Hawthorn | What is Hawthorn Fruit | What are the Health Benefits of Hawthorn Fruit | Uses of Hawthorn Fruit | Nutritional Value of Hawthorn Fruit
Hawthorn (Crataegus species ) is a small tree or shrub and a member of the rose family. It was hung over the doorway in the Middle Ages to prevent the entry of evil spirits. By the early 1800s, American doctors recognized the herb’s medicinal properties and began using it to treat circulatory disorders and respiratory illnesses. Considered a “cardiotonic” herb or heart tonic, the flowers and berries of the hawthorn plant were used in traditional medicine to treat irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, chest pain, hardening of the arteries, and heart failure. Hawthorn is commonly used to strengthen the heart.
Hawthorn is a common thorny shrub that grows up to 5 feet tall on hillsides and in sunny wooded areas throughout the world. In May its flowers bloom. They grow in small clusters, and are white, red, or pink.
Small berries, called haws, sprout after the flowers. They are usually red when ripe, but they may also be black. Hawthorn leaves are shiny and grow in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Health Benefits and Uses of Hawthorn Fruit, Tree and its leaves:
Today, many health care professionals use hawthorn to help protect against heart disease and help control high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Heart failure Hawthorn has primarily been studied in people with heart failure (a condition in which the heart is unable to pump adequate amounts of blood to other organs in the body). Four studies conclude that hawthorn significantly improved heart function and ability to exercise. Patients have reported that hawthorn significantly improved symptoms of the disease (such as shortness of breath and fatigue).
Atherosclerosis Animal and laboratory studies demonstrate that this herb has antioxidant properties that help protect against the formation of plaques. The buildup of these fatty materials in the blood vessels is called atherosclerosis. Plaque buildup in the vessels supplying the heart with oxygen-rich blood may cause chest pain (angina) and heart attacks, while plaque buildup in the arteries that supply blood to the brain may result in stroke.
Chest pain Hawthorn berry preparations have been shown to combat chest pain (angina), which is caused by low blood flow to the heart. Those who received the hawthorn preparation experienced improved blood flow to the heart and were also able to exercise for longer periods of time without suffering from chest pain.
High cholesterol Studies using rats suggest that a hawthorn tincture (made from the berries) may be a powerful agent for the removal of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from the bloodstream. The tincture of hawthorn berries also reduced the production of cholesterol in the livers of rats fed a high-cholesterol diet. More studies of hawthorn and cholesterol in people are needed.
High blood pressure Although hawthorn has not been studied specifically in people with high blood pressure, considerable evidence supports the cardiovascular benefits of this herb.
A hawthorn extract was recently found to be effective for hypertension in patients with type 2 diabetes who were also taking their prescribed medicines. Those taking the hawthorn supplement had lower blood pressures than those taking the placebo.
To treat syndromes of retention of meat and food in the stomach Like Abdominal distention, belching and acid regurgitation and abdominal pain with loose stools due to retention of meat and food in the stomach.
To treat abdominal pain with diarrhea or dysentery (severe diarrhea) and hernial pain.
To treat chest and abdominal pain and dysmenorrhea (difficult and painful menstruation) due to blood stasis.
To treat hypertension.
For viral hepatitis (inflammation of the liver caused by virus).