Hawthorn: Unveiling 7 Surprising Herbal Benefits of Hawthorn

Herbal Benefits of Hawthorn

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Hawthorn, with its enchanting blooms and vibrant berries, stands not only as an addition to the family of berries but also as an herbal marvel with a history deeply rooted in traditional medicine.

As we unveil the surprising herbal benefits of Hawthorn, we dive into its historical significance, exploring the centuries-old relationship between humanity and this remarkable botanical herb. Moreover, we will unravel the key components that make Hawthorn a compelling subject of interest in both traditional and modern healing practices.

A Historical Glimpse of Hawthorn in Traditional Medicine

The story of Hawthorn in traditional medicine is an important herb known across cultures and centuries. Admired for its purported health benefits, Hawthorn finds mention in ancient texts and folklore. From ancient China, where it was used to alleviate digestive issues, to Europe, where it was believed to have protective properties against evil spirits, Hawthorn’s reputation as a healing herb has transcended borders. In medieval Europe, it was recognized for its heart-related benefits, laying the groundwork for its continued use in cardiovascular health.

Exploring Key Components of Hawthorn

Central to Hawthorn’s medicinal appeal are its bioactive components. Rich in flavonoids, particularly oligomeric procyanidins, and other polyphenols, Hawthorn exhibits potent antioxidant properties. These compounds contribute to their therapeutic potential, impacting various aspects of health, as mentioned in a 2021 research article along with their benefits, which are discussed in the following readings.

Understanding these key components is vital in unraveling the herbal wonders that Hawthorn holds. The complex interplay of these elements sets the stage for the health benefits.

Health Benefits of Hawthorn

Surprising Herbal Benefits of Hawthorn

It’s An Antioxidant Powerhouse

Hawthorn’s exceptional health benefits are anchored in its role as an antioxidant powerhouse. The presence of flavonoids and polyphenols equips Hawthorn with the ability to combat oxidative stress, thereby shielding the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals. This antioxidant ability of Hawthorn extends beyond conventional health maintenance, contributing to the herb’s multifaceted impact on well-being.

A 2019 study has shown many antioxidants in Hawthorn and suggested that it has great potential as a source of natural antioxidants source.

  • Hawthorn Tea: Steep dried hawthorn berries or leaves in hot water to create a refreshing tea. Drink it regularly to enjoy the antioxidant benefits.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

In addition to its antioxidant capabilities, Hawthorn exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, which play a pivotal role in promoting overall health. Chronic inflammation is increasingly recognized as a contributing factor to various ailments, and Hawthorn’s natural anti-inflammatory compounds may offer a gentle yet effective means of addressing inflammatory responses in the body.

According to a recent 2022 study, polyphenols in Hawthorn are responsible for anti-inflammatory effects.

  • Hawthorn Tincture: Tinctures are concentrated herbal extracts. You can add a few drops of hawthorn tincture to water or juice, following the recommended dosage of the product. Some tinctures are not intended for internal use, so be cautious to look for the instructions on the packaging before using it, or consult your physician for use.

Lower Blood Pressure

One of the most widely studied benefits of Hawthorn revolves around its potential to lower blood pressure. Research suggests that the herb may enhance the dilation of blood vessels, easing the flow of blood and subsequently contributing to a reduction in blood pressure levels. This makes Hawthorn a compelling consideration for those seeking natural approaches to cardiovascular health.

A 2012 study says that there are fewer studies done on the topic and there is a mild action of Hawthorn in lowering blood pressure. However, a recent 2020 review study says that according to different trial studies, Hawthorn can significantly lower blood pressure in people with mild hypertension if applied for at least 12 weeks.

  • Hawthorn Capsules or Tablets: These are commonly available in health stores. Follow the recommended dosage of the product, as excessive intake may lead to adverse effects.

Lower Blood Cholesterol Levels

Beyond blood pressure management, Hawthorn has been linked to the regulation of cholesterol levels. Studies indicate that certain compounds in Hawthorn may assist in reducing levels of LDL cholesterol, often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol, while supporting the maintenance of healthy HDL cholesterol levels.

A 2010 study was done on Plant sterol esters and Hawthorn, and they concluded that both of them lower blood cholesterol levels through different mechanisms in the body and can be used synergistically to lower the level of bad cholesterol.

  • Hawthorn Berries in Recipes: Incorporate dried hawthorn berries into your meals or snacks. They can be sprinkled on salads, added to oatmeal, or included in homemade energy bars. You may also consume Hawthorn tea for its beneficial effects.

Aid in Digestion

Hawthorn’s historical use in addressing digestive issues finds validation in contemporary research. The herb is believed to aid in digestion by promoting the secretion of digestive enzymes and facilitating the breakdown of food. This dual action makes it a potential ally for those looking to support their digestive health naturally.

A 2019 study done on rats showed improvement in gastrointestinal motility and brain-gut axis and gut flora of rats. Hawthorn helped in body weight, food intake, and gastrointestinal motility. A recent 2022 study says that it stimulates appetite and digestion.

