Hawthorn berry benefits: A Greek shepherd once asked his neighbor how he raised such robust, agile, and healthy goats. The shepherd wanted to know because summer in the Mediterranean had ended, and food for livestock was scarce. The dry and rocky fields do not produce much food for mammals at that time of the year.
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The neighbor told the shepherd about a plant with spiky shrubs and red berries and told him to feed them to his goats. A few days later, the shepherd noticed a significant difference. The goats became stronger than ever before. They never seemed tired while climbing the slopes during the heat of the Greek summer.
Perhaps this shepherd’s experience was known by Dioscorides, an acute observer and brilliant botanical and outstanding physician, who recommended this plant to strengthen the body and heal several afflictions. Maybe its scientific name, Crataegus, arises from such an episode since, according to Greek, it means “strong goats.”
Hawthorn berry benefits are already widely known. However, the experimental knowledge based on its effects on goats could not be scientifically proven until the 19th century. Jennings and other American physicians of that time studied the cardiotonic properties of hawthorn.
Currently, Hawthorn Berry’s benefits are well recognized. It is considered to be a medicinal herb and is a part of many phytotherapeutic preparations.
How to Use Hawthorn
Thanks to Hawthorn Berry’s benefits, it is among the most effective vegetal remedies for treating tachycardia, high blood pressure, and other dysfunctions with a nervous cause.
- Fresh fruits: Though they have a lower concentration of active components, they are also helpful, and a handful could be eaten three times a day.
- Dry extract: The recommended dose varies from 0.5 to 1 g, three times a day.
Infusion: Steep for five to fifteen minutes and take one cup two to three times daily. Decoction: Simmer for five to fifteen minutes and take six ounces three times daily. Tincture: Take fifteen to thirty drops (1/2 to one teaspoon) three times daily. Fluid Extract: Take ten to fifteen drops three times daily. Powder: Take ten #0 capsules (60 grains) thrice daily.
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Hawthorn Scientific Facts
- Synonyms: May bush, May tree, quickset, thorn-apple tree, whitethorn
- French: Aubepine, epiniere
- Spanish: Espino blanco, Espino albar
- Habitat: Common in all forests of Europe and naturalized in America
- Description: Spiky shrub of the Rosaceae family, growing from two to four meters high. Deciduous, three or five-lobulated leaves; white, aromatic flowers; red berries
- Parts used: The flowers and the fruits
Hawthorn Berry Benefits
Hawthorn berry benefits come from its flowers and fruits. The plant contains diverse flavonic glycosides and chemical polyphenols, to which it owes its therapeutic action to the heart and the circulatory system. Other beneficial compounds include triterpenic derivatives and several biogenic amines (trimethylamine, choline, tyramine, etc.), enhancing its cardiotonic effect.
This is a property attributed mainly to flavonoids, which prevent ATPase. This enzyme catalyzes the splitting of ATP, which serves as a source of energy for cells, including heart muscle. When impeding ATP’s destruction, cells have more energy; thus, there is an increase in the heart rate’s contractile strength. Hawthorn also has the following uses:
– Coronary insufficiency (heart weakness), with or without dilation of its cavities, due to myocarditis or myocardiopathy )inflammation or degeneration of the heart muscle), valve lesions, or recent myocardial infarction.
– Arrhythmia (disorders of the heartbeat rate): extrasystole (palpitations), tachycardia, atrial fibrillation, or blocking.
– Angina pectoris: Hawthorn increases the amount of blood in the coronary arteries and fights their spasms, which causes angina pectoris. It is a good vasodilator of coronary arteries.
The cardiotonic and antiarrhythmic effect of hawthorn is similar to that obtained with the foxglove plant, which it can substitute with favorable results (except in acute cases). Hawthorn lacks the toxicity and the accumulative risk typical of foxglove.
Balancing of Blood Pressure
Hawthorn balances blood pressure since it decreases it in hypertensive people and increases it in hypotensive people. Its balancing action of hypertension is evident and rapid, achieving more lasting effects than with other synthetic anti-hypertensives.
