For centuries, the berries from the hawthorn plant have been used in natural medicine to treat heart problems such as irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, chest pain, and heart failure. However, now it has been discovered that the leaves and flowers of the plant can also be used. Hundreds of studies have been done on this plant’s ability to improve the lives of heart failure patients but here are some other benefits to taking hawthorn as a dietary supplement on a regular basis.
As mentioned in the introduction, hawthorn has been most commonly used to improve heart health and in some cases, treat heart failure. In many studies, hawthorn has been seen to help reduce the levels of blood fats, including cholesterol, that cause chest pain or angina in patients. This has been evidenced in a 2018 study on animals, however, more research is needed to confirm it as a true benefit. Furthermore, when used as a supporting treatment for chronic heart failure, hawthorn has been shown to help manage symptoms and improve physiologic outcomes. This is thought to be since taking the supplement may lead to enhanced exercise tolerance and may improve symptoms such as shortness of breath and fatigue.
Further research has also been done into the effectiveness of taking hawthorn to reduce blood pressure, however, many studies are conflicting. Nevertheless, in traditional Chinese medicine hawthorn has been used for years as one of the high blood pressure remedies and has been proven to be effective at lowering it in many recent studies. Furthermore, the hawthorn berry has been shown to act as a vasodilator which means that it can relax constricted blood vessels to help blood move through them easier and lower blood pressure. Another study showed that a group of people with type 2 diabetes who took a hawthorn supplement daily did show signs of better blood pressure compared to those given a placebo.
Healthy Immune System
Hawthorn berries have been found to improve your immune system due to their anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. In one study the berries were found to have successfully fought against bacteria including Listeria monocytogenes which can lead to foodborne illnesses, and in another showed antibacterial action against Streptococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Furthermore, hawthorn is meant to be beneficial in reducing inflammation that can lead to many diseases, including type 2 diabetes and asthma. Better still, pre-existing asthma sufferers may also benefit from taking a hawthorn supplement, as it has been reported to decrease inflammation enough to reduce asthma symptoms.
Loaded with Antioxidants
Hawthorn extract is used in many hair growth products since it is recognized to stimulate hair growth and increase the number and size of hair follicles. This effect is thought to be down to the polyphenol content in the hawthorn berry that promotes general health along with healthier hair. Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that are highly abundant in hawthorn berries. Including more antioxidants in your diet will not only help your hair growth, but it can also help to lower your risk of infections, heart problems and many other conditions due to their ability to neutralize unstable molecules. Free radicals can develop in your body as a result of a poor diet and toxins from the environment such as air pollution and smoking, however, antioxidants can help to minimize their effect on your health.
You can use hawthorn extract and berries to improve digestion since they act as a prebiotic and can reduce constipation thanks to their high fiber content. Prebiotics are essential in improving digestion since they feed your healthy gut bacteria which is also helpful in maintaining a healthy immune system, along with preventing unwanted weight gain, high blood sugar and high cholesterol. The berries of the hawthorn plant have been used for this purpose for centuries and are a completely natural way to relieve discomfort in the stomach area. The increase in fiber intake in your diet is also essential to your health since food can move faster through your digestive system, making indigestion less likely and encouraging healthy bowel movements.
Hawthorn has the ability to mildly reduce the symptoms of anxiety due to acting as a light sedative that can keep you calmer in stressful situations. Since the herb has been found to lower blood pressure, it is thought that the added benefit is a reduction in anxiety. Studies have taken place to confirm this, however, it is unclear as to whether the herb can be used to reduce anxiety alone, since tests conducted also included Californian poppy flower and magnesium. Nevertheless, hawthorn’s effect on heart rate, blood pressure, and inflammation all suggest that it should have a positive effect on helping to reduce anxiety, however should only be used when advised by a health practitioner.
Hawthorn is not only beneficial to your body but can also be a delicious treat that can easily be added to any type of lifestyle. You may not find it easy to source hawthorn berries at first, since they are usually available from specialty food stores and online shops, although once you have found your supplier you can look forward to adding them into your daily routine. Enjoy the raw berries to experience hawthorn in its most natural form. Some people experience sourness although many report on their deliciously sweet flavor. Drink your hawthorn by turning it into a tea using the dried berries and leaves of a plant or buy premade versions that might have a slightly lower concentration. The most common way to take hawthorn is as a supplement in either pill, powder or liquid form so that it can be easily stored away in a cupboard for everyday consumption.
There is an abundance of health benefits to taking hawthorn, however, be sure to contact your medical practitioner before introducing any supplement into your diet. You can benefit from the hawthorn plants many benefits by eating the berries, taking it in powder form, brewing as a tea, or when taken as a liquid or pill.