Tiny fruits that belong to the Crataegus genus and grow on trees, berries are packed with nutrition. They have a tart, tangy taste together with a mild sweetness. Range in color from yellow to deep red, to black, hawthorn is nothing but a plant and leaves, berries and flowers are used to make medicines.
Hawthorn is great for heart diseases and blood vessel problems. It can be used to treat conditions like congestive heart failure (CHF), chest pain, and irregular heartbeat. It might also be used to treat both low and high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and high cholesterol.
Hawthorn berry uses include curing digestive system complaints like indigestion, diarrhea, and stomach pain. It may be used as a sedative to reduce anxiety, as a diuretic to increase urine output, and as a painkiller for menstrual problems. A versatile little berry, there are various hawthorn berry benefits.
Hawthorn berry health benefits
Hawthorn berry is a great source of polyphenols or powerful antioxidant compounds that are found in plants. Antioxidants are useful for neutralizing unstable molecules that are called free radicals. These free radicals can harm the body if they are present at high levels.
Polyphenols are useful as they lower the risk of some cancers, type 2 diabetes, asthma, certain infections, cardiac problems, and premature aging.
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1. Anti-inflammatory properties
Inflammation is a result of ailments like type 2 diabetes, asthma, and cancer. Hawthorn berries have specific anti-inflammatory properties. A study (1) carried out on mice with the liver disease found that the hawthorn berry extract significantly reduced the levels of inflammatory compounds present in the mice.
Another study (2) carried out on asthmatic mice showed that consuming hawthorn berry extract decreases inflammation and reduces asthmatic symptoms significantly.
2. Might help lower blood pressure
According to traditional Chinese medicine, hawthorn berry is one of the most widely recommended foods to combat high blood pressure. There have been animal studies (3) to prove that hawthorn berry acts as a vasodilator as it relaxes constricted blood vessels, thus helping to lower blood pressure.
A 10-week study in 36 people with mildly elevated blood pressure found that those consuming 500 mg of hawthorn extract everyday experienced no significant blood pressure decrease. The study group showed a trend towards reduction of diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number of a reading).
Yet another 16-week study carried out on 79 people with type 2 diabetes and blood pressure found that those who consumed 1,200 mg of hawthorn extract every day had greater improvements in blood pressure as compared to those in a placebo group. The reason it lowers blood pressure is why hawthorn berry for heart is also essential.
[Read: Mulberry Benefits for Health]
3. Might help decrease the level of blood cholesterol
Cholesterol and triglycerides are the two kinds of fats that are always present in our blood. At normal levels, they are perfectly fine, playing vital roles in producing hormones and transporting nutrients throughout our body. However, if the levels of triglycerides increases, and the amount of HDL is low, this isn’t good.
HDL or good cholesterol plays a role in atherosclerosis or the build-up of plaque in the blood vessels. If the plaque accumulation carries on unchecked, a blood vessel could get blocked, leading to a heart attack or a stroke.
4. Helps in aiding digestion
Hawthorn berries have always been used to treat digestive issues like indigestion and stomach aches. The berries are a great source of fiber, which speeds up digestion and reduces constipation, acting as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are responsible for feeding our healthy gut bacteria and help maintain healthy digestion.
According to one study (4) in people with slow digestion, each additional gram of consumed dietary fiber helped bring down the period between bowel movements by approximately 30 minutes.
Yet another study (5) carried out on rodents observed that hawthorn extract drastically reduced the amount of time food spent in the digestive system, thus preventing indigestion. This is also one of the ways in which hawthorn berry benefits weight loss.
[Read: Bilberry Benefits for Health]
5. Helps fight hair loss
Hawthorn berry might be useful in combating hair loss, which is why it finds itself as a common ingredient in quite a few hair growth products. It improves the overall physiology and boosts the quality of our hair. Those suffering from hair loss or hair thinning can find solace in applying hawthorn berry extracts to combat the situation.
How to use hawthorn berry?
Hawthorn berries may be consumed on their own, or you can add them to a fruit salad to liven things up. There are also many hawthorn berry supplements available. In case you wish to use hawthorn berry extract shampoos or skincare products, you can use them as well. It depends on what you want to use hawthorn berries for.
Some side effects of hawthorn berries include headaches, nausea, fatigue, and dizziness. Hence, it is always better to consult your physician before you add hawthorn berries in your diet. In case you feel you might be allergic to topical berry based creams, carry out a patch test on your skin before proper use.
In conclusion, hawthorn berries are great for health and make a great addition to the diet. Whether you are looking to improve cardiac health or improve digestion, include hawthorn berries in your diet.
1. How Much Hawthorn Berry Is Required to Lower Blood Pressure?
It takes around 500 mg of hawthorn extract daily to reduce diastolic blood pressure.
2. How Long Does It Take for Hawthorn Berry to Work?
You might need to take hawthorn for around 4 to 8 weeks to see any improvement in blood pressure.
3. Can We Drink Hawthorn Berry Tea?
Yes, you can include Hawthorn berry tea as well in your diet. But make sure to consult your doctor before consuming this.