Should Hawthorn Berries Be Only Short Term Use? – For centuries hawthorn plants have been used in traditional Chinese medicine, by Native Americans, but also by Europeans. It is one of the most popular herbs for the heart and nowadays many studies have been conducted to investigate its properties.
It is a plant with small red fruits that belongs to the Rosaceae family. It is a thorny shrub that people use its leaves, flowers and fruits for various health problems.
Should Hawthorn Berries Be Only Short Term Use?
One of the most well-known properties of hawthorn is its cardioprotective action. It is often used to relieve symptoms such as palpitations, nervousness and arrhythmia. There are several indications that it can be used in cases of congestive heart failure, but also in pressure problems (hypertension, hypotension) as well as in atherosclerosis, but more research is needed. (1)
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In a 2-year study of 952 people with heart failure, it was found that those who took supplements with hawthorn seed extract showed less fatigue, shortness of breath and heart palpitations compared to those who did not.(2)
This property is due to the fact that it can improve the amount of blood pumped out of the heart during contraction, and can also expand the blood vessels. (1)
It seems that hawthorn can help reduce total and LDL cholesterol. This is due to increased biliary excretion, which leads to a decrease in cholesterol synthesis and an increase in LDL receptors. (1)
There are some indications that hawthorn can contribute to better management of mental stress and anxiety. It seems to have a mild sedative effect, which is why it is often used in insomnia.
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We can now find hawthorn in various forms: tincture, tea we can make with its flowers or for higher concentration you can find a dietary supplement.
Although hawthorn is generally considered safe for most adults for short-term consumption (up to 16 weeks), it is possible for some to cause nausea, dizziness, fatigue, upset stomach, insomnia, palpitations, headache, sweating or other problems. They should avoid taking it in pregnancy and breastfeeding.
It is also likely to interact with many cardiovascular drugs, so it requires careful consultation with your doctor. For example, possibly taking it can lower blood pressure, so if taken in combination with high blood pressure treatment, the pressure is likely to fall too low. Other times, it has been observed that hawthorn can increase blood flow. If they are combined with drugs for the same reason, the likelihood of dizziness increases.
Care should also be taken when planning an operation, as hawthorn is likely to reduce blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding during or after surgery. Therefore, it is suggested to stop taking it at least two weeks before a scheduled operation.
Hawthorn: Properties And Side Effects Of This Herb!
Bsc, Nutritionist – Dietitian specializing in Clinical Nutrition, Eating Disorders in Children and Adolescents and Nutritional Supplements. Certified consultant of Vichy and La Roche Posay. Read more
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Berries That Are Poisonous
I owe some credit to Josh Fecteau’s recent hawthorn post, which inspired me to try hawthorn butter again. As Josh pointed out, there are many species of hawthorn, perhaps 50 in New England. And, in all of North America, perhaps a thousand species, according to George Symonds (from his excellent book Tree Identification Book: A New Method for the Practical Identification and Recognition of Trees
, my favorite guide to learning tree ID). Fortunately, you don’t need to be able to identify particular species. You just need to know it’s a thorn, because all thorn have edible berries. HOWEVER, like apple seeds, hawthorn seeds contain cyanide, and should not be eaten. Don’t panic; just spit out the seeds.
Why bother with thorns? They are beautiful, interesting, and delicious wild edibles with known health benefits. Some people use the berries to make hawthorn jelly, but I haven’t tried this yet. Berries, leaves and flowers can be used to make a tea. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see how I make sea buckthorn extract.
I will describe two species here, giving examples of their general characteristics. That should help you recognize a thorn when you see one, but I do
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If you are not sure if you have a thorn when foraging, please check with other sources until you are sure, before eating the berries.
This grows as a small tree or large shrub, and bears clusters of white flowers in late spring. The berries turn red in September (here), but sweeten later. By October 31, they were sweet, and maybe a little past peak. Each berry contains 3-5 seeds.
The leaves are lobed and toothed, as you can see in my photo above. Many other hawthorn species have similar leaves. The tree is heavily armed with long thorns, up to about 3 inches in length. However, with reasonable precautions, you can easily harvest the berries, which tend to hang away from branches. It’s even easier later in the season after many of the leaves have fallen and no longer obscure the thorns.
Also called common hawthorn, this is a European native that escaped cultivation and naturalized in North America. It is sometimes labeled as an invasive plant, but I don’t find it very often, and when I do see it, there isn’t much of it in one area. Maybe it’s invasive in other parts of the country, but it doesn’t seem particularly aggressive here. Like Washington hawthorn, single-seeded hawthorn grows as a shrub or small tree, and bears clusters of white blooms in late spring. The oval red berries ripen a little earlier (than Washington hawthorn) in fall and have only one seed (hence the name). The toothed leaves are more lobed than those of Washington hawthorn, but the thorns are much smaller, only about 1/2 inch to one inch long.
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Hawthorns are common in forest clearings here in Massachusetts, but these are scrawny specimens that don’t produce well. It is too shady in the forest. To find fruit-laden hawthorns, look in sunny locations, such as shrubbery and shrubbery fields, at the edges of pastures, and along streams. They are often planted as ornamentals, so if your friend has one and doesn’t mind you picking some berries, you have an easy eating experience on your hands.
This is my first experience using sea buckthorn butter, and I use them to make an extract, with the same process you would use to make vanilla extract. I hope to use hawthorn extract as a flavoring in cooking and baking. I filled a clean jar about 3/4 full with butter, covered them with 80 proof vodka, and corked the jar. I’m not sure how long it will take to extract enough flavor from the berries, so I’ll check it daily. I know that other extracts, (like vanilla extract) take weeks, so that’s what I’m waiting for here. SelfHacked has the strictest sourcing guidelines in the health industry and we almost exclusively link to peer-reviewed medical studies, usually on PubMed. We believe that the most accurate information is obtained directly from the scientific source.
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