Which Medicines Interact With Hawthorn Berries – 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 nutrient-rich berries have a tart, tangy taste and mild sweetness. They have a color ranging from yellow to dark red (
Which Medicines Interact With Hawthorn Berries
For hundreds of years, people have used hawthorn berry as a herbal remedy for digestive problems, heart problems, and high blood pressure. In fact, the berry has been a key part of traditional Chinese medicine since at least 659 AD. (
Hawthorn (shan Zha)
Antioxidants help neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals that can harm your body when they are present at high levels.
Free radicals can come from certain foods. You can also have higher levels of them due to exposure to environmental toxins like air pollution and cigarette smoke (
Polyphenols are associated with numerous 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 evaluate the effects of hawthorn berries on disease risk.
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Summary Hawthorn berry contains plant polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties that have been linked to numerous health benefits.
Research has found that chronic inflammation is linked to many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, asthma, and some types of cancer (
In a study of mice with liver disease, hawthorn berry extract significantly reduced levels of inflammatory compounds, leading to a reduction in inflammation and liver damage (
In one study, researchers administered 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 (
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These promising results from animal and test-tube studies suggest that the supplement may offer anti-inflammatory benefits for humans. However, more research is needed.
Summary Hawthorn berry extract has shown anti-inflammatory potential in test-tube and animal studies. However, human research is needed.
In traditional Chinese medicine, hawthorn berry is one of the most commonly recommended foods to help treat high blood pressure (
Animal studies show that hawthorn can act as a vasodilator, which means it can relax narrowed 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 slightly elevated blood pressure.
The researchers found that those who took 500 mg of the extract per day had a reduction in diastolic blood pressure, the lowest number of 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. People who took the extract experienced more improvements in blood pressure than those in the placebo group (
However, more studies are needed to support these findings. It is also important to note that using an extract is not the same as eating berries.
Hawthorne Berry As Herbal Medicine For Healing Your Heart
Summary Some research suggests that hawthorn berries can reduce blood pressure by helping to dilate blood vessels. However, more studies are needed.
Some studies indicate that hawthorn extract can improve blood cholesterol levels thanks to its flavonoid and pectin content. Pectin is a type of fiber involved in the metabolism of cholesterol (
Unbalanced blood cholesterol levels – particularly high triglycerides and low HDL (good) cholesterol – play a role in atherosclerosis or plaque buildup in blood vessels (
If the plaque continues to build up, it could completely block a blood vessel, causing 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 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 of 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 the accumulation of noxious plaque in the carotid artery (
While this research is promising, more human studies are needed to evaluate the effect of hawthorn extract on blood cholesterol.
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Summary Research in animals and humans suggests that taking hawthorn extract can help reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, more human research is needed.
People have used hawthorn berries and extracts for centuries to treat 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 nourish and promote healthy gut bacteria, which are vital for maintaining healthy digestion (
An observational study in people with slow digestion found that every additional gram of dietary fiber consumed by people was associated with a 30-minute decrease in time between bowel movements (
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Additionally, a rat study found that hawthorn extract dramatically reduced the intestinal transit time of food in the digestive system (
Additionally, research on rodents suggests that compounds in hawthorn berries could increase the production and activity of digestive enzymes, particularly those needed for the digestion of fatty and protein-rich foods (
Summary People have used hawthorn berry as a digestive aid for centuries. It can help relieve constipation and improve the production of enzymes needed to digest fatty, protein-rich foods.
Hawthorn berries can help prevent premature skin aging caused by collagen breakdown due to excessive exposure to the sun or ultraviolet light.
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A test-tube study found that a blend of hawthorn and ginseng extract could prevent the signs of aging by inhibiting the formation of wrinkles and increasing skin hydration (
Research suggests that this effect may be due to the antioxidant content of the hawthorn berry. However, research in this area is limited and human studies are needed.
Summary Some research suggests that hawthorn berries may help reduce the signs of aging due to their antioxidant content.
In a previous 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 the hawthorn played (
Organic Hawthorn Berry Tea
Hawthorn appears to have fewer side effects than traditional anxiolytic medications. This is one of the reasons why scientists continue to research it as a potential treatment for central nervous system disorders such as anxiety and depression (
However, these studies used various types of hawthorn products, not necessarily the berry in particular. More research is needed.
If you want to try a hawthorn supplement to manage your anxiety, don’t stop using your current medications, and be sure to discuss it with a healthcare provider beforehand to make sure it’s safe for you.
Summary Scientists are studying hawthorn supplements as a potential treatment for anxiety. However, there isn’t much research on them for this purpose right now. More studies are needed on the effects of hawthorn berry on anxiety.
Hawthorn Berry Capsules
Hawthorn berry is best known for its use in traditional settings in the treatment of heart failure, along with other traditional medications. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart cannot pump blood properly.
Numerous studies have suggested that hawthorn berry may have beneficial effects without serious adverse effects in people with heart failure (
Studies mainly show improvements in heart function and symptoms of heart failure, such as shortness of breath and fatigue (
However, some evidence has suggested that hawthorn may be harmful in some cases of heart failure. One study found that taking it alongside conventional treatments increased the risk of heart failure progressing (
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Summary In some traditional medicine practices, people commonly take hawthorn berry along with other traditional heart failure medications. However, it can be harmful when combined with conventional heart failure medications.
Hawthorn berry can be hard to find at your local grocery store. However, you may find it at farmers markets and health food stores.
Hawthorn berry supplements usually contain the berry along with leaves and flowers, although some only include leaves and flowers.
Different brands and forms of hawthorn supplements have varying dosage recommendations. Typical dosages are 250-500 mg three times a day. However, research has yet to determine an optimal effective dose (
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Keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements such as hawthorn under a less stringent set of regulations than over-the-counter or prescription drugs.
Look for products that have received a seal of approval from independent organizations that evaluate the effectiveness and quality of supplements, such as United States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, or ConsumerLab.
Summary You can eat hawthorn berries in many ways or take them as a supplement. However, the appropriate doses are still undefined and more research is needed.
Not many side effects have been reported from taking hawthorn berries. Those that exist appear to range from mild to moderate.
Hawthorn: Foraging And Using
The most frequent reported by people are sweating, headache, drowsiness, palpitations, mild rash, agitation, and gastrointestinal effects (
While these are not life-threatening events, be sure to speak to a healthcare provider if you experience any of these symptoms.
Summary The side effects of consuming hawthorn berries tend to be mild. They often include sweating, headache, sleepiness, palpitations, mild rash, agitation, and gastrointestinal effects.
The use of medicinal herbs as alternative treatments for various diseases has become increasingly widespread