Did you know that the tiny red hawthorn berries with a tart taste are used to treat heart failures? They are commonly found in North America, Europe, and Asia. These tangy fruits are loaded with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and gastroprotective properties. Hawthorn berries help improve heart health, lower blood pressure, improve digestion, and reduce anxiety. In fact, the flowers, stems, leaves, and bark of the hawthorn plant possess medicinal properties. In this article, we explore the health benefits of hawthorn berry, its nutrition profile, dosage, and potential side effects. Keep reading!
In This Article
6 Impressive Health Benefits Of Hawthorn Berry
1. May Help Treat Heart Failure
Studies show that hawthorn berry is used as a combination drug to treat heart failure (a condition where the heart can’t pump as much blood as it should). The narrowed arteries in the heart gradually leave your heart too weak to pump blood efficiently, leading to heart failure. Trials conducted on 855 patients with chronic heart failure showed that hawthorn improved heart function when used in combination with conventional treatments.
A study conducted on patients with chronic heart failure stage NYHA II (people with symptoms of fatigue, palpitation, and dyspnea even with ordinary physical activity) found that those who took hawthorn berry extract had fewer symptoms. Hawthorn berry was also found to reduce the risk of sudden death due to heart-related issues. However, more studies are needed to understand this benefit of hawthorn berry.
2. May Improve Cardiovascular Function
Hawthorn berry contains flavonoids, polyphenols, and procyanidins. Its extract has been found to work well for patients with angina (chest pain caused by reduced blood flow). It improves the blood flow and oxygen supply of the heart and also enhances cardiac energy metabolism. Hawthorn berry is said to possess anti-atherosclerosis properties, and may prevent the accumulation of cholesterol, fats, and plaque on the artery walls. Research shows that the flavonoids in hawthorn berries interact with enzymes that help enhance myocardial contractility (the ability of the heart muscle to contract).
3. May Lower Blood Pressure
Hawthorn berry has been used for treating high blood pressure. A study conducted by the University of Reading found that hawthorn extract can have a hypotensive effect. Hawthorn relaxes blood vessels and allows blood to flow more easily. Its active components were found to cause vasorelaxation (reduction in tension of the blood vessel walls) in rat studies.
In another small-scale study conducted on 79 individuals with type 2 diabetes, daily intake of 1200 grams of hawthorn extract for sixteen weeks along with prescription drugs was found to lower blood pressure. No herb-drug interactions were recorded during this controlled trial. However, more human studies are warranted to further understand this benefit of hawthorn berry.
4. May Improve Digestion
Hawthorn berries and extracts have been used in traditional medicine for treating digestive problems. In a study, the phenolic and flavonoid compounds in hawthorn berry extracts showed anti-inflammatory, gastroprotective, anti-microbial, and free radical-scavenging properties. 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 digestion-improving agents that were found to accelerate gastrointestinal transit in mice.
5. May Reduce Anxiety
Hawthorn berries can reduce anxiety. In a study, hawthorn extract, with a combination of five other extracts, showed a mild sedative effect and helped lower anxiety in patients with anxiety disorders. Another study conducted by the University of Reading found that hawthorn exhibited hypotensive and anti-anxiety effects. The extracts of hawthorn proved safer and more effective when compared with placebo (medical treatment) for treating anxiety disorders.
6. May Lower Cholesterol Levels
The polyphenols in hawthorn berries help lower serum cholesterol levels. In an animal study, the ethanol extract of hawthorn could suppress the stimulation effect of a high-fat diet. This resulted in lower levels of total serum cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein.
Another study conducted on hamsters found that the triterpenic acid in hawthorn extracts can lower plasma cholesterol levels. It works by inhibiting acyltransferase, an enzyme that promotes cholesterol absorption.
Another study conducted by the Victoria University on mice with high cholesterol levels found that hawthorn fruit could lower the levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides as good as cholesterol-lowering medication. However, more studies are needed to understand this benefit of hawthorn berries in humans.
