Hawthorn the Hearty Berry
Many ancient cultures including the Chinese, Greeks, Romans and Native Americans have used hawthorn for its medicinal properties. Without doubt, the most common reason people supplement their diet with hawthorn is to improve heart health. However, it’s not the only reason to take the extract of Hawthorn berries. Although many of its properties do directly or indirectly link to heart health, research demonstrates the benefits are quite wide ranging…
The WHO states that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is globally the number one cause of all deaths, responsible for an estimated 31% of all deaths worldwide.
A 2010 wide-ranging review by Mary Tassell et al into the use of Hawthorn to treat CVD covered a large number of studies including 7 randomised double-blind placebo controlled studies. The review’s conclusion states “Current research to date suggests that hawthorn may potentially represent a safe, effective, nontoxic agent in the treatment of cardiovascular disease and ischemic heart disease”.
Closely linked to hawthorns ability to improve heart health is its ability to help normalise blood pressure. Walker et al conducted a randomised double blind pilot study looking at the benefits of taking hawthorn for mild hypertension. While the placebo group also did well, statistical analysis did show a significant reduction in the resting diastolic blood pressure at week 10 for the group taking hawthorn.
The same study by Walker et al also found that taking hawthorn reduced anxiety levels. This is supported by a study of mice in 2010 by O D Can et al which stated the results “support the traditional use of this plant to treat stress, nervousness, sleep disorders, and pain control”.
Also linked to hawthorn’s ability to help with CVD, is the research indicating it may be able to assist with atherosclerosis (the build up of fatty material on arterial walls). A 2013 study by Zhang et al found that hawthorn inhibited the onset of atherosclerosis in rats that had been fed a high fat diet
Reducing high cholesterol
A number of studies including a randomised placebo controlled trial by E Dalli et al 2011 and a comparison with simvastatin by Hong et al 2009 have found that hawthorn has a hypolipidemic effect (reducing bad LDL cholesterol).
A 2003 study by T Bahorun et al found that hawthorn is a powerful antioxidant and stated it “represents an important alternative source for natural antioxidants.” Another study by Liu et al found it had higher antioxidant properties than both vitamin C and vitamin E while a study by Guo et al in 2003 compared 28 fruits and found Hawthorn to have the highest ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) of all 28 fruits tested.
Hawthorn may interact with Warfarin, cardiac glycoside digoxin (Lanoxin, Sigmaxin), beta-blockers or other antihypertensive medication. Do not take when pregnant.
Information provided in our newsletter is not meant to replace the advice of your health professional. We always recommend you consult a registered herbalists or a GP sympathetic to alternative healthcare/span>.