Hawthorn Berry for your Heart

The hawthorn berry comes from a dense bush with tiny red berries that are common in wooded areas and fence rows across the U.S. and throughout the world. Healers have used parts of the hawthorn traditionally for centuries.

The hawthorn berry “haws” resemble tiny sweet cherries and has been used to make wine, jelly and flavored brandy for years, but few are aware of the impressive ways it can remedy heart problems and other physical ailments.

The hawthorn plant has been acknowledged by modern studies to be valuable as a therapy for cardiovascular disease.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports this as the most prevalent cause of death in the U.S. More than 2.6 million people died in 2015 as a result of cardiovascular disease.

The flowers, berries, leaves, stems and the bark were all used to make medicines in ancient Greece and Asia. It may work as well as heart medications to improve symptoms, which includes those due to related problems such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and arrhythmia. The oldest-known medicinal plan was first recorded as good for heart health in the first century of Greek herbalist Dioscorides. Swiss physician Paraceisus later recorded similar observations.

Research scientist, botanist and author Christopher Hobbs says hawthorn is an official herbal pharmaceutical in Brazil, China, France, Germany, Russia and Switzerland. It is also an ingredient in 213 European herbal formulas.

In 2009 it was reported that when volunteers took 900 milligrams per day of hawthorn extract for two months, it was as effective as low doses of captropril, a popular heart medication, especially in improving symptoms of congestive heart failure. It is also used as a diuretic, which is commonly needed for symptoms of heart failure.

There are more benefits of using Hawthorn than just for your heart, such as:

  • Gout

  • Edema

  • Diarrhea

  • Memory

  • Insomnia

  • Kidney disease

  • Anxiety

  • Menopausal symptoms

  • Type 2 diabetes

It’s the phytonutrients of the hawthorn plant that are the key to the way it helps your heart in improving blood flow to the blood vessels around your heart and brain to increasing tolerance to the heart muscle, due to a lack of oxygen.

Some related problems might be alleviated, such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and arrhythmia. You can achieve greater effects by combining hawthorn with supplements. (1) Using hawthorn supplement with Coenzyme Q10 may curb early stages of heart disease. (2) Hawthorn can be combined with ginkgo biloba to improve blood circulation so more oxygen is transported to your brain. (3) Use it with garlic and Amica Montana and it may remedy angina and low blood circulation. (4) An herbal tea of hawthorn is said to calm your nerves and induce sleep, especially when used with lemon balm and St. Johns wort.

The effectiveness of hawthorn supplements may be lowered by asthma medications, Viagra, Clonidine and other herbs for your heart. Pregnant women should not take hawthorn and it may increase the effect of heart medications such as digitoxin, so should not be used with herbs containing cardiac glycosides like fox glove and lily of the valley.

Dr Fredda Branyon