This herb has a soothing effect on the nervous system. It is helpful in those persons suffering from nervousness that shows itself through a sensation of heart oppression, tachycardia, breathing difficulty, anxiety, or insomnia. It is known as one of the most effective anxiolytic plants (which eliminates anxiety).
Hawthorn is considered the herb of the heart. This plant can normalize blood pressure by regulating the action of the heart. It can dilate coronary blood vessels, which are the ones that are responsible for sustaining the organ itself. Prolonged use of the hawthorn will usually lower blood pressure. (Remember that a key to lowering blood pressure is to drink adequate water daily). It normalizes blood pressure and helps to increase it.
Hawthorn can also help with arrhythmic or rapid heartbeat, nervous heart problems, arteriosclerosis, and heart inflammation or myocarditis. It benefits heart muscles weakened by age and regularly strengthens the heart. The herb can also prevent the hardening of the arteries, and it is a fantastic remedy for an irregular pulse, valvular insufficiencies, and feeble heart action.
The tea is also suitable for insomnia and other nervous conditions. Hawthorn berry benefits various ailments such as acid conditions of the blood and sore throat. The Native Americans used the herb to treat rheumatism. It is used to treat digestive issues in China.
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Other Hawthorn Species
The Crataegus oxyacantha L. is a hawthorn species that coexists with the Crataegus monogyna L., the components of both species being practically similar. The difference is that the berries of the oxyacantha have two or three seeds, while those of the monogyna only have one.
Warning: High doses (12 to 15 times more than recommended) may produce bradycardia (slowing of the heartbeat rate) and respiratory depression. With the recommended doses, there are no undesirable side effects.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the most effective way to reap Hawthorn berry benefits?
While berries offer some antioxidants, standardized extracts (leaf and flower) are more potent for specific concerns. Capsules, tinctures, and teas are standard options. Consult a herbalist for dosage recommendations based on your needs.
Can I combine Hawthorn with other heart-healthy supplements or medications?
Exercise caution! Hawthorn can interact with certain medications, like blood thinners and heart meds. Before incorporating it into your routine, you should talk with your physician about any possible interactions.
Are there different hawthorn varieties, and do they matter?
Yes! Crataegus monogyna and Crataegus laevigata are popular choices for cardiovascular support. However, specific varieties may excel in other areas like antioxidant content or anti-inflammatory properties. Research the variety best suited for your desired benefit.
Beyond heart health, what other potential Hawthorn berry benefits can I expect?
Hawthorn’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may support digestion, improve skin health, and offer cognitive benefits. Research is ongoing, but early studies show promise in these areas.
Are there any side effects I should be aware of?
Hawthorn is generally well-tolerated, but mild side effects like nausea, dizziness, and headache can occur. If you experience anything concerning, discontinue use and consult your healthcare provider.
How long should I take Hawthorn before seeing results?
Hawthorn berry benefits like improved circulation and blood pressure management may take several weeks to manifest. Studies suggest at least 3 months of consistent use for heart failure support. Remember, consistency is key!
Can I grow my hawthorn berries?
Absolutely! Hawthorn shrubs are relatively easy to cultivate in temperate climates. However, harvesting and processing berries for medicinal use might not be as potent as commercially available extracts. Consider growing for the aesthetic appeal and enjoying the occasional fresh berry (they’re pretty tart!).
Bonus Tip: Hawthorn berries can be incorporated into jams, jellies, and syrups for a unique flavor twist. Just remember, the heat may diminish some of their beneficial properties.
- George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 219,220. Print. [hawthorn berry benefits]
- Vance Ferrell Harold M. Cherne, M.D. The Natural Remedies Encyclopedia [Book]. – Altamont, TN: Harvestime Books, 2010. – Vol. Seventh Edition: 7: pp. 162.
- “Crataegus Monograph” by The American Botanical Council (ABC)
- “Hawthorn for Heart Failure” by The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
- “A Review of the Safety and Efficacy of Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) in the Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease,” published in the Journal of the American Heart Association
- Mayo Clinic
- Mountain Rose Herbs
- “The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy” by Valerie Ann Worwood
- “The Green Pharmacy” by James A. Duke
Last update on 2024-02-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API