Hawthorn – A Natural Treatment for Cardiovascular Disease

The World Health Organisation (WHO) lists cardiovascular disease (CVD) as globally the number one cause of death, accounting for 30% of all deaths in 2005. The American Heart Association cites heart disease as the number one killer of American adults and further commented that for the year 2005, 80,700,000 Americans suffered from some form of CVD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are plenty of prescriptions one can be prescribed, but make sure you do your research and check out hawthorn-a natural treatment for cardiovascular disease.

About Hawthorn

Hawthorn Berries consist of many things, but several of their most active constituents are procyandin oligomers, cholines, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid and ascorbic acid. These mentioned items in hawthorn berries work together to help prevent many types of cardiovascular disease including angina, coronary thrombosis (blood clot in an artery near the heart), cardiac arrest, high blood pressure and palpitation (rapid heartbeat). Choline present in the berries is also the main constituent in lecithin.

What does Hawthorn do?

Hawthorn improves blood and oxygen supply, cardiac energy and the metabolic processes of the heart, dilates the coronary blood vessels, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels and restores heart muscle. Hawthorn has a catabolic effect on calories during the process of oxidation in the tissues. In other words, hawthorn “burns up” excess calories and decreases fat deposits levels. It also increases intracellular vitamin C levels.

Hawthorn is a specific for organic or functional heart disorders such as dyspnea, rapid and feeble heart action, hypertrophy, valvular insufficiency, heart oppression. Extracts of hawthorn berries and extracts of the flowering tops of hawthorn are widely used by physicians of Europe for their cardiovascular effectiveness. There is a great article in Pharmacognosy Review on just how effective Hawthorn is on cardiovascular disease. It writes of several studies and the low incidence of reactions.

In this post, several forms of heart disease will be talked about in more detail- angina, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Hawthorn for Angina

Studies have proven how hawthorn extracts are great at reducing angina attacks, which is caused by low blood flow to the heart. This is due in improvements not only from increased blood and oxygen supply to the heart muscle, but is also due to the interaction of hawthorn flavonoids with key enzymes to strengthen the heart muscle’s ability to contract and helps the body to get rid of excess water and salt.

Hawthorn for Conjestive Heart Failure

Hawthorn preparations are very effective in the early stages of congestive heart failure and minor arrhythmias. This effectiveness in CHF has been repeatedly demonstrated studies. In one double-blind study, 30 patients with CHF were assessed in a randomized double-blind study. Treatment consisted of a hawthorn extract, standardized to contain 15 mg of procyandin oligomers per 80mg capsule. The treatment lasted eight weeks, and one capsule twice per day of hawthorn was given. The group receiving the hawthorn extract showed positive changes in heart function.over the placebo group. Blood pressure also improved. As with other studies of hawthorn, no adverse side effects happened.

Here is a link to another remarkable study:. Zick SM, Gillespie B, Aaronson K. The Effect of Crataegus oxyacantha special extract WS 1442 on clinical progression in patients with mild to moderate symptoms of heart failure. European Journal of Heart Failure. 2008:387–93. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

In another large study from the University of Maryland, found that hawthorn was effective in treating 952 people with heart failure. The study compared treating heart failure with conventional drugs to hawthorn alone, and in addition to taking hawthorn with prescription drugs. After two years, participants who took hawthorn supplementation had decreased symptoms of heart failure. Palpitations, breathing problems and fatigue had significantly improved when taking hawthorn alone or with other drugs.

Hawthorn for High Blood Pressure

Two most popular recommendations for high blood pressure are garlic and hawthorn. Studies have demonstrated that hawthorn extracts are effective in lowering blood pressure and in improving heart function. Patients with diabetes who were already using blood pressure medicine experienced a greater drop in blood pressure with hawthorn.

Hawthorn berries may also be useful for controlling blood pressure. A pilot study from Readings University in the UK set out to investigate the hypotensive potential of hawthorn extract and magnesium. Participants were assigned a daily supplement of either 600 milligrams, 500 milligrams hawthorn extract, a combination of both or a placebo. At week 10, researchers found a reduction in the resting diastolic blood pressure in the participants who were assigned the hawthorn extract.

