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Hawthorn Berries, Leaf & Flower

Hawthorn Berries, Leaf & Flower

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Hawthorn leaf and flower, as well as the berries, are quite edible and are found in many different cuisines throughout the world.Hawthorn enjoys a long and enduring history as the herb to strengthen your heart, both physically and emotionally. One of the oldest known medicinal plants. Most modern preparations use the leaves and flowers, which are believed to contain more flavonoids than the berries.

Common health benefits include: lowers blood pressure, antioxidant, to treat angina sufferers. Hawthorn is also a relaxant, heart tonic, astringent, diuretic and antispasmodic. 

Heart Conditions 

Hawthorn contains many substances that may benefit the heart. These antioxidant flavonoids, including OPCs, may help dilate blood vessels, improve blood flow, and protect blood vessels from damage. Both animal and human studies suggest hawthorn increases coronary artery blood flow, improves circulation, and lowers blood pressure.

A large study found that a standardized hawthorn supplement was effective in 952 people with heart failure. The study compared conventional methods of treating heart failure (with different medications) with hawthorn alone and in addition to the drugs. After 2 years, the clinical symptoms of heart failure (palpitations, breathing problems, and fatigue) decreased significantly in people taking the hawthorn, they also took less medication for their condition

Preliminary evidence suggests hawthorn may help combat chest pain (angina), which is caused by low blood flow to the heart. In one early study, 60 people with angina were given either 180 mg/day of hawthorn berry leaf flower extract or placebo for 3 weeks. Those who received hawthorn experienced improved blood flow to the heart and were also able to exercise for longer periods of time without suffering from chest pain. 

You should talk with your doctor before taking hawthorn if you are on medication or have a diagnosed heart condition. Heart disease is a serious condition. DO NOT self treat heart conditions without telling your doctor. You should use hawthorn only under your doctor's supervision.

DO NOT use hawthorn if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN

Possible Interactions

If you are taking prescription or nonprescription medicines, talk to your health care provider before taking herbal supplements. If you are currently bebeing treated with any of the following medications, you should not use hawthorn without first talking to your doctor:

Digoxin: Hawthorn may enhance the activity of digoxin, a medication used for irregular heart rhythms.

Beta-blockers: These drugs are used to treat heart disease by lowering blood pressure and dilating blood vessels. Hawthorn can make the effects of these drugs stronger. They include:

Atenolol (Tenormin)

Metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol-XL)

Propranolol (Inderal, Inderal LA)

Calcium channel blockers (CCBs): These drugs are used to treat high blood pressure and angina by dilating blood vessels. Hawthorn can make the effects of these drugs stronger. They include:

Norvasc (amlodipine)

Cardizem (diltiazem)

Procardia (nifedipine)


Further reading

Habs M. Prospective, comparative cohort studies and their contribution to the benefit assessments of therapeutic options: heart failure treatment with and without Hawthorn special extract WS 1442. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2004;11 Suppl 1:36-9.

Pittler MH, Schmidt K, Ernst E. Hawthorn extract for treating chronic heart failure: meta-analysis of randomized trials. Am J Med. 2003;114(8):665-674.

Rigelsky JM, Sweet BV. Hawthorn: pharmacology and therapeutic uses. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2002;59(5):417-422.


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