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Hawthorn For The Heart (& More)

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Hawthorn, The Heart-Healthy Helper

Hawthorn, a berry of the genus Crataegus (there are many species, but they seem to give more or less the same benefits), has been enjoyed for hundreds of years, if not thousands, as a herbal remedy for many ailments, mostly of the cardiovascular, digestive, and/or endocrine systems:

Crataegus pinnatifida: Chemical Constituents, Pharmacology, and Potential Applications

Antioxidant & Anti-inflammatory

Like most berries, it’s full of helpful polyphenols, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Indeed, as Dr. Nabavi et al. wrote,

Crataegus monogyna Jacq. (hawthorn) is one of the most important edible plants of the Rosaceae family and is also used in traditional medicine.

Growing evidence has shown that this plant has various interesting physiological and pharmacological activities due to the presence of different bioactive natural compounds.

In addition, scientific evidence suggests that the toxicity of hawthorn is negligible. ❞

~ Dr. Nabavi et al.

Read in full: Polyphenolic Composition of Crataegus monogyna Jacq.: From Chemistry to Medical Applications

While “the toxicity of hawthorn is negligible” may be reasonably considered a baseline for recommending an edible plant, it’s still important as just that: a baseline. It’s good to know that berries are safe, after all!

More positively, about those antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties:

Polyphenols from hawthorn peels and fleshes differently mitigate dyslipidemia, inflammation and oxidative stress

👆 This one was a mouse study, but it’s important as it about modulating liver injury after being fed a high fructose diet.

In other words: it a) helps undo the biggest cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, b) logically, likely guards against diabetes also (by the same mechanism)

Anti-Diabetes Potential

Curious about that latter point, we looked for studies, and found, for example:

Noteworthily, those studies are from the past couple of years, which is probably why we’re not seeing many human trials for this yet—everything has to be done in order, and there’s a lengthy process between each.

We did find some human trials with hawthorn in diabetes patients, for example:

Hypotensive effects of hawthorn for patients with diabetes taking prescription drugs: a randomised controlled trial

…but as you see, that’s testing not its antidiabetic potential, so far demonstrated only in mice and rats (so far as we could find), but rather its blood pressure lowering effects, using diabetic patients as a sample.

Blood pressure benefits

Hawthorn has been studied specifically for its hypotensive effect, for example:

Promising hypotensive effect of hawthorn extract: a randomized double-blind pilot study of mild, essential hypertension

As an extra bonus, did you notice in the conclusion,

❝Furthermore, a trend towards a reduction in anxiety (p = 0.094) was also observed in those taking hawthorn compared with the other groups.

These findings warrant further study, particularly in view of the low dose of hawthorn extract used.❞

~ Dr. Ann Walker et al.

…it seems that not a lot more study has been done yet, but that is promising too!

Other blood metrics

So, it has antidiabetic and antihypertensive benefits, what of blood lipids?

Hawthorn Fruit Extract Elevates Expression of Nrf2/HO-1 and Improves Lipid Profiles

And as for arterial plaque?

Clinical study on treatment of carotid atherosclerosis with extraction of polygoni cuspidati rhizoma et radix and crataegi fructus: a randomized controlled trial

👆 here it was tested alongside another herb, and performed well (also against placebo).

In summary…

Hawthorn (Crataegus sp.) is…

  • a potent berry containing many polyphenols with good antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects
  • looking promising against diabetes, but research for this is still in early stages
  • found to have other cardioprotective effects (antihypertensive, improves lipid profiles), too
  • considered to have negligible toxicity

Where can I get it?

As ever, we don’t sell it, but here for your convenience is an example product on Amazon 😎


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