Hawthorn berries, also known as Thorn Apples, grow on small trees and are prized for their health benefits.
Hawthorn trees are native to many areas across the country and can often been seen growing along fence rows and at the edge of woodland areas.
The reddish-orange hawthorn berry appears on the trees in late spring and attract a wide range of wildlife.
Those who practice holistic medicine have used many parts of the hawthorn tree, including the berries, for centuries.
Modern medicine acknowledges the heart healthy benefits of the hawthorn berry too.
Hawthorn Berries Long History
The hawthorn tree has a long history for being your heart’s best friend.
Not only do the berries provide health benefits, but the flowers, leaves, stems and bark do also, and their healing properties both directly and indirectly promote heart health.
Every part of the hawthorn tree was used in ancient Asia and Greece and is one of the oldest recorded plants used in medicine.
Medical records dating back to the late 1,400s have been discovered describing the uses and results of hawthorn berries.
It was during the late 1,400s that the berries, called ‘haws’ were discovered to promote heart health and began being used primarily to treat heart conditions.
The results of the treatments were astounding and most people suffering with heart disease were cured with the use of hawthorn berries.
One unscrupulous physician, a Frenchman named Henri Leclerc, discovered the miraculous results hawthorn berries had on his patients and decided to keep the discovery a secret.
He violated the code of ethics by not revealing the secret of his successful treatment to his fellow physicians.
For several years the only mainstream physician using hawthorn berries as a standard treatment for heart patients was Dr. Leclerc.
His reputation for curing heart disease spread across the country and had patients coming to him from all parts of Europe.
Dr. Leclerc amassed a sterling reputation among the public and a large fortune, however, patients in other parts of the world suffered and died needlessly because the good doctor refused to reveal his secret to his colleagues.
After his death in the late 1,800s, his daughter revealed the heart-curing secret to the medical community.
Physicians across Europe and the United States began to successfully treat heart disease with hawthorn berries and the survival rate of patients significantly increased.
Hawthorn Berries Active Ingredients
Hawthorn is rich in several heart-healthy ingredients, including flavonoids, which are naturally occurring plant pigments that reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Phenolic acid and several other antioxidant that fight against free radical damage in the body.
- Tryamine, which is an amino acid that helps regulate blood pressure.
- Ursolic acid and oleanolic acid, both of which are powerful anti-inflammatories.
- Dopamine, which functions as a neurotransmitter in the brain and improves heart function. Dopamine increases the intensity of the heart contractions which in turn raises the blood pressure. It’s often used to treat low blood pressure.
- Oligomeric proanthocyanins, which lowers high cholesterol and improves circulation.
Several other macronutrients and phytonutrients are contained in the berries, leaves, flowers, stems and barks of the hawthorn tree.
Hawthorn berries inhibit a substance in the body known as ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme).
ACE is related to the formation of angiotensin II, a substance that has strong astringent effect on the blood vessels, causing them to constrict and raise blood pressure.
The effect is increased blood flow in the arteries and circulation is improved to the legs and arms.
Hawthorn Berries Studies and Tests
Recent studies and tests have been conducted on the usefulness of hawthorn extract in the treatment of heart disease.
The results of some of those tests have shown that study participants who took 900mgs of hawthorn extract daily over the course of two months had reduced symptoms of congestive heart failure.
Study participants who were in the early stages of cardiovascular disease showed improved heart function, increased physical endurance and increased oxygen to the heart muscle.
Some study results suggest that hawthorn extract could be useful in treating patients with angina (chest pain).
ECGs on study participants showed there was increased blood flow and oxygen to the heart after taking hawthorn supplement for a few weeks.
Indirect Heart Healthy Benefits
Increased blood flow and oxygen directly to the heart muscle is a direct benefit provided by hawthorn berry extract.
There are several indirect benefits that also improve heart function while improving other parts of the body and quality of life.
Hawthorn berries are a diuretic and helps patients with heart failure eliminate excess water.
Water retention (edema) is a major concern for patients battling heart failure, but edema can also occur in the body for other reasons.
Edema typically occurs in hands, arms and legs, and impairs the ability to move normally.
Hawthorn also helps prevent type II diabetes, which is a contributing factor to heart disease.
Keeping the heart healthy means doing what you can to avoid, or at least control, diabetes.
Even when blood sugar levels are under control, a diabetic has an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
Keeping kidneys healthy is another heart benefit hawthorn berry provides. Damaged or diseased kidneys release too much of a protein enzyme called renin.
When released in normal amounts by healthy kidneys, renin helps control blood pressure.
However, too much renin in the blood can cause a heart attack, stroke, coronary artery disease, or congestive heart failure.
Hawthorn berries reduce anxiety, which has the physical symptoms that are damaging to the heart.
When a person becomes anxious, their body reacts in ways that puts extra strain on their heart.
Rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure are physical responses to anxiety (or panic attack), both of these increased the risk of heart attack, especially in people who have an existing heart condition.
Combination Supplements for Heart Health
Hawthorn berries are edible, but not the seeds, they contain cyanide and must be removed.
Teas, jams, jellies and other edibles are made from the fruit and flowers and provide heart healthy benefits, plus delicious flavor.
Most people don’t have access to a hawthorn tree so they can’t pick fresh berries, and even if they did the large thorns protecting the berries are intimidating.
Hawthorn supplements are the best choice for those looking to improve cardiovascular health.
Hawthorn supplements are usually used in a combination with one or two other supplements to derive the greatest heart benefits.
It’s often paired with Coenzyme Q10 to slow down the progression of heart disease.
When combined with ginkgo, hawthorn berry supplement will improve blood circulation throughout the body and to the heart muscle.
Angina and sluggish blood circulation is often treated with a combination of hawthorn extract, garlic extract and arnica.
Herbal tea made from the dried flowers and/or leaves of the hawthorn tree reduces stress, calms nerves and promotes better sleep.
The recommended daily dose of hawthorn extract is between 160 to 900 mgs daily. The supplement comes in capsule form, tea leaves or liquid.
A few drops of the liquid extract in a glass of water will do your heart good, plus it will add flavor to an otherwise boring glass of water.