Another compelling study Charts ten patients with hypertension. Every patient had significantly reduced blood pressure, but when taken off of hawthorn, within 14 days all had returned to the original blood pressure level.

I have given it to patients with high blood pressure with very positive results. One patient reduce his High blood pressure by 42 points in just a few days.

Hawthorn for Lowering Cholesterol

Research suggests that hawthorn can lower cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides. It seems to lower accumulation of fats in the liver and the aorta (located near the heart). The extract may lower cholesterol by increasing the excretion of bile, reducing the formation of cholesterol and enhancing the receptors of LDL’s.

Hawthorn Berry Syrup Preparation

In Potters Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations, published by Potter and Clarke, Ltd., 60 Artillery Lane, London, there is a Hawthorn berry syrup which I prepare and give to my clients with great success. It is done by mashing up the berries, low cooking them in water for a short period of time, and cooking down the liquid. Brandy and Glycerin are added to preserve the extract. Every time I have given this extract to a client, they have come back to tell me of the positive results it has had to their heart.

Cautions

As with most herbs, they are to be used with prudence and thanksgiving. Make sure you check with your doctor to make sure that hawthorn does not interact with any medication you are on.

Hawthorn can interact with certain drugs used to treat heart disease such as Digoxin, Beta-blockers, Calcium channel blockers.

Side effects can include upset stomach, sweating, fatigue, nausea, agitation or dizziness. As a master herbalist, my clients have not had any side effects.

My take-away

In my thirty plus years of working with people that have had cardiovascular disease, hawthorn has been my go-to herb. It is the herb for any malfunction of the heart. Nobody I have ever given hawthorn to has had any adverse reactions; only positive results.

If you have any questions on the use or effectiveness of hawthorn, I will be glad to answer them in the comment section below. Do you have any experience with hawthorn? Let me know that too.

Good Health to You

Crystal

References used:

Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Balch, 5th Edition

Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Murray and Pizzorno, 2nd Edition

School of Natural Healing, Christopher

Science of Herbal Medicine, Heinerman

https://www.thealternativedaily.com/health-benefits-of-hawthorn-berries/

Other studies reviewed:

Y.Nasa et. al., “Protective Effect of Crataegus Extract on the Cardiac Mechanical Dysfunction in Isolated Perfused Working Rat Heart,” Arznein Forsch 43 (1993) 945-49.

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2010/0215/p465.html – Health Effects of Hawthorn

http://prf.hn/click/camref:1011l434u/creativeref:1011l28669

Turmeric and Boswellia – Best treatment Arthritis Pain

I just recently turned 56. A few years ago, I had some x-rays taken of my back. The doctor said I had mild to moderate arthritis from my neck to my tailbone, some degenerative and some spondylitis; which means inflammation in the joints of my backbone.

I wanted to know for sure, because I would often wake up hurting in my lower back. Sometimes, I would get muscle spasms. When I got those, then I really felt like an old woman.

I did not want to “have” to take prescription drugs or even over-the-counter drugs for that matter. Because I wanted to function at work, I did start taking Ibuprofen and then Naproxen. I only used them when I really need them and then only until I found a natural solution that worked for me. Well, I found the best treatment for arthritis pain – Turmeric and Boswellia.

The following is take from a booklet my father and I put together to inform the reader the basics of herbs called Herbal Descriptions.

Turmeric

Herb: TURMERIC ROOT

Botanical name: Curcuma longa

Origin: India

Therapeutic actions: Anti-bacterial; Antioxidant; Anti-coagulant; Antibiotic; Anti-fungal; Anti-inflammatory; Anti-viral; Antioxidant.

Nutrients: Calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C.

Drug Interactions: No known Drug Interactions.

Description: It is considered a cleansing herb for the whole body. It stimulates bile flow, reduces blood clotting and protects the liver.

Internal uses: It has been used as a digestive aid, fevers, infections, dysentery, intestinal parasites, arthritis, jaundice, and liver problems. It fights free radicals, inhibits platelet aggregation, aids circulation, lowers cholesterol levels and improves blood vessel health. It has also been used to fight cancerous tumors, Crohns disease, HIV, low back pain, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, atherosclerosis and bursitis.

External uses: Sprinkle on cuts and scrapes after cleansing.

