Hawthorn is a flowering shrub that is part of the Rosaceae, or rose, family. It is native to northern Europe but now grows throughout the world. The red berry-like fruit of this spiny plant is sometimes called “haw,” and has been used for both medicinal and culinary purposes. Hawthorn berry was included in theU.S. Pharmacopeia until the 1930s. The leaves are edible as well.
Watch Dr. Meschino explain the proven ability of hawthorn to reduce high blood pressure and improve blood flow to the heart muscle.
The berries have been used in traditional medicine since the first century, and contain phytonutrients called anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins, antioxidants that have a variety of therapeutic effects including strengthening the walls of blood vessels. Extracts of Hawthorn berries, leaves and blossoms also contain compounds that have a toning effect on the heart and vascular system. Hawthorn has been studied for its use in treating health concerns related to the heart and blood vessels.
This includes congestive heart failure, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, low and high blood pressure, angina, atherosclerosis, and high cholesterol. A meta-analysis based on data from 14 studies concluded that a hawthorn extract offers “significant benefit” as an adjunct to conventional treatment of chronic heart failure. Specifically, symptoms including shortness of breath and fatigue were significantly alleviated, compared to placebo treatment.
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