There is a long history in many traditional cultures of using Hawthorn as food and medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Native American medicine and European herbalism have all included various parts of the Hawthorn tree in their materia medicas.
Most commonly used as a heart tonic, both for physical and spiritual/emotional issues of the heart, Hawthorn has a variety of other documented benefits as well.
Declining Cardiac Function
Hawthorn has been used since the 17th century as a heart tonic. It not only possesses benefits that assist in keeping the aging or weakened heart healthy, it is considered a cardiac trophorestorative. That means that it nourishes and actually rebuilds the heart tissue itself!
There are a number of scientific studies that support the use of Hawthorn as a heart tonic. Congestive heart failure, arrhythmias and chronic heart failure are just a few of the heart conditions that can be benefited by Hawthorn.
High Blood Pressure
Another cardiac benefit of Hawthorn, is that it has the ability to lower blood pressure. According to Dr Stephen Sinatra, “Hawthorn berry benefits, like garlic, include ACE inhibitor qualities. In other words, in some people, hawthorn or garlic or both can function like a pharmaceutical ACE inhibitor and effectively lower high blood pressure levels.” Additionally, according to Susun Weed, “In fact, it is highly regarded as a safe way to lower blood pressure when the patient is diabetic or has kidney disease.”
Anti-inflammatory and Anti-oxidant
Hawthorn is also an effective anti-inflammatory remedy. This study shows that not only is Hawthorn anti-inflammatory, but it is also gastroprotective, free-radical-scavenging, and antimicrobial. Another study, reveals the ability of Hawthorn to be used as an effective preventative and valuable additional remedy in the treatment of diseases caused by oxidative stress.
Hawthorn has been proven to help lower high cholesterol. Studies have confirmed this. Even mainstream medical sources are heralding the virtues of Hawthorn. WebMD has this to say about the cholesterol lowering effects of this powerful plant: “Research suggests that hawthorn can lower cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad cholesterol”), and triglycerides (fats in the blood). It seems to lower accumulation of fats in the liver and the aorta (the largest artery in the body, located near the heart). Hawthorn fruit extract may lower cholesterol by increasing the excretion of bile, reducing the formation of cholesterol, and enhancing the receptors for LDLs.”
An additional benefit of Hawthorn is that it may be possible to use it in those exposed to radiation in order to protect lymphocytes from radiation effects. The radioprotective effects of Hawthorn were studied with positive results here. In addition, the radioprotective benefits of hawthorn fruit extract against gamma irradiation in bone marrow was studied here.
In addition to these powerful properties, Hawthorn berries are also not only loaded with Vitamin C and other anti-oxidants, but pectin as well. That makes them very practical and nutritious for making jams and jellies.
Have you used Hawthorn? What is your experience with this potent herbal remedy?