Hawthorne Berries and Heart Health

 


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The Hawthorne berry is the fruit of the Common Hawthorne or Midland Hawthorne, a low growing shrub or small tree, with waxy leaves similar to the holly tree. Hawthorne berries are not commonly used as a food source, today, but the extract is found in some health supplements that promote heart and vascular health.

Apparently, the Hawthorne berry was used to make a fermented beverage in China, during per-historic times. Remnants of Hawthorne berries have been found in pottery jars dating back to 7000 B. C. Archeologists believe that these beverages were medically or religiously significant in ancient Chinese culture.

The New York Medical Journal first published a report concerning the use of Hawthorne berry in the treatment of heart disease in October 1896. A Dr. Green of Ennis, Ireland had developed a reputation for “curing" heart disease, but refused to share his secret with colleagues. After his death, his daughter revealed the name of the remedy used by her father. The name was Crataegus Oxycantha, the older scientific name for the Common Hawthorn. The official designation is now Crataegus monogyna, but the older name is sometimes used.

Clinical trials and research continued on the medicinal value of Hawthorne berries throughout the early 1900’s and is still going on today. Scientific evaluation of the benefits of Hawthorne berry has only been partially completed. It is believed that antioxidants, flavonoids or other compounds such as epicatechin, quercetin and rutin, are responsible for the beneficial effects of Hawthorne berries. The extract is sometimes added to health supplements designed to promote heart health, reduce blood pressure and correct unhealthy cholesterol levels.

The most recent studies of the medicinal value of the Hawthorn berry related to the affect of the extract on the liver, the digestive system, the cardiovascular system and as an anti-inflammatory. The extract has natural anti-inflammatory action, has reduced ulcerative colitis and protected the liver from damage usually associated with cardiac events in laboratory animals. In the vascular system, the extract has been shown to reduce calcification. It is calcification of arterial plaques that leads to atherosclerosis and life threatening blood clots.

Even though some health care professionals have recognized the medicinal value of Hawthorne berries for over 100 years, research related to them is still considered preliminary. Most scientific research is funded by pharmaceutical companies and pharmaceutical companies cannot patent naturally occurring substances. So, the Hawthorne berry is of little interest to them. To learn more about Hawthorne berries and supplements designed to promote heart health, please visit Heart Health Diet Tips.com .

Patsy Hamilton was a health care professional for over twenty years before becoming a freelance health writer. She is currently writing a series of articles about supplements that promote better heart health. Read more at http://heart-health-diet-tips.com .

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