What Medications Do Hawthorn Berries Interfere With – Small red hawthorn berries are commonly found in North America, Asia and Europe. The health benefits of hawthorn berries can be combined with their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and stomach-protecting properties. These tangy fruits can help improve heart health, boost digestion, lower blood pressure, and ease anxiety. The stems, leaves and bark of the hawthorn plant also have important medicinal properties. In this article, we discuss the various health benefits of hawthorn berries, their nutritional profile, dosage, and potential side effects. Continue reading.
Studies show that hawthorn berry is used as a combination medicine to treat heart failure (a condition in which the heart cannot pump as much blood as it should) (1). Narrowed arteries in the heart gradually leave your heart too weak to pump blood effectively, leading to heart failure. Studies in 855 patients with chronic heart failure showed that hawthorn improved heart function when used in combination with conventional treatments (2).
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A study of chronic heart failure stage NYHA II (individuals with symptoms of fatigue, palpitations, and shortness of breath even with normal physical activity) found that those who took hawthorn extract had fewer symptoms (3). Hawthorn berries were also found to reduce the risk of sudden death from heart problems (4). However, more research is needed to understand this benefit of hawthorn.
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Hawthorn contains flavonoids, polyphenols and procyanidins. Its extract has been found to work well in patients with angina pectoris (chest pain caused by reduced blood flow). It improves the heart’s blood circulation and oxygen supply and also enhances the heart’s energy metabolism (5). Hawthorn berries are said to have anti-atherosclerosis properties and can prevent cholesterol, fats and plaque from building up in artery walls (6). Research shows that the flavonoids in hawthorn berries interact with enzymes that help improve myocardial contractility (the ability of the heart muscle to contract) (5).
Hawthorn berries have been used to treat high blood pressure (5). A study conducted by the University of Reading concluded that hawthorn extract may have a blood pressure-lowering effect (7). Hawthorn relaxes blood vessels and allows blood to flow more easily. Its active components were found to cause vasorelaxation (reduction of tension in blood vessel walls) in rat studies (8), (9).
In another small study in 79 people with type 2 diabetes, daily intake of 1,200 grams of hawthorn extract for sixteen weeks along with prescription medications was found to lower blood pressure (10). No herb-drug interactions were observed during this controlled study. However, more human studies are needed to understand this benefit of hawthorn.
Hawthorn berries and extracts have been used in traditional medicine to treat digestive disorders. In one study, the phenolic and flavonoid compounds of hawthorn extracts showed anti-inflammatory, gastroprotective, antimicrobial and free radical scavenging properties (11). Its gastroprotective effect was tested in rats with ulcers. It was found to exhibit bactericidal activity against Gram-positive bacteria such as Micrococcus flavus, Bacillus subtilis and Lysteria monocytogenes. Dried hawthorn fruit contains antioxidants and digestive-enhancing substances that were found to speed up gastrointestinal transit in mice (12).
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Hawthorn berries can reduce anxiety (13). In one study, hawthorn extract with a combination of five other extracts showed mild sedative effects and helped reduce anxiety in patients with anxiety disorders (14). Another study conducted by the University of Reading found that hawthorn had blood pressure-lowering and anxiety-relieving effects (7). Hawthorn extracts were shown to be safer and more effective compared to placebo (drug therapy) in the treatment of anxiety disorders (15). You can take two cups of hawthorn tea every day after meals to reduce anxiety.
The polyphenols in hawthorn berries help lower serum cholesterol levels (5). In an animal study, Ethanol extract of hawthorn could suppress the stimulating effect of a high-fat diet (16). This resulted in reductions in serum total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoproteins.
Another study in hamsters found that the triterpenic acid in hawthorn extracts can lower plasma cholesterol levels (17). It works by inhibiting acyltransferase, an enzyme that promotes cholesterol absorption.
Another study in mice with high cholesterol from the University of Victoria found that hawthorn fruit can lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as cholesterol-lowering drugs (18). However, more studies are needed to understand this benefit of hawthorn in humans.
