If you ask any herbalist what their favorite herb is for heart health, most of them will mention Hawthorne. Hawthorne is a wonderfully intuitive herb that has the ability to either gently stimulate or repress the cardiovascular system depending on what the body needs.
What is hawthorn?
Crataegus oxyacantha and Cratnegus mongyna are the species we are talking about. It is a shrub or a small tree native to Europe, north Africa, and Asia that has been spread around the world and is now known as an invasive species in many parts of America. The leaves, flowers, “berries” or haw and tips of the branches are all used for medicinal purposes. The berries are also used to make jams, jellies and wine and still contain medicinal benefit while being very tasty.
How does it work?
The flowers, haw, tips of branches and leaves are nourishing and strengthening to the cardiovascular system.
- They tone the heart muscles and vessels.
- Dilates arteries and veins, allowing blood flow more freely and releasing constrictions and blockages.
- Potent anti-oxidant fights free radicals in the system.
- A wonderful remedy for “broken hearts”, depression and anxiety.1
- It has been shown to prevent heart attacks by preventing apoptosis (cell death) in the heart. 2
- It has nbso online casino reviews been shown to reduce cholesterol levels in several studies.3
- Hawthorne can improve cardiovascular output. 3
- Another study noted “(Hawthorn) may also be employed in the prophylactic and therapeutic treatment of such conditions as endothelial dysfunction, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, or prevention of restenosis/reocclusion following peripheral endovascular treatment.”4
As you can see this is a potent heart health herb.
How do you take it?
Hawthorn is a tonic herb, which means to see the best effect you will want to use it over a long period of time for it to be effective. It can be used in the form of a tea, tincture, capsules, syrup, jam or jelly. A general guide line would be:
Tea: 3-4 cups a day. It is delicious in a tea and pairs well with lemon balm or oats for hypertension or anxiety. It can also be combined with yarrow and motherswort. A great general vascular tonic would be hawthorn berries and ginko leaves.
Tincture: 1 teaspoon 3x a day
Capsules: 2 3x a day
Is it safe?
As with most herbal remedies, you should consult a knowledgeable herbal practitioner when working with any health condition. Hawthorn is generally regarded as safe, but in large doses it has been reported to cause vertigo and dizziness. In several clinical studies hawthorn has not been shown to interfere with prescribed heart medications.6 In Rosemary Gladstar’s “Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health” she says “I have found hawthorn perfectly safe to use in combination with heart medication, but if you decide to do so, first consult with your health care practitioner.” Susan Weed recommends Hawthorn use during pregnancy as a “Strong and safe vasodilator… for essential hypertension” in her book Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. I have found no published studies on hawthorn use during pregnancy.
How have you used this wonderful heart healthy herb?
1 Rosemary Gladstar “Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health”
2 Vijayan NA, Thiruchenduran M, Devaraj SN. “Anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects of Crataegus oxyacantha on isoproterenol-induced myocardial damage.”
3 Littleton RM, Miller M, Hove JR.”Whole plant based treatment of hypercholesterolemia with Crataegus laevigata in a zebrafish model.”
4 Koch E, Malek FA.”Standardized extracts from hawthorn leaves and flowers in the treatment of cardiovascular disorders–preclinical and clinical studies”
5 Holubarsch CJ et.al. “The efficacy and safety of Crataegus extract WS 1442 in patients with heart failure: the SPICE trial.”
6 Tassell MC. et.al. “Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) in the treatment of cardiovascular disease.”
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