Hawthorn berries are tiny fruits which belong to the Crataegus genus. These grow on trees and shrubs. Its botanical name is Crataegus Laevigata and many parts of it such as fruits, flowers and leaves are edible. Many of its species are native to Europe, Asia, and North America.
Hawthorn Berry has a long history of being a healthy addition to an everyday diet. It benefits the user physically and emotionally. for this reason, it was a favorite fruit of Native American Indians. Not to forget, it is also a gastrointestinal health booster. This article will explain some amazing health benefits of Hawthorn that everyone should know.
Health Benefits of Hawthorn Berry
Following are some of the health benefits of hawthorn berry.
1- Source of Antioxidants
Hawthorn berry contains a high number of polyphenols. These are powerful antioxidants present in plants.
Due to high antioxidant activity, these berries are associated with many health benefits which are the following:
- Antioxidants are beneficial and help in the neutralization of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules which can harm your body.
- It contains a high amount of vitamins A, C and E. Therefore, it reduces inflammation and boosts the immune system.
- It also improves circulation and strengthens capillaries. In this way, it protects against atherosclerosis.
- These berries are also effective for the functioning of brain and nerve tissues
- It also improves connective tissue health.
- Studies suggest that the use of these berries can reduce histamine production.
2- Immunity Booster
Hawthorn berry has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammation properties. These properties can strengthen your immune system.
- Some studies are performed which indicates that these berries have anti-inflammatory effects. These berries can be used to treat many diseases as it reduces chronic inflammation.
- In a study, hawthorn berry extract was used for the treatment of liver disease in mice which significantly reduced the level of inflammation.
- In another research, the use of hawthorn berry extracts reduced inflammation in mice having asthma.
These berries have antibacterial properties.
Following studies are performed to confirm its anti-bacterial properties.
- In a study, hawthorn berries extract was used against Streptococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumonia. Antibacterial activity of hawthorn berries was observed against these bacteria.
- In another study, hawthorn berry extract showed antibacterial activity against several bacteria, including Listeria Monocytogenes
3- Lowers Blood Pressure
Hawthorn berries are known to lower blood pressure. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine, for the treatment of high blood pressure.
Following studies are performed to investigate its significance in lowering blood pressure.
- Some studies have shown that hawthorn berries can act as a “vasodilator”. Vasodilators help in the relaxation of constricted blood vessels. In this way, it lowers blood pressure.
- In a study, 36 people with mildly elevated blood pressure were studied. All of them were given 500 mg of hawthorn extract daily for 10-weeks. The study showed that daily use of these berries can lower the diastolic blood pressure.
- In another study, 79 people with high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes were given 1,200 mg of hawthorn extract daily. An improvement in their condition was observed
4- Maintains Cholesterol Level
Some studies suggest that the use of hawthorn extract can balance the cholesterol level of blood.
Triglycerides and cholesterol are the fats always present in the blood and very important in the transportation of nutrients throughout the body and for the production of hormones.
What is Cholesterol Imbalance?
Any imbalance in blood fat levels can be dangerous. A low level of HDL (good) cholesterol and a high level of triglycerides can lead to plaque buildup in the blood vessels causing “atherosclerosis”.
During atherosclerosis, plaque accumulation can block the blood vessels, leading to stroke or heart attack.
Following studies show that the consumption of hawthorn berries can improve cholesterol level in blood:
- In a study, mice were given a dose of hawthorn extract which resulted in lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- In another study, mice were given hawthorn extract which lowered cholesterol level. Both Hawthorn berries and cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin reduced an equal amount of cholesterol.
5- Reduce the Symptoms of Heart Failure
Hawthorn Berries have been extensively studied for heart health.
The following study shows that its use can reduce the chances of heart failure:
- One study showed that daily consumption of 900mg Hawthorn Berry extracts effectively managed the symptoms of congestive heart failure.
Its use supports heart health in the following ways:
- It supports healthy cardiac rhythm or heartbeat
- Hawthorn enhances heart cell metabolism
- It also enhances the flow of electrolytes across the cells of the heart.
- It