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In addition to all these benefits, hawthorn berries also help prevent the signs and symptoms of early aging because they are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. They also help prevent hyperpigmentation by inhibiting the production of melanin in skin cells.
You can consume these fruits in a variety of ways, from eating raw hawthorn berries to making tea, jellies and tinctures. In the next section, we will discuss how you can add hawthorn berries to your diet.
Hawthorn berries can also be used in winemaking. They are even available as hawthorn berry supplements. But what is their ideal dosage?
A minimum dose of 300 mg of hawthorn extract daily is recommended for the treatment of heart failure (19). A dose of 160-900 mg of hawthorn extract per day is recommended for the treatment of heart failure (20). These doses are highly dependent on the forms of the hawthorn. Nor are hawthorn supplements regulated by authorized organizations. Therefore, get them from a well-known brand after consulting your doctor.
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These nutrients are rich in anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiseptic properties. They help improve circulation, metabolism, cardiovascular health and nutrient absorption.
Hawthorn berries can look fresh for two weeks if stored in a cool, dry place. You can also freeze these fruits in the refrigerator. Dead hawthorn berries can be used to make teas, extracts and infusions.
In general, hawthorn berries are considered safe for consumption by many people. But they can cause side effects in some individuals. We will explore more in the next section.
Ingestion of hawthorn berries is generally considered safe for many individuals. However, some people have complained of nausea, dizziness, headaches, mild rashes, sweating, and gastrointestinal symptoms. It is also not recommended for children and pregnant/nursing women as there is little information on its safety. Talk to your doctor before you start taking hawthorn supplements.
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Hawthorn may interact with medications such as digoxin (which helps improve the heartbeat). Avoid taking hawthorn with digoxin (21). According to research, hawthorn can also interact with beta blockers, calcium channel blockers and nitrates (22), (23).
The benefits of hawthorn berries are due to their rich nutrient profile. When included as part of your regular diet, they help treat heart failure, improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, improve digestion, and reduce anxiety. In addition, the polyphenols in hawthorn berries help lower cholesterol levels. Although hawthorn berries are generally safe to consume, there have been reports of these berries causing headaches, nausea, dizziness, sweating, and gastrointestinal distress. Therefore, caution must be exercised when consuming them. Include hawthorn berries in moderation in your diet to reap their benefits.
Yeah. In one rat study, the weight of the group that received hawthorn berry drinks decreased significantly after the 10th week of treatment (26).
Can be. Anecdotal research suggests that hawthorn extract produces a slight but significant decrease in heart rate. However, there is limited research available to prove this claim.
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Hawthorn berries and leaves have a very similar nutritional profile. But they differ in the concentrations of certain flavonoids and procyanidins (23). However, more studies are needed to understand which of the two is the better option.
The recommended dose of hawthorn berries has not been recorded. However, 250-500 mg of hawthorn berries 3 times a day as a supplement is considered safe.
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Sindhu Koganti is a health and wellness writer with over 5 years of experience. He holds a bachelor’s degree… more
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Believes in credibility and gives our readers access to authentic and evidence-based content. Our strict editorial guidelines allow us to cite only reputable research institutions, academic journals and medically established studies. If you notice inconsistencies in our content, you can contact us. Hawthorn has long been used in Chinese and Western medicine to treat a variety of ailments. The most studied use of hawthorn is for congestive heart failure (CHF). Its efficacy in CHF and other conditions is limited, but so is its toxicity. However, it is always best to consult with your primary care provider and pharmacist before starting any herbal treatment to avoid potential interactions with prescription or over-the-counter medications.
To the genus and rose family, and contains hundreds of shrubs and trees. Other names for this plant include rowan, may flower, Shan za and crataegus berries. Hawthorn is native to Northern Europe, but it is grown all over the world. Hawthorn plants are found as thorn bushes or small trees with bright green leaves, white flowers and red berries.
Hawthorn fruit is used in traditional Chinese medicine