The benefits of Hawthorn Berry include treating heart disease through medication, soothing anxiety, and treating intestinal infections.
Traditional Chinese medicine has long embraced its uses as herbal medicine and it has now garnered the attention of modern medicine with several studies conducted to discover its uses to treat illnesses.
Without further ado, let’s go over the benefits, uses, and side effects of Hawthorn berry.
Hawthorn Berry as a Plant
The Hawthorn plant is a thorny flowering shrub or tree that belongs to the rose family. It has more than a hundred species and grows in the temperate parts of North America, Asia, and Europe. It is also known in different names such as Hawthorn, Haw, May blossom, Thornapple, or Whitehorn.
The berries of the hawthorn plant range from red, black, and yellow colors are mildly sweet and tangy to taste. It has small leaves and may reach up to 30 feet high and the hawthorn tree blooms flowers in April and May.
One notable thing about the plant is that all its parts- flowers, leaves, stems, and berries have medicinal uses and are used in many modern prescription medications.
Important Benefits of Hawthorn Berry
Hawthorn berry is a power plant that offers an extensive range of potential benefits as follows:
Promotes heart health and lowers blood pressure
It is known to be beneficial to cardiovascular health and help lower blood pressure.
Using Hawthorn berry extract, research has shown promising results in various heart conditions such as angina pectoris, rapid heart rate or palpitations, and chronic heart failure (source).
Some herbalists even apply the extract as a treatment for people with irregular heartbeat.
Hawthorn also has compounds called flavonoids that increase blood flow and regulate the heart’s rhythm but also reduce harmful triglyceride levels in the body.
A study was conducted in 1994 on patients with congestive heart failure. The results showed that Hawthorn extracts offered improvement for physical symptoms such as fatigue and breathing difficulties while also reducing edema or swelling (source).
One study about patients with heart failure showed improvement in patients’ condition by administering hawthorn extract as part of their treatment and a study published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing reveals how hawthorn berry benefits cardiologists as a dietary supplement to improve cardiovascular health.
Hawthorn extracts can dilate blood vessels resulting in improved blood flow and helping in lowering blood pressure.
A clinical trial with a group of people with stable coronary artery disease reports positive results where patients have a lower heart rate and a significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure.
Aids in lower cholesterol levels
Improvement in blood cholesterol levels has been shown by research as one of the results of the effectiveness of Hawthorn extract. One study demonstrates how people who use hawthorn berry capsules have a great reduction in total cholesterol levels.
Reduction in cholesterol levels prevents plaque build-up that could result in blocked blood vessels leading to more serious conditions like heart attack and stroke.
Hawthorn berry for weight loss
Hawthorn Berry helps in the loss of sodium, water, and fat in the body. The nutritional content in the berries stimulates the liver to break down fatty acids hence producing energy. It has natural appetite suppressants that make people eat less without feeling hungry within a few weeks of using Hawthorn extract dietary supplements.
The plant works by targeting belly fat cells which are linked to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Acts as digestive aid and has anti-inflammatory properties
Hawthorn berries have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as an aid to digestion and is said to help relieve indigestion and intestinal gas.
Hawthorn has terpenoids such as ursolic acid and oleanolic acid which promote the secretion of digestive fluids. It stimulates peristalsis, a muscle movement in the wall of the intestines that pushes food through it for absorption of nutrients.
Its fiber and probiotic content in the berries promote a healthy gut and prevent constipation.
Another study showed that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of hawthorn can prevent colitis or the inflammation of the colon.
Packed with antioxidants
Hawthorn berries contain polyphenols that act as powerful antioxidants to fend off free radicals. It is known to offer protection from the harmful effects of ultra-violet rays and oxidative stress in the body.
One study showed that Hawthorn extract mixed with ginseng has the potential to reduce signs of aging by preventing wrinkle formation and promoting skin moisture. Though, more study is still needed to find the exact role of Hawthorn berry in the results.
Potential treatment for anxiety
Studies have been done for various parts of Hawthorn Berry to treat anxiety disorders. The extract combined with other substances reports positive results as it helps calm the nervous system and reduce anxiety levels naturally.
It isn’t clear yet what exactly was the role of the extract but more research is still needed to support the promising benefits.
May help in hair loss
The Hawthorn plant has been used in hair care and hair growth. Although there are no clinical studies on its use, it is said to promote blood circulation and stimulate new hair production in the scalp.
Additional Health Benefits of Hawthorn
Hawthorn Berry is rich in nutrients and is rewarding to add to your diet. Its benefits include:
- Vitamin C – the plant contains a high level of vitamin C which is essential for the formation of collagen and enzymes that help in repairing tissues.
- Riboflavin (vitamin B-2) – helps convert food to energy and aids the production of red blood cells and antibodies.
- Inositol – also called Vitamin B -8, this compound protects the body against cardiovascular diseases.
- Potassium – helps in controlling blood pressure
- Calcium – works with potassium for regulating blood pressure. It also provides structure to bones and teeth by supporting muscle contractions, nerve transmission, and hormonal activity in the body.
Uses of Hawthorn Berry
Hawthorn Berry can be used in many ways. The raw berries can be eaten as a fruit snack but it is advisable not to eat the seeds.
Like apple seeds, hawthorn berries seeds contain cyanide toxins. Its berries are also made into jams, syrup, and pie fillings. Fresh berries can also be ground up and added to smoothies or oatmeal.
The plant’s dried leaves, flowers, and berries can be made into tea. You can make your own or buy premade hawthorn teas in stores. When preparing your tea, it is best to make it with hot water and let it steep for 15 minutes before drinking this tea.
There are no specific cautions when consuming it as a herbal tea. If you plan on making tea, take small doses first before taking a large dosage as this plant contains active chemicals that may cause further complications if not taken properly.
When fermented, the berries can be used as either vinegar that can be used as a salad dressing or be made into a wine to enjoy on occasions.
Hawthorn berry supplements are also widely accessible over the counter in many countries or can be purchased online.
The recommended dosage varies according to the product, however, users should follow instructions on packaging for the proper dosage level.
As part of the treatment for hair loss, the berries can be taken every day or used as a topical treatment before shampooing or to massage the scalp.
Hawthorn Berry Side Effects
When consumed as food, they normally have no side effects but if you have an allergy to members of the rose family, you should avoid remedies that contain hawthorn berry.
Other side effects include diarrhea, stomach pain, and nausea. In some cases, it can worsen heart conditions because of its hypotensive effects.
Those who take medications for heart conditions, diabetes, and high blood pressure should also consult their doctor before using any hawthorn berry supplements to avoid any possible drug interaction with the medicine.