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.
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.
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.
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
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
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