Suggested Dosage: 250-500 mg 3 times daily. Tincture– .5—1.5 ml 3 times daily.

Caution: May cause stomach upset. Do not use in large quantities. Consult doctor if you have gallstones before taking Turmeric.

Boswellia

Herb: BOSWELLIA/FRANKINCENSE

Botanical name: Boswellia serrata

Origin: India

Therapeutic actions: Anti-arthritic; Anti-fungal; Anti-bacterial; Analgesic; Anti-inflammatory; Anti-tumor; Anti-carcinogenic.

Drug interactions: These interactions have not been studied in humans, but in theory, boswellia could reduce the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory pain relievers, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve, Anaprox). Laboratory and animal studies suggest that boswellia may increase the effects or toxicity of some drugs. Examples include some drugs used to treat asthma, such as montelukast (Singulair), some anticancer drugs, cholesterol-lowering drugs and some antifungal drugs.

Description: Boswellia has a long history of use in folk medicine as a remedy for several inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis, osteoarthritis and bursitis.

Internal uses: It is also prescribed for such conditions as respiratory diseases and diarrhea. It has been used to repair blood vessels damaged by inflammations. German Doctors and Naturopaths are getting excellent results in reducing cancerous brain tumors. It has been used for lowering cholesterol. Other uses: gout, low back pain, myositis, fibromyalgia, obesity, diarrhea, dysentery, pulmonary diseases, ringworm and boils.

Suggested dosage: 400—500 mg 3 times daily.

I take them as a Tincture

A Tincture? What is that? A tincture is a liquid comprised of the herb soaked in water and alcohol, and then extracted. So, in a sense, it is a concentrate. Some people are leary of taking anything with alcohol in it. This is safe since the alcohol helps extracts the herbal constituents (the good stuff) from the plant.  Typically, 10 drops is approximately 500 mg.  There are 5 reasons I take tinctures over pills or capsules:

  1.  It absorbs faster.
  2. I can regulate the dose
  3. It lasts years.
  4. It not only absorbs, but assimilates better.
  5. A lot more economical.

NO Pain the natural way

The bottom line is this:  I have no more pain.  What is even more exciting for me is that I am back running again after 3 years of not being able to.  I had to stop running because after the first half mile, my back would tense up so much so that I had to lay down on the ground, right there, to let it ease up.  How embarrassing!

I am starting slow, but it was just about 6 years ago that I ran a 1/2 marathon in a 7:36 pace!  I will never do that again, but if I can just go out on a leisurely jog 2-3 days a week, I will be a very happy person!

Let me know what works for you.  Have you tried tinctures?  Have you ever used Boswellia or Turmeric?  What for?  Leave your comments down below.  If you have any questions, leave those too, and I will get back with you pronto.

 

Good Health to You

Crystal

 

 

 

 

Healing Herbs – The Root of Medicine

the root of medicine

My experience with healing herbs

I have been a Master Herbalist for over 35 years and have seen much good in  healing herbs. I personally have benefited from the use of them.  It has kept me from getting sick by using the Formula KVA because its main herb in it is Garlic (even hugged friends of mine who had the West Nile Virus!), healed sprains, cuts, big open wounds (on my previous husband) and so much more. I have seen people healed of many diseases using herbs, along with dietary changes.  On the contrary, I have used a couple of prescription drugs and had to get right back off of them because the side affects outweighed the benefits of taking them.  That is why I stay with the herbs, because they are the root of medicine.

Tinctures that I commonly use

Tintures?  What is that?  A tincture is an herb soaked in a medium such as vinegar, glycerin, or most common, alcohol. It absorbs in the body faster; you can regulate the dosage; and it has a long shelf life. I make sure that there is no more than 30% alcohol in 98% of my tinctures.

I personally make many herbal formulas and single herb tinctures, many of which I use!  My favorite ones I am taking now are Turmeric and Boswellia for arthritis.  They both help inflammation in my joints.  I also use a couple of salves (Hot Tamale and Comfrey) on the clients I massage and personally on an old injury.

The other formula I take on a regular basis is the Lower Bowel Tonic.  When I was 15, I had an Iridology Analysis and through that I found out that my colon is inherently weak.  I have been taking care of it ever since, and so when I had my colonoscopy a few years ago, the doctor said I had a colon as pink and healthy as a 16 year old!  A good Herbalist knows that death starts in the colon.

