One of the popular herbs used in the traditional medical systems of Europe, Asia and various other regions, hawthorn berry is a small-sized red fruit produced by plants in the genus Crataegus. These plants are generally found as shrubs or trees with thorny branches. So, hawthorn berries are also known as thorn apple. Though some of the hawthorn species are grown for ornamental purposes, these plants are highly valued for their medicinal properties. Nowadays, these berries are available in the form of tea, tincture and extract.
Hawthorn Berry Extract Health Benefits
Hawthorn berry plants are native to certain regions of Asia, Europe and North America. The berries of these plants have long been used for culinary purposes. They are also very popular as herbal medicine. As mentioned above, there are numerous species of hawthorn plants in the genus Crataegus.
As far as the medicinal properties are concerned, the most widely used Crataegus species are Crataegus monogyna, Crataegus laevigata, Crataegus pinnatifida and Crataegus cuneata. Hawthorn berries are said to have high levels of antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. These beneficial components in this fruit are believed to be the reason for the therapeutic properties of the berry extract.
- The most important among the hawthorn berry extract benefits is its so-called role in promoting the functions of the cardiovascular system. The active ingredients of this berry are said to strengthen the heart muscles.
- This berry is said to be useful in dilating blood vessels, which in turn enhances the blood supply inside as well as outside the heart. This is good for promoting the health of other organs too, as they receive a good oxygen supply.
- It is also claimed that this extract helps to reduce high cholesterol levels and this is also good for the health of the heart. Hawthorn berries are also used for treating insomnia and digestive problems, like diarrhea.
- This extract is said to be highly effective for reducing high blood pressure and for strengthening blood vessels. It has been suggested that this extract may prove useful in treating hepatitis too.
- Hawthorn berries are also believed to aid digestion. Some people use it for weight loss, as the berries help the body to expel excess salt, thereby reducing water retention.
- Another health benefit of this berry extract is its use in combating anxiety and stress. This extract may also be useful in boosting the immune system and in preventing the signs of aging to some extent.
Dosage and Side Effects
As in case of any other herbal medicine, this extract too must be used as per the instructions of a qualified herbal practitioner. As far as the berry extract is concerned, a daily dose of 160-900 mg is recommended. But, this may vary with individual users on the basis of their health condition. It is not at all advisable to use the extract without consulting a herbalist. He is the best person to decide the hawthorn berry dosage for you and its mode of use. This is very important because this extract may cause side effects too.
The side effects include sweating, skin rash, dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, headache, stomach upset, palpitation and nervousness. Some people may develop allergic reactions that can be mild to severe. Another matter of concern is the possible drug interactions of this extract. This extract may interact with medications for high blood pressure, heart problems and insomnia. It should be avoided by pregnant and nursing women, kids and those with gastrointestinal problems, like colitis and ulcers. Even overdose of this product may cause side effects. According to some herbalists, short-term use of hawthorn berry extract in the proper manner may not cause any side effects. So, never use it as per your discretion.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.