What Are The Benefits Of Hawthorn Berries – Hawthorn berries, also known as “haw,” have been a popular ingredient in desserts and wines and a major medicinal herb for thousands of years. In ancient Rome, it was used to relieve diarrhea. It is also a staple herb in traditional Chinese medicine. In the Middle Ages, Europeans used it to keep their heart healthy.
There are hundreds of hawthorn species around the world. Although they are small, hawthorn berries have serious health effects, especially for your heart. They can also improve your exercise performance (x).
What Are The Benefits Of Hawthorn Berries
Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of physician visits, hospitalizations and deaths in the United States. More than 600,000 people die each year from heart disease (x).
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Hawthorn berries contain phytonutrients including anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins — antioxidants that strengthen blood vessel walls. They can also reduce the symptoms of congestive heart failure, irregular heartbeat, arrhythmia, low blood pressure, angina, atherosclerosis and high cholesterol (x).
Research suggests that hawthorn berry extract significantly benefits heart health when compared to a placebo (x). In one study, researchers gave 78 patients with heart failure 200 mg of hawthorn three times a day for two months. At the end of the trial, patients experienced an increase in functional heart capacity and a reduction in their heart disease symptoms (x). In fact, hawthorn berries are almost as effective as prescription heart medications in reducing symptoms — and they have fewer side effects (x).
Hawthorn can also keep your heart healthy by lowering blood pressure. In one study, scientists gave 79 type 2 diabetes patients either 1,200 mg of hawthorn extract daily or a placebo. At the end of the 16-week study, participants who took hawthorn had a greater reduction in blood pressure than those who did not (x).
Often confused with indigestion, angina is the technical term for chest pain. It is caused by decreased blood flow to the heart and is often a symptom of heart disease.
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Studies suggest that bioflavonoids (plant compounds) in hawthorn may reduce angina by dilating and relaxing blood vessels, which promotes healthy circulation. They also increase blood flow to the heart and reduce tension on the walls of your blood vessels, which helps prevent chest pain (x).
People have been using hawthorn berry extract to treat gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and indigestion since the first century (x). Today, studies suggest that hawthorn improves digestion by promoting gastrointestinal motility — the muscle contractions that move food through your digestive system (x). Hawthorn can also support the production of enzymes that ensure you absorb nutrients properly for optimal health (x).
People have used hawthorn berry extract topically to help treat itching, boils, scabies, ulcers and frostbite. However, there is not enough research to confirm this claim (x).
Hawthorn can be effective when used in combination with various other supplements. Coenzyme Q10 can reduce the incidence of heart disease during the early stages when combined with hawthorn. Ginkgo Biloba can be used with hawthorn to improve blood circulation and ensure adequate oxygenation to the brain. Garlic (Allium sativum) and arnica (Arnica montana) can help treat angina and low blood circulation. Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis) and St. wort. John’s wort is also used in combination with hawthorn to calm the nerves and induce sleep for insomnia.
Hawthorn Berry: Benefits, Side Effects & Dosage
Hawthorn is considered a safe supplement for adults. However, there are rare side effects including stomach pain, headache or dizziness (x, x).
Additionally, hawthorn berry extract may interact with prescription medications. If you are taking any medication that affects and treats the heart, consult your doctor before taking this supplement. Also, if you have high blood pressure, are taking beta blockers and calcium blockers, male enhancement drugs that dilate blood vessels or any drugs that increase blood flow to the heart, you should consult your doctor before taking this supplement. Hawthorn is also contraindicated for people taking digoxin (x). Pregnant women may also want to avoid using hawthorn berries as they may reduce uterine tone (x).
As a supplement, it is best to take 1,200 mg or half a teaspoon, once or twice a day, or as directed by your doctor (x). Additionally, you can safely take hawthorn berry extract for up to 16 weeks (x).
