“Its thorns are like nails; inches long and strong; tensile. And yet, a gentler, more nourishing medicine plant is unlikely to be found.” -jim mcdonald
Hawthorn Berry has been used in Greek culture for thousands of years to treat a variety of health issues. It was used to treat such conditions as diarrhea, female problems, and to heal wounds by Native Americans. It is a trusted cardiac tonic that has been used to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and significantly enhance blood circulation to the heart and brain. It also been used to strengthen the heart, in conditions such as angina, myocarditis (inflamed heart), and arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). Hawthorn Berry contains antioxidants that destroy free radicals in the body, which helps your system fight disease and the effects of aging. It has to have astringent properties that are helpful in treating seborrhea, dermatitis and acne and is even thought to have some anti-aging properties, as it helps to increase blood flow to the skin. The flavonoids in this herbal supplement are beneficial for many health conditions and are believed to be beneficial in arteriosclerosis, allergies, asthma and sinusitis. The Hawthorn herb is also a diuretic and can aid digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), dysentery, and it eases some symptoms of Crohn's disease when used regularly. It also has been used to aid in resisting fluid retention in the body and to facilitate easy passage of kidney stones by helping to dissolve them. Menopausal women benefit particularly from Hawthorn Berries as they control palpitations and reduce the occurrences of night sweats. Its sedative properties are deployed for inducing sleep in those who are suffering from insomnia. Incidences of confusion can be controlled with the help of this liquid herbal extract.
Hawthorn Berry is widely regarded in Europe as a safe and effective herbal supplement in the early stages of heart disease and is endorsed by Commission E that studies and approves this herbal remedy. Used to promote the health of the circulatory system, it has been studied for treating angina, congestive heart failure, valve prolapse, myocarditis, arteriosclerosis and cardiac arrhythmia. The bioflavonoids found in Hawthorn interact with key enzymes in the heart to increase the pumping force of the heart muscle and may help to eliminate arrhythmia. It is believed to be especially effective in the beginning stages of heart disease, as well as speeding up the recovery time after a heart attack. The effects of Hawthorn Berry tincture is not immediate and can take up to 6 weeks to show any signs of improvement. A study in 2009 listed Hawthorn Berry extract as an herbal remedy that worked as well as a leading high cholesterol medication.
Another benefit of Hawthorn Berry is that it harbors potent antioxidant properties, which are believed to exert cholesterol lowering effects and reduce the accumulation of fatty plaque in the arteries, thus improving blood flow to the heart. It appears to increase the liver's conversion of LDLs (bad cholesterol) into HDLs (good cholesterol) that do not clog arteries, which helps to stop plaque formation. Hawthorn tincture has been used for the treatment of spasms of the arteries (as with Reynaud's disease).
Studies suggest that Hawthorn Berry can be taken safely by people with hypertension who are also taking blood pressure medications. This herbal supplement is believed to reduce high blood pressure caused by hardening of the arteries and kidney disease. It has been shown to have the ability to both lower high blood pressure and to bring low blood pressure back to normal. Although it doesn't cure it, it may help to reduce the symptoms enough to stop the feeling of fainting when going from a seated to a standing position, sometimes associated with the condition.
Hawthorn Berry's high vitamin C content helps to strengthen tiny capillaries in the brain, opening them and resulting in more nutrients and oxygen reaching the brain. And in combination with Ginkgo, Hawthorn stimulates blood circulation to the brain, and herbalists have long used it to treat age-related forms of memory problems. It has also been used to improve capillary health and is known to relieve conditions such as blood shot eyes and glaucoma.
Some research has claimed that this herb may be effective against certain serious diseases. Its rutin content is a bioflavonoid that appears to accelerate the death of leukemia cells and Burkitt's lymphoma and may also deactivate plasmin, a chemical that allows cancerous growths to spread throughout the body. The proanthocyanidins in the Berry "possess a higher degree of polymerization, a characteristic that reportedly increases antioxidant activity." Hawthorn is believed to be a powerful antioxidant, which can help to destroy free radicals in the body. Free radicals are naturally occurring molecules which cannot be avoided; however, their presence is increased by environmental pollutants such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, ultraviolet light, radiation and even some medications. Free radicals enter the body, destroy healthy cells and damage genetic material, increasing the likelihood of cancer and speeding the natural aging process.
Hawthorn Berry may be of great help for arthritis and osteoporosis. Hawthorn is said to stabilize the collagen in the bone itself, thereby helping to counter osteoporosis. The berries have a chemical action that may help tone down inflammation. And while helping to protect collagen, it may slow down the progression of chronic inflammatory disease.
ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) may be helped by the use of Hawthorn extract. By increasing blood circulation to the brain and stopping inflammatory responses caused by allergies, the herb is believed to have a sedative effect on the central nervous system. People who suffer from anxiety, strain, pressure and tension may benefit from Hawthorn extract, because of its mild sedative properties. The sedative effect has also been shown to be helpful for insomnia and nervous disorders.
Hawthorn Berry supplement has been used as a digestive aid, to relieve abdominal distention and treat dyspepsia, food stagnation, abdominal tumors, diarrhea and as an herbal remedy for dropsy.
Hawthorn has been used to stimulate the thyroid, which can lead to a faster metabolism as a secondary reaction. Hawthorn also reduces water retention and increases energy levels, allowing you to exercise more intensely and for longer periods of time.
Some therapeutic benefits of hawthorn:
- strengthen heart muscle
- increase the effectiveness of the heart's pumping action
- help prevent heart disease, heart attack and stroke
- help those healing from heart surgery
- support the immune system
- increase longevity
- slow the heartbeat
- reduce blood pressure
1) Hawthorn is a heart tonic but is not a substitute for prescribed heart medication. People suffering from heart problems should always seek advice from their physician prior to use.
2) Pregnant of nursing mothers should use hawthorn only upon the advice of a qualified health professional.
3) Large doses of hawthorn may act as a sedative or cause a rapid drop in blood pressure.
Hawthorn works slowly, like all herbal tonics. It should be taken for at least 3 months, up to several years or longer, if needed. It is safe to use concurrently with allopathic drugs such as digitoxin and may even allow a person to reduce the dose of this commonly prescribed, but highly toxic medicine.
With long-term use, hawthorn can safely help to strengthen and nourish the heart. Here is a summary of the important clinical effects of hawthorn:
1. It dilates the arteries that supply the heart muscle itself with blood, oxygen, and fuel, providing a better supply of these essential nutrients. This results, with continued use, in a stronger, more efficient heart beat.
2. It acts as a powerful free-radical scavenger, protecting the heart against the harmful effects of lessened oxygen--a common result of vascular disease, such as atherosclerosis.
3. It can help steady the heartbeat, if it is irregular, and does not lead to dependence.
4. It has mild sedative activity, which may be useful where mild heart disease is combined with nervousness, hypochondria, etc., in which case it can be combined with lavender or lemon balm.
In this modern age with its times of stress and anxiety, it is reassuring that nature has provided such a gentle yet effective cardiovascular protector as hawthorn.
Tinctures - Adult dose:
Tonic: 5 drops to 1 teaspoon once a day
Standard dose: 1 teaspoon 3 times a day
Acute conditions: 1 teaspoon up to 6 times a day.