From eating raw hawthorn berries to making tea, jellies, and tinctures, you can consume these fruits in various ways. In the following section, we discuss how you can add hawthorn berries to your diet.
How To Add Hawthorn Berry To Your Diet?
- Hawthorn Berry Tea
What Do You Need
- Dried hawthorn berries – 1 tablespoon
- Dried organic rose petals – 1 to 2 tablespoons
- Crushed cinnamon – ¼ teaspoon
- Soak dried hawthorn berries overnight.
- Boil 2 cups of water and place the hawthorn berries into a pot.
- Lower the heat and simmer the mix for about half an hour.
- Make sure to keep the lid on.
- Add rose petals and cinnamon to the pot and cover it with a lid.
- Steep for 10 minutes and strain.
- Hawthorn Berry Jelly
What Do You Need
- Hawthorn berries – 2 pounds
- White sugar – 2 cups
- Juice of one lemon
- Take four cups of water in a large saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 40 minutes.
- Break the fruits using a potato masher and strain them through a jelly bat to get clear jelly.
- Add white sugar and lemon juice to the fruit juice.
- Stir the mixture constantly and boil it until it sets.
- Pour the mixture into clean jars and let it cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator.
Hawthorn berries can also be used in winemaking. They are even available as hawthorn berry supplements. But what is their ideal dosage?
What Is The Recommended Dosage Of Hawthorn Berry?
A minimum dose of 300 mg of hawthorn extract daily is recommended for treating heart failure. A dose of 160 to 900 mg of hawthorn extract per day is recommended for the treatment of congestive heart failure. These dosages are highly dependent on the forms of hawthorn. Also, hawthorn supplements are not regulated by any authorized organizations. Hence, procure them from a reputed brand after consulting your doctor.
Hawthorn berries have an impressive nutritive profile. Read on to know the key nutrients in these berries.
Nutrition Profile Of Hawthorn Berry
Hawthorn berries are rich in several vitamins and plant nutrients.
- Flavonoid rutin
- Vitamin C
- Folic acid
These nutrients are high in anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiseptic properties. They help improve blood flow, metabolism, cardiovascular health, and nutrient absorption.
You should store these berries carefully to avoid damage. We tell you how in the following section.
How To Store Hawthorn Berries?
Hawthorn berries can look fresh for two weeks if stored in a cool, dry place. You can also freeze these fruits in the refrigerator. Died hawthorn berries can be used in the preparation of tea, extracts, and infusions.
In general, hawthorn berries are considered safe for consumption for many people. But they may cause side effects in some individuals. We will explore more in the next section.
Side Effects And Precautions
Intake of hawthorn berry is generally considered safe for many individuals. However, some people have complained about nausea, dizziness, headache, mild rashes, sweating, and cardiac and gastrointestinal symptoms. Also, there is little information about the safety of hawthorn berries during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Consult your doctor before you start using any hawthorn berry supplements.
Hawthorn can interact with drugs such as digoxin (that helps improve heartbeat). Avoid taking hawthorn with digoxin. As per studies, hawthorn can also interact with beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and nitrates.
Hawthorn berry has been used in traditional medicine for its medicinal properties. From treating heart failures to lowering cholesterol levels, it helps treat many health ailments. But it may interact with certain medications and cause adverse effects. Hence, talk to your doctor before including these berries in your routine.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Does hawthorn make you sleep?
Yes. Hawthorn is said to possess a sedative effect and may make you sleep. It can affect the nervous system and acts as a calmative agent.
Is hawthorn safe for the liver?
Yes. As per one rat study, the flavonoids in hawthorn leaves help alleviate non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. These also lower liver weight, improve serum parameters, and decrease hepatic lipid accumulation.
Does hawthorn lower blood sugar?
Yes. Hawthorn can lower blood glucose levels. This traditional Chinese medicine has been used in the treatment of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
How long does hawthorn to show results?
Hawthorn may take up to 4 to 8 weeks to show any considerable results.
Is Hawthorn a diuretic?
Yes, hawthorn may have diuretic properties. It may help increase the excretion of water from the body through the kidneys.
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