Hawthorn berries (Crataegus laevigataorCrataegus mongyna) have been treasured for centuries as a botanical treatment for heart disorders. The brownish, wrinkled false fruit of the hawthorn tree are full of antioxidants. Both modern scientific and traditional literature indicate that hawthorn berries are safe and effective in the treatment of blood pressure and circulatory issues, cardiac arrhythmia, and even chronic heart failure. Hawthorn berries also reduce inflammation, protect the stomach in times of stress, and have mild anti-bacterial properties.
Medical science proves the safety and efficacy of hawthorn berries
The University of Maryland Medical Center states that the antioxidants found in hawthorn berries may be responsible for treating a long list of cardiac, respiratory, and circulatory conditions. Hawthorn berries contain flavonoids such as quercitin, and oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs)- the same antioxidants found in grapes. Free radical damage from poor diets and lifestyle plus environmental toxins are responsible for symptoms of aging and numerous health problems. Hawthorn berries are especially helpful in combating heart disease, high blood pressure, palpitations, chest pains (angina) and elevated cholesterol levels.
So effective are hawthorn berries that a 2008 medical study published in the German medical journalArzneimittelforschungproved that a drug containing hawthorn berry juice was tested against other heart and blood pressure medications and found to be safer as well as just as effective. This was a placebo-controlled human study involving patients ranging in age from 11 to 102 years old. The study was conducted in over forty medical practices in Germany during a two year period, specifically for orthostatic hypotension- dizziness and “head rushes” when standing up after lying down or sitting for a long period of time.
TheJournal of Agriculture and Food Chemistrypublished a medical study on hawthorn berry extract, or tincture. This study tested the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, gastro-protective, and anti-microbial effects of hawthorn berry extract. Depending on dosage, rats who were fed hawthorn berry extract orally saw a reduction in edema (swelling)and inflammation in their paws. 200mg/kg of body weight produced the best results. Rats with acute stress stomach ulcers saw significant improvement while taking hawthorn berry extract, as well. The results compared to other drugs for gastric ulcers, and again, 200mg/kg of body weight brought the best results. The scientists performing this study also noted that hawthorn berry extract also had moderate anti-microbial properties.
Traditional herbalists call hawthorn berries a “great heart food”
Master herbalist Dr. John Ray Christopher turned to hawthorn berries as a “great heart food or tonic.” He believed that most heart malfunctions, including heart failure, was due to poor diet. His long term solution for any cardiac or circulatory issue was to improve the diet, but for immediate problems, Dr. Christopher reached for hawthorn berries. He used hawthorn berries, often in combination with cayenne pepper, to treat heart palpitations, high blood pressure, shortness of breath, and weak hearts.
Hawthorn berry tea is easy to make. Simply boil purified water, then add one teaspoon of dried hawthorn berries per cup of water in the teapot. Allow to steep, covered, for about ten minutes. Pour the hawthorn berry tea into tea cups and enjoy. The hawthorn berries may be either eaten or discarded. Three cups of tea per day is the usual recommendation for anyone with a circulatory condition.
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