Have you heard of hawthorn berry? You must have known a little bit about this. But do you know how beneficial is it for you? Do you know what makes it so worthy? Hawthorn berries have been cherished for their therapeutic value.
They are high in bioflavonoids, antioxidants, and proanthocyanidins. This article will let you know the benefits of these compounds. Hawthorn is beneficial in promoting heart health. It is also great for stronger immunity and fighting infections. Let’s discuss its benefits and possible side effects in detail.
Chemical Components Of Hawthorn Berry
The hawthorn herb is rich in healthy compounds. The compounds make this herb so beneficial and worthy. Hawthorn contains flavonoids that improve heart health. These flavonoids also include OPCs. OPC stands for oligomeric proanthocyanidins. These are polyphenolic substances found in plants. The flowers contain most of the flavonoids. On the other hand, leaves contain most of the OPCs.
Here Are The Chemical Components Of Hawthorn Berries
- Flavonoids including hyperoside (1-2%)
- Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (1-3%)
- Phenolic acids (chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid)
- 2-(2-Phenylethyl) chromone derivatives
- Amine (phenylethylamine, metokskyfenetylamin, dopamine, acetylcholine and tyramine)
- Anthocyanin (fruit peel)
- Acantolic acid
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin C
One substance is not responsible for medical effects of hawthorn. But, the interaction of different components makes it so beneficial.
Health Benefits Of Hawthorn Berry
1. Herb For A Healthy Heart
Hawthorn is a magical herb known for treating heart ailments. It is considered as a cardiotonic herb. It has been proven effective for heart health. It has been shown to have positive effects on blood circulation. Hawthorn is an effective therapy to treat people with impaired cardiac function.
Heart failure can be in two forms- diastolic and systolic. Both of them are different. Diastolic is when your heart can’t fill with blood correctly. On the other hand, systolic is the poor pumping action of the heart. However, hawthorn is beneficial in early stages of chronic heart failure.
It can help reduce symptoms of heart failure such as stress dyspnea and palpitations. It has said to promote blood flow in the vessels. This, in turn, enhances the metabolism of the heart muscles. Therefore, it increases the efficiency of heart muscles.
High blood pressure is a common problem nowadays. A number of reasons could result in high blood pressure. However, hawthorn helps combat high blood pressure. Therefore, it reduces the risk of heart failure. Common symptoms of heart failure are fatigue and shortness of breath. It has been seen to increase circulation in arms and legs. How it does that?
Basically, it reduces the resistance in the arteries. It is because it inhibits the angiotensin-converting enzyme. This enzyme is linked to the formation of angiotensin II. Angiotensin II has a strong astringent effect on the blood vessels. Thus, it promotes the flow of blood more easily and smoothly.
The herb can also be used to treat arrhythmia. Not only this, but it can also treat hypertension caused by arteriosclerosis.
It is used to treat the following heart disorders:
- Chronic heart failure
- Senile heart
- Myocardial weakness
- Paroxysmal tachycardia
- Buerger’s disease
- Ischemia of heart
2. Treats Angina
Hawthorn is a great remedy to treat and prevent angina pectoris. Angina is a term for chest pain or discomfort. It usually occurs due to lack of oxygen or blood supply. However, angina can be a symptom of coronary heart disease. Usually, physical exhaustion and stress trigger angina attacks. Some studies have been done on patients with angina.
No doubt, this herb is excellent in treating angina pectoris. Patients treated with hawthorn suffered from angina attacks. The bioflavonoids present in hawthorn dilate the blood vessels. It improves the blood flow to the heart. Hawthorn’s proanthocyanidins may reduce the tension in the blood vessels. Again, this is beneficial in treating angina.
A study was conducted with patients with angina. It was found that aerobic exercise with hawthorn supplements was effective for angina.
3. Fights Cholesterol
Hawthorn berry is also a natural remedy effective to reduce high cholesterol. It can reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL). Not only LDL, but it may also reduce liver cholesterol and triglycerides. Additionally, hawthorn berries increase the levels of HDL (good cholesterol). People with abnormal lipid levels can also consume this fruit. Therefore, it lowers the risk of heart disorders.