Hawthorn berry extract is touted as a heart health herb. Research has shown it contributes to the overall health of the cardiovascular system. This is especially true for those with angina, congestive heart failure, high or low blood pressure and other heart-related health problems. European doctors have been prescribing hawthorn for use under medical supervision for many years, although not so much among American doctors. All in all, this little red berry is a helpful ally in heart health and you may be able to add this supplement to your regular diet. Hawthorn grows as a shrub and tree throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As a member of the Rosaceae (rose) family, it protects itself with sharp thorns. Hawthorn has a somewhat neglected medicinal secret: Hawthorn berries, packed with both sweetness and tartness. From heart tonic to anxiety relief, here are five health benefits of hawthorn berries.
Hawthorn Fruit: Great For Digestion And Heart Health!
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Hawthorn berries are known as heart tonics, and recent research shows that this “fire berry” is cardioprotective.
A 2018 study published by the NIH National Library of Medicine names hawthorn berries as a cardiotonic herb. Hawthorn berries contain phytonutrients (anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins), antioxidants that strengthen and strengthen blood vessel walls. This plant provides positive inotropic and negative chronotropic effects as well as an increase in coronary blood flow and exercise tolerance.
Hawthorn extracts including berries, leaves and flowers are also used to treat heart conditions such as bradyarrhythmia and angia, according to a 2016 report published in
. However, hawthorn can generally increase the potential for bleeding in patients taking antiplatelet agents or anticoagulants.
Hawthorn Berry: Your Heart’s Best Friend
Should you take hawthorn berries for palpitations? Although hawthorn berries have been proven to be cardiotonic, consult your doctor before including this herb in your treatment regimen, including extracts or teas.
Hawthorn berries contain fiber, a digestive aid that acts as a prebiotic to reduce constipation. Prebiotics encourage and foster the growth of good gut bacteria that are essential for a healthy digestive system.
Hawthorn (its berries, leaves and flowers) has been found to be helpful in the treatment of gastrointestinal ailments and other digestive problems, according to a 2015 critical review published in
Which analyzed 88 scientific papers. Studies show that hawthorn presents useful applications for the treatment of stomach pain, diarrhea, distension and indigestion. The paper notes its use as an effective diuretic in European tradition.
Hawthorn Facts And Health Benefits
Hawthorn berry is listed as a natural ingredient in some hair care and hair growth products, but does it work? In the past, hawthorn berries have shown promise in stimulating the growth and size of hair follicles in mice. The polyphenol content in this berry is believed to cause this effect. However, further studies on the effects in humans are needed.
How do you use hawthorn berries in your hair? Many people prefer to include hawthorn berries in their diet, such as making hawthorn berry syrup for pancakes and absorbing nutrients that way. Others invest in over-the-counter natural hair care products such as hawthorn berry butter or tonic.
David Hoffmann, BSc, founding member and past president of the American Herbalists Guild, recommends making a tea by steeping a teaspoon of hawthorn berries in a cup of hot water and then straining them before consuming. He advises not to exceed three cups a day. A consultation with an herbalist can give you more guidance, but you should first talk to your doctor about using such complementary treatments.
Free radicals are unstable atoms linked to aging, chronic disease and cancer. A 2015 scientific literature review of 88 papers published in
Health Benefits Of Hawthorn Berries
States that hawthorn berries contain large amounts of polyphenols, antioxidant compounds that fight free radicals. Apart from the antioxidant capacity of polyphenol compounds, they also protect against inflammation and other markers for chronic diseases.
Hawthorn extract may contain compounds from the berries, flowers and leaves of the hawthorn plant that help reduce anxiety. An older double-blind study was published in
Analyzed a formulation of hawthorn extract, California poppy, and magnesium and its effects on 264 people with anxiety. Results showed a significant reduction in mild to moderate levels of anxiety compared to placebo. However, the specific role played by hawthorn has not been analyzed in depth.
The NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health also notes the promotion of hawthorn for use in the treatment of anxiety.
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Hawthorn berry supplements often contain berries, flowers and leaves. The NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health indicates that the most common side effects of taking hawthorn may include nausea, dizziness and digestive symptoms. Those taking anticoagulants should avoid taking hawthorn.
Always consult your doctor or registered dietitian before adding any supplements to your diet. Many products have different dosage recommendations, and your healthcare provider can best direct you because they know your medical history.
Tiffany Chaney is an environmental and health writer dedicated to advocacy, ethics and transparency.