Herbs have been around since creation

Herbs have been used for medicine since creation.  It has only been since the 1800’s, when scientists discovered that medicinal components of herbs could be extracted and used more potently. Single ingredients derived from herbal extracts can no longer be considered herbal medicine, as by definition, herbal medicines are based on the whole plant.

 

There are an estimated 600,000 plant species, but only a mere 5% have been investigated chemically or pharmaceutically, which equates to just over 12,000 compounds, or phytochemicals, that have been used for long-term effect on health.  They are divided into primary metabolites (sugars and fats) and secondary metabolites like toxins and pheromones.  It is these that have the therapeutic actions and can be refined to produce drugs.  I will only talk about a couple of common ones.

Ephedrine

One of the first to be extracted and used as a drug was Ephedrine which comes from the plant with several names: Ma Huang, Brigham Tea or Mormon Tea.  According to rx.com, they list the uses of this drug and the side effects if you take too much:  Ephedrine is a central nervous system stimulant used to treat breathing problems (as a bronchodilator), nasal congestion (as a decongestant), low blood pressure problems (orthostatic hypotension), or myasthenia gravis. Ephedrine is also used to treat narcolepsy, menstrual problems (dysmenorrhea), or urine-control problems. Ephedrine is available in generic form. Common side effects of Ephedrine usually occur with larger doses and include:

Using the plant in its original, whole form will do more good that taking this pill.  There are many herbs and herbal formulas that will strengthen the respiratory, urinary or nervous system.  I would not want to damage my body when I know that there are herbs that can heal and strengthen.

Foxglove

Another constituent discovered in the 1800’s was digitoxin found in Foxglove.  John Heinerman, states in his book: Science of Herbal Medicine, (pg. 58) When the leaves are dried there is a enzyme deterioration “splitting off glucose and forming the triglycosides, digitoxin  and gitoxin, which are the important ingredients of the dried leaves.”  It is used mainly as a heart medicine, but according to everydayhealth.com, look at the common side effects of Digoxin:

·         Weakness

·         Dizziness

·         Changes in mood and mental alertness, including confusion, depression and lost interest in usual activities

·         Anxiety

·         Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea

·         Headache

·         Rash

Growth or enlargement of breast tissue in men (gynecomastia)

Changes in heart rhythm, including irregular heartbeat

·         Fast or racing heartbeat

·         Heart stopping or flat-lining (asystole)

·         Problems with electrical functioning of the heart known as heart block

·         Visual problems, including blurry vision and yellow halos

·         Low platelet count

They all can have serious side effects but are widely used today.  I would not want to take these pills when there are worse causes that could happen to me.  Instead, I would use the Hawthorne Berry Syrup or other herbal formulas that would strengthen my heart and get rid of stressors that could be harmful.

A few other herbs

Other herbs that are familiar to us are salicylic acid (from which aspirin comes from): White Willow, morphine: Poppy and quinine: Cinchona.  There are many compounds coming from familiar, and not-so familiar plants such as:

  • Garlic-monoamine oxidase inhibitor
  • Konjac-glucomannan
  • Alder buckthorn-anthraquinone
  • Snowdrop-galantamine
  • Witch Hazel-hamamelitannins
  • Yerba mate-polyphenols
  • Star anise-shikimic acid
  • Mullein-glycyrrhizin
  • Wild Tansy-cyclotides

Some upside-too many downside of drugs

There are many more, and not all compounds are used in drugs.  The main point is that although there may be a little upside to extracting these active primary and secondary metabolites, herbs work so much better in their whole state.  They were not meant to be pulled apart and used on the body individually.  Drugs usually treat the symptom but not the cause and more serious side effects can take place including drug deposits that damage other organs and weakening the body.  Plants work with the body synergistically to create healing and balance.  A good herbalist knows this and can teach the person how to use the precious herbs in their original form.  I am here to help any way I can by teaching others what I know.

Good Health to You

Crystal

By © Nevit Dilmen, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1454192 foxglove pic

By Stan Shebs, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=928281 Ephedra pic