4. Increases Energy
Hawthorn may also increase energy and endurance. It is so because it helps expand the coronary blood vessels. In turn, it allows effective blood circulation and increased energy.
Proper supply of oxygen improves the cognitive skills. Your alertness increases with the rise in energy levels. It results in an effective metabolism and better body functioning.
5. Hawthorn Berry As An Antioxidant
Hawthorn berries are rich in compounds having antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that eliminate toxins from your body. Free radicals can alter cell membranes, cause DNA damage and cell death. But antioxidants help flush out these free radicals from your body.
Free radicals can cause many health problems such as premature aging. It helps reduce dullness, wrinkles or dark spots. Thus, antioxidants reduce the damage caused by free radicals.
6. Promotes Digestion
Hawthorn berries are known to promote digestion. They are effective in stimulating appetite and relieves bloating. Hawthorn berries have an astringent effect on your body. This is beneficial to treat diarrhea. The components present in hawthorn help improve digestion. Hawthorn berries are also rich in fiber. It aids people with constipation, bloating and cramping. Additionally, it may improve bowel movement and flatulence.
7. Boosts Immunity
Hawthorn berry is a natural way of boosting the immune system. The immune system is the natural defense mechanism of your body. It fights with pathogens and infections to protect you. However, some factors such as lifestyle can lead to the poor immune system. A weaker immune system can be a reason for many diseases.
Thus it is extremely important to have a strong immune system. Hawthorn berries do exactly that i.e. boosting immunity. Antioxidants present in hawthorn helps flush out toxins from your body. Hawthorn extracts also contain vitamin C. It promotes the functioning of white blood cells (leukocytes). Thus, take hawthorn berries to strengthen your immune system.
8. Treats Intestinal Infections
Hawthorn is an excellent remedy to treat intestinal infections. For example- it can help fight infections such as tapeworm.
9. Skin Care
Hawthorn is also effective in treating skin disorders. Eczema and psoriasis are two common skin problems. Hawthorn berry might be beneficial in treating such conditions. You can apply hawthorn berry solution to your skin. The organic compounds present in Hawthorn have anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, it can reduce itching on healing wounds. It is beneficial in treating skin problems such as:
10. Relieves Anxiety
Hawthorn berries are also beneficial for psychological problems. They are associated with reduced anxiety and stress. They can even aid people with depression.
Studies conducted on hawthorn proved its use in reducing anxiety. It is also effective in relieving hypertension. Hawthorn supplementation promotes a hormonal change for good. This is why cultures of the past considered it as the cure for a broken heart.
11. Fights Cancer
Cancer is the second most deadly disease worldwide. Prevention is the best solution of this disease. Hawthorn berries can help fight cancer. It eliminates cancer causing free radicals from your body. Additionally, they detoxify your blood and thus cleansing your overall system. It prevents the cell from developing cancerous.
Edema is the buildup of fluid in tissues or cavities. Hawthorn helps get rid of the excess fluid and fights edema. It is so because of its diuretic properties.
13. Treats Insomnia
Hawthorn berries are beneficial to people with insomnia. It can improve your sleep and wake cycle. Also, it ensures that you don’t get up too often at night. If you are suffering from sleep problems, try hawthorn berries once. Also, a cup of hawthorn tea would be fine. It soothes your nerves and induces a good sleep.
14. Improves Eyesight
Hawthorn berries are great for improving vision too. Vitamin A present in hawthorn berries prevents cataract growth. It also promotes eye health and better eyesight.
15. Treats Menopausal Symptoms
Hawthorn is also beneficial in relieving menopausal symptoms. It helps relieve night sweats and problems related to menopause.
16. Promotes Weight Loss
A small waist and a figure is a new trend nowadays. Women are focusing on weight loss and proper diet. While trying to shed off weight, you need to check your calories.
A healthy diet is must for a healthy body. Hawthorn berries would be a great choice to lose weight. They boost metabolism and help you burn fat. It allows you burn more fats while working out. You can eat hawthorn berries for weight loss. It aids in weight loss and allows you shed off those extra pounds quickly.
