and heart failure symptoms — shortness of breath and fatigue (
However, some evidence suggests that hawthorn may be harmful in some cases of heart failure. In one study, taking it along with conventional therapy increased the risk of heart failure (
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Summary In some traditional medical practices, people commonly 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 may be hard 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 include just the leaves and flowers.
Different brands and forms of hawthorn supplements have different dosage recommendations. Usual doses are 250-500 mg three times a day. However, research has not yet determined an optimal effective dose (
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Keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements like hawthorn under less stringent regulations than over-the-counter or prescription drugs.
Look for products that have received a seal of approval from independent organizations that evaluate additional efficacy and quality, such as the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, or Consumer Lab.
Summary You can eat hawthorn berries in several ways or take them as a supplement. However, exact doses have not yet been defined, and further research is needed.
Many side effects of consuming hawthorn berries have not been reported. Those present are mild to moderate.
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Sweating, headache, drowsiness, palpitations, mild rash, agitation, and gastrointestinal effects (
Although these are not life-threatening events, be sure to talk to a healthcare professional if you experience any of these symptoms.
Summary The side effects of consuming hawthorn berries are mild. They 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