Substitute For Hawthorn Berries

Substitute For Hawthorn Berries – October/November, after the first frost, is also the time to pick hawthorn berries. Hawthorn is relatively unused as a hedge berry and is mainly used for hawthorn gin or hawthorn brandy. It can also be used to make jam or jelly. Hawthorn gin is much nicer than sloe gin. It’s not that sweet and syrupy, in fact it tastes more like a fortified wine like dry sherry than it does a liqueur. It is worth maturing. Hawthorn gin made now will be perfect next Christmas. If you don’t think you can wait that long, make a double batch – some to drink young this year, and some to mature for next year. Make lots anyway, as it’s much more stylish!

Sort, top and tail the berries. This is quite time consuming and not the end of the world if you don’t do it – but it will result in sediment that is difficult to strain out later and will impair the clarity of your gin. Pack the berries in a preserving jar, sprinkle a little sugar between the layers. Once you’ve reached the top of the glass (leaving some room for shaking), fill with cheap gin (supermarket own brand will do). Close and put in a cupboard. Give the jar a shake every few days.

Substitute For Hawthorn Berries

After 4 weeks, the berries will have lost their color and the gin will have acquired a shade of rosé. (If you leave it longer before straining, the flavor will intensify. However, you are more likely to get a muddy sediment. If you have light, plump berries, you can leave the gin to macerate for several months, but if the berries are hard and discolored one month is sufficient.) Once strained, it is filtered into bottles and aged for at least three more months. Enjoy in moderation!

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Hawthorn also has a history as an herb used by herbalists to treat high blood pressure. It is also beneficial for the heart as it has vasorelaxing properties and is very high in bioflavonoids – also good for your heart. This is well supported by research. (If your blood pressure is already high and you are taking medication, you should not just stop taking it. However, in conjunction with a consultation with a herbalist, you may be able to reduce your dependence on medication.) The best way to take hawthorn berries is as a tincture. A tincture is basically the herb (in this case the hawthorn berry) macerated (soaked) in alcohol to form a tincture. So basically, hawthorn gin is a form of tincture. And a small nibble taken regularly, as in the old country days, can help keep the heart and circulation healthy. A tea made from the leaves or berries is also a healthy way to keep blood pressure low, especially if combined with lime flowers and leaves. Written by Ariane Lang, BSc, MBA and SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD — Medically reviewed by Kathy W. Warwick, R.D., CDE, Nutrition — Updated December 13, 2021

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

For hundreds of years, people have used hawthorn berries as an herbal remedy for digestive problems, heart problems and high blood pressure. In fact, the berry has been a central part of traditional Chinese medicine since at least 659 AD. (

Antioxidants help neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals that can harm your body when present in high levels.

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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 a number of health benefits due to their antioxidant activity, including a lower risk of (

Although initial animal and cell research is promising, more human studies are needed to assess the effect of hawthorn berries on the risk of disease.

Summary Hawthorn berries contain plant polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties that have been linked to a number of health benefits.

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Research has found that chronic inflammation is linked to 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 damage (

In one study, researchers gave vitexin – a compound found in hawthorn leaves – to mice with respiratory problems. This treatment reduced the production of molecules that trigger inflammation and reduced the response of white blood cells to inflammation (

These promising results from animal and test-tube studies suggest that the supplement may offer anti-inflammatory benefits in humans. However, more research is needed.

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Summary Hawthorn berry extract has shown anti-inflammatory potential in test-tube and animal studies. Nevertheless, research on humans is necessary.

In traditional Chinese medicine, hawthorn berries are one of the most recommended foods for treating high blood pressure (

Animal studies show that hawthorn can act as a vasodilator, meaning it can relax constricted blood vessels, ultimately lowering blood pressure (

A 10-week study looked at the effects of taking hawthorn extract in 36 people with mildly elevated blood pressure.

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The researchers found that those who took 500 mg of the extract daily had reduced diastolic blood pressure – the bottom number on 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 (

Nevertheless, 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.

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

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Some studies indicate that hawthorn extract can improve blood cholesterol levels thanks to its content of flavonoids and pectin. Pectin is a type of fiber involved in cholesterol metabolism (

Unbalanced cholesterol levels in the blood – especially high triglycerides and low HDL (good) cholesterol – play a role in atherosclerosis, or plaque build-up in the blood vessels (

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

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 not given the extract (

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Similarly, 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 arteries (

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

Summary Animal and human research suggests that taking hawthorn extract may help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, more human research is needed.

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

The berries contain fiber, which has been shown to aid digestion by reducing constipation and acting as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are foods that nourish 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 in the time between bowel movements (

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

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Furthermore, research in rodents suggests that compounds in hawthorn berries can increase the production and activity of digestive enzymes – namely those needed for the digestion of fatty and protein-rich foods (

Summary People have used hawthorn berries as a digestive aid for centuries. It can help relieve constipation and increase the production of enzymes needed to digest fatty and protein-rich foods.

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

A test-tube study found that a mixture of hawthorn and ginseng extract could prevent signs of aging by inhibiting wrinkle formation and increasing skin moisture (

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Research suggests that this effect may be due to the hawthorn berry’s antioxidant content. Nevertheless, research in this area is limited, and there is a need for human studies.

Summary Some research suggests that hawthorn berries may help reduce signs of aging due to 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 unclear what specific role hawthorn played (

Hawthorn appears to have few side effects compared to traditional anti-anxiety medications. That’s one reason scientists continue to research it as a potential treatment for central nervous system diseases

Plant Spotlight: Hawthorn