Other Benefits Of Hawthorn Berry
- Lowers blood stasis and food stagnancy
- Prevents destruction of collagen in joints
- Prevents fragility of capillaries
- The cure for fever and malaria
- Helps dissolve kidney stones
- Reduce symptoms of type II diabetes
- Sharpens your memory
What Are The Side Effects Of Hawthorn Berries?
Hawthorn is safe when used at recommended doses. It is possibly safe for the short-term, for example- up to 16 weeks. However, it is known whether it is safe for long-term use. But, it is true it can cause some side effects to some people. The reason is an overdose or improper use. Some common side effects of hawthorn are listed below:
- Stomach disturbance
- A headache
Some serious side effects include:
- Shortness of breath
- Allergic reactions
- Irregularities in heartbeat
- Mood swings
Therefore, speak to your doctor before adding hawthorn to your diet.
Precautions To Keep in Mind Before using Hawthorn Berries
- Hawthorn can lower the uterine tone that is harmful in pregnancy. Thus, breastfeeding and pregnant women should avoid using this herb.
- Hawthorn can interact with medicines used to treat heart diseases. Thus, consult your healthcare provider before using this herb. Also, heart failure is a serious disorder. Don’t self-treat it with only hawthorn supplements.
- Hawthorn has blood-thinning properties. Thus, don’t take it with anticoagulant medications.
- Hawthorn also interacts with medications taken for high blood pressure. Therefore, you should avoid taking it along such medicines.
Specific medications that interact with hawthorn are penned down:
- Calcium channel blockers
- Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors
- It can cause adverse effects such as tremor and dizziness.
- It can cause a hypertensive effect when used with beta blockers.
- It is not recommended for the children below 12 years of age.
- If anything gets worse when taking hawthorn, discontinue its usage.
What Is The Recommended Dosage?
The recommended dose of hawthorn is between 160 to 1800 mg per day. The dose can be divided into two or three parts. Hawthorn extracts should contain 2.2% of total flavonoids. Otherwise, they should contain 18.75% of total OPCs. It can be taken for a three to 24 week time period. You will see improvements possible within 6-12 weeks.
For commercial products, you should follow the instructions on the package. The daily dose is 4-5 g of dried berries or 1-2 g of dried leaves. It can be taken in the form of herbal tea.
If you are using tinctures, the dose is 15 drops in water twice.
How Do You Make Hawthorn Berry Tea?
Here is the recipe to make hawthorn berry tea:
- Hawthorn berries
- Boil a cup of water for about two minutes.
- Drop 3-4 hawthorn berries into the water.
- Steep the mixture for about 8-10 minutes.
- Strain the mixture and enjoy the tea.
- You can also store the tea but not for more than 3 days.
Tinctures are also great to get the benefits of hawthorn berries. They are usually taken in small doses as they have a high content of alcohol. Fifteen drops of a tincture are considered one dose.
Here is the method to prepare hawthorn tincture:
- 3-4 cups of fresh hawthorn berries
- 4-8 ounces mason jars and lids
- Vodka, brandy or apple cider vinegar
- You need to de-stem the berries into a bowl or a cup. Do this by pushing your pointer finger and thumb. Start by popping off the berry from the stem. You can also roll the berries in your palm until they fall apart from stems. Remove large pieces of stems from the bowl. However, some small stem pieces will do no harm.
- Rinse the berries well and stain them.
- Fill 2/3rd of clean jars with the berries.
- Fill the jars with enough alcohol or apple cider vinegar.
- Ensure that the berries are covered fully.
- Secure the jars tightly with the lids. Store them in a cool and dark place for 3-4 weeks.
- Shake the jars daily and it will be ready after 3-4 weeks.
- Strain the berries out and reserve the liquid portion.
- Pour it into the jars and cover tightly before storing again. You can use clean dropper bottles in place of jars. It is easier for dispensing.
How To Select And Use Hawthorn Berry?
How can you add hawthorn benefits to your health? Or, we can say how you add hawthorn you’re your life. There are some options you can try out. Hawthorn berry tea is one such way. You can buy either loose or prepackaged hawthorn berries.