  • Hawthorn Elixir: Mix hawthorn berry powder with honey to create an elixir. Consume a small amount before meals to potentially aid digestion.

Anti-Aging Properties

The antioxidant-rich profile of Hawthorn not only contributes to immediate health benefits but may also have implications for longevity. By combating oxidative stress, Hawthorn’s anti-aging properties may help mitigate the cellular damage associated with aging, providing a holistic approach to wellness.

A recent 2020 study has mentioned its anti-aging properties along with others. They and many other research articles have also mentioned the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of Hawthorn, which are the main contributors to anti-aging properties.
Another very recent 2023 study shows that polyphenols and flavonoids from Hawthorn fruit extract showed activity against fructose-induced oxidative stress and endoplasmic reticulum stress in pancreatic beta cells.

  • Hawthorn Smoothie: Blend fresh or frozen hawthorn berries with other antioxidant-rich fruits for a delicious and nutritious smoothie.

You may use Hawthorn tea or elixir for its anti-aging effects, but use it in moderation and not for a very long time consecutively.

Reduce Anxiety

Side Effects of Hawthorn

While often celebrated for its cardiovascular benefits, Hawthorn’s impact extends to mental well-being. Some studies suggest that the herb may have an anxiolytic effect, potentially helping to reduce symptoms of anxiety. This dual action on both physical and mental health further enhances Hawthorn’s appeal.

A recent 2021 review mentioned many studies showing Hawthorn action as an anxiety reliever and an analgesic. They mentioned one study done on mice that compared chlordiazepoxide with Hawthorn extract and the Hawthorn extract showed promising results in replacing chlordiazepoxide in anxiety.

  • Hawthorn Infused Oil: Infuse hawthorn flowers into oil and use it for massages. The relaxing aroma may help alleviate stress.

You may also use tablets and capsules after consulting your physician or healthcare provider.

Treat Heart Failure

Hawthorn’s historical association with heart health takes a modern turn in the treatment of heart failure. Certain studies propose that the herb may enhance heart function and alleviate symptoms in individuals with heart failure, presenting a promising avenue for integrative cardiac care. Numerous studies have suggested Hawthorn for heart failure, hypotension, and other cardiovascular diseases. 2010, 2020, and 2021 studies are few among them.

  • Hawthorn Syrup: Create a syrup by simmering hawthorn berries with water and honey. Consume a small amount regularly, following recommended dosages.

Side Effects of Hawthorn

While Hawthorn is generally well-tolerated, it’s essential to be aware of potential side effects. Some individuals may experience mild symptoms such as;

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Digestive discomfort.

Allergic reactions are rare but can occur. As with any herbal remedy, it’s advisable to start with small doses and monitor for adverse reactions.
Consulting a healthcare professional before incorporating Hawthorn into your routine is particularly crucial if you have pre-existing medical conditions or are taking other medications.

Who Should Not Take Hawthorn?

Certain individuals should exercise caution when considering Hawthorn supplementation. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as individuals with pre-existing heart conditions or those taking medications for heart-related issues, should consult with their healthcare provider before using Hawthorn. As with any herbal remedy, individual responses can vary, making professional guidance essential, especially for those with underlying health concerns.

Is Hawthorn Good for the Liver?

Hawthorn is generally considered safe for the liver when used in moderation. Its antioxidant properties may contribute to liver health by reducing oxidative stress. However, individuals with liver conditions or those taking medications that affect the liver should consult with a healthcare professional before using Hawthorn as a precautionary measure.

Does Hawthorn Thin the Blood?

While Hawthorn is not a blood thinner in the conventional sense, it may have mild anticoagulant effects. This means that individuals taking blood-thinning medications or preparing for surgery should exercise caution and consult with their healthcare provider before using Hawthorn to avoid potential interactions.

Is Hawthorn Safe for Kidneys?

Is Hawthorn Safe for Kidneys?

Limited research suggests that Hawthorn is generally safe for the kidneys when used responsibly. However, as individual responses to herbal remedies can vary, it’s advisable for individuals with kidney conditions or those taking medications affecting the kidneys to seek guidance from a healthcare professional before incorporating Hawthorn into their regimen.

Is Hawthorn Safe to Take Daily?

When used within recommended dosages, Hawthorn is generally safe for daily consumption. However, it’s crucial to adhere to dosage guidelines and monitor for any adverse reactions. As with any herbal supplement, moderation is key, and consulting with a healthcare professional can provide personalized guidance based on individual health considerations.

Conclusion

Hawthorn offers a wide spectrum of health benefits to us. From its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to its role in heart health and potential anti-aging effects, Hawthorn emerges as a botanical treasure with multifaceted contributions to well-being.

Hawthorn stands not only as a symbol of natural beauty but as a compelling testament to the intricate relationship between plants and human health—a relationship that continues to captivate and inspire in the realm of herbal remedies.

Also Read: Benefits of Harad: Harad is a Traditional & Medicinal Plant

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