Hawthorn is best known as a cardiotonic herb. This basically means that it can do wonderful things for the heart. Studies show that the small but mighty hawthorn berry is loaded with health boosting properties. These properties can help a range of chronic health problems from high cholesterol to angina. This amazing little herb can do much more! It is helpful for:
Antioxidants and the immune system
The humble Hawthorn Berry enjoys a long and enduring history as the herb to strengthen your heart – both physically and emotionally. It can aid your heart in many ways and with many problems.
Major Heart Concerns
Hawthorn berry is best known for its helpful toning effects on the heart. As a “cardiotonic herb,” hawthorn has shown itself to be impressively helpful for all kinds of serious heart concerns. These include heart failure, heart disease, angina pectoris, changes in cardiac rhythm, and atherosclerosis. According to a 2016 study published in the journal Current Medicinal Chemistry, hawthorn’s powerful heart benefits come from its high polyphenolic content.
Containing a plethora of powerful antioxidants, Hawthorn Berries are known to be potent vasodilators, helping to keep high blood pressure (hypertension) in check. In 2002 a 10 week study was conducted on volunteers who had been diagnosed with hypertension. After 10 weeks, the group showed a significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure, as well as an improvement in mood and lower anxiety levels. Hypertension is both a symptom and a cause of chronic heart failure. Maintaining normal blood pressure levels can play a major role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Hawthorn Berries have been extensively studied in relation to congestive heart failure, with findings concurring that symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, palpitations (the three main symptoms of heart failure) can all be significantly decreased and tiredness can be dramatically improved. Additionally, a study also showed that a hawthorn extract worked as well as a prescription heart failure drug (captopril) with significantly less side effects.
Another important benefit of Hawthorn is that the flavones contained within this berry can improve the heart’s ability to withstand stress.
Finally, angina sufferers can greatly benefit from this herb.
Decreased blood flow to the heart causes chest pain known as angina. Since hawthorn improves blood flow and strengthens the heart muscles, it is avery useful remedy for preventing and treating angina.
Overall, hawthorn is an especially useful herb to keep your heart happy and healthy! Whether you choose to add a few cups of the delicious tea, or some extract to your daily routine, your heart will surely be grateful to you! It is a strong muscle than never stops to rest and it deserves our care and love!
Antioxidants and the immune system
Whilst Hawthorn Berries are most known for their contribution to heart health, running a close second are the phenomenal amount of powerful antioxidants they contain.
In addition to the antioxidants eliminating dangerous toxins from the body, the vitamin C in hawthorn berries are also boosting the activity of your white blood cells to increase your overall health!
Hawthorn is especially high in oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs) and it is this particular class of antioxidants that seem to be responsible for Hawthorn’s many health benefits. They enhance the antioxidant activity of vitamins A, C and E, improve circulation, strengthen capillaries, reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, protect against atherosclerosis, are effective antioxidants for the brain and nerve tissue and enhance connective tissue health. They have also been shown to reduce histamine production, making OPCs useful in the treatment of allergies.
In China, hawthorn is called “Shan-Zha” and it is an important part of Chinese medicine. A study done in China showed some really impressive health results. It revealed that the hawthorn berry not only reduced overall high cholesterol levels, it also notably decreased LDL cholesterol, liver cholesterol and triglycerides as well as body weight!
Scientific research conducted in 2008 revealed that hawthorn berry extract is excellent at decreasing inflammation.
This is huge for health since we know that inflammation is at the root of most diseases. The research also shows that the extract of hawthorn berry is a free radical scavenger. This is extremely beneficial to human health since free radicals can cause cellular damage (including DNA damage) by stealing electrons through a process called oxidation.
In many traditional medicines, hawthorn berries are used for certain psychological conditions, including stress, anxiety and even depression. During the pilot study conducted in the UK, which evaluated hawthorn for hypertension, a trend towards a reduction in anxiety was observed in those taking hawthorn compared with the other groups taking a placebo. Hawthorn may have an impact on hormonal levels, which would explain why so many cultures of the past believed it was the cure “for a broken heart.”
The many organic compounds found in hawthorn interact with gut flora to improve digestion. Additionally, the fiber in hawthorn improves the digestive process, helping with constipation, bloating and cramping.Hawthorn Berries stimulate bile and gastric secretions, aiding in the digestion of stagnant food in the GI tract, especially that which is rich in fats or protein.
Apart from improving nutrient uptake and eliminating constipation, it’s also suggested that hawthorn may help eliminate intestinal infections like tapeworms.
Hawthorn is known to expand the coronary blood vessels, which allows for more blood to be circulated through the body, which can result in a higher level of energy or alertness.
When all parts of your body are properly oxygenated, your cognitive skills improve, your energy levels rise, and your metabolism is able to work at optimal levels.
The antioxidant content in hawthorn makes it useful for applying topically to the skin, particularly on burns, sores, or acne. The organic compounds are anti-inflammatory in nature and are good for reducing itching on healing wounds or from other skin conditions, like eczema or psoriasis.