You can purchase loose berries in bulk. You will get those in many health food stores. You can even take hawthorn supplements in the form of capsules. Also, a liquid tincture form is also available. Hawthorn fruits are used in jams, jellies, and syrups.
- Hawthorn is also found in wine and brandy.
- You can add the edible petals and leaves to your salad.
- You can eat the fruits either as raw or cooked.
- The grounded fruits are combined with flour to make bread. You can thus eat bread made of hawthorn.
- You can also make hawthorn berry tea.
- You can use the roasted seeds as a substitute for coffee.
- It is also found in candies and beverages.
Hawthorn Berry Plant Origin
Crataegusmonogyna is a hawthorn species. It is native to Northwest Africa, Europe, and Western Asia. Being an invasive weed, it is a small tree or shrub. It can be 5-14 m in height with dull brown barks and orange cracks. Hawthorn belongs to the rose family (Rosaceae) and grows up to the height of 5 feet.
There are many species of hawthorn. It is a deciduous plant. It requires woody areas and plenty of sunlight to grow. The plant blossoms in the month of May. It grows in small white, pink or red clusters. Flowers give way to berries called haws. The berries become red when they ripe. These berries are edible and taste sweet and sour. Its leaves are shiny with different shapes and sizes.
Hawthorn has sharp thorns of 1-1.5 m long. Leaves are 2-4 cm long. The upper surface of leaves is dark green while the underneath being plater. The flowers are hermaphrodite, bear white petals and a single style. The flowers bear numerous red stamens having a diameter of 1 cm. the pollination is carried out by bees, midgets, and insects. The berries are small and oval shaped being dark red in color. They are formed from May to September.
Earlier, hawthorn was referred to as “bread and cheese tree.” The flowers, leaves and fruits are its edible parts. It makes the plant a magical cure for serious ailments. Also, it was believed as the food for the heart. It is because this plant can do wonders for cardiovascular health. Today, hawthorn is an official drug in many countries including Brazil, France, and Germany. Hawthorn is the herb for people having a history of heart disorders. The best part of using hawthorn is that you don’t get its habit. It is not toxic or addictive.
Common names of hawthorn are following:
- Single-seeded hawthorn
- One-seeded hawthorn
- Red Hawthorn
- Quick-set hawthorn
- Midland hawthorn
Parts of the hawthorn plant used are listed below:
- Dried haws (berries)
- Green stems
Can You Overdose On Hawthorn Berries?
Of course, you cannot overdose hawthorn berry. Overdose always needs a clinical approach. Any drug or herb when taken in overdose can have side effects. It may affect the functioning of various organs of your body. A medicine or drug is excreted through kidneys every time.
However, this only happens when you take the recommended dose. Overdosing can be a hurdle in this process that can cause many complications. Thus, you must avoid overdosing any medicine without any medical advice. Not only medicine but it goes for natural remedies too. It is true that hawthorn berries are effective for heart health.
However, you should not self-treat any heart disease with hawthorn only. It can affect cardiovascular health. An overdose of hawthorn causes low blood pressure and hypotension. It can also result in lightheadedness, fainting, or irregular heartbeat.
Can I Take Hawthorn Berry With Blood Pressure Medication?
Of course, you cannot overdose hawthorn berry. Overdose always needs a clinical approach. Any drug or herb when taken in overdose can have side effects. It may affect the functioning of various organs of your body. No, you cannot take hawthorn berry with blood pressure medications.
It is because hawthorn interacts with such medications. It might decrease your blood pressure lower than normal levels. This can cause further complications. Your blood pressure should be at normal level. But hawthorn along with medications lowers it too much. Thus, strictly avoid hawthorn with blood pressure medications.
Some medications for high blood pressure include:
Hawthorn is known as a cardiotonic herb. It is particularly wonderful for the heart. However, it is not just heart that gets benefits but overall health. Thus, start adding hawthorn to your diet for a healthy life. a cup of hawthorn berry tea is absolutely fine. However, you should not take the risk. Thus, discuss with your doctor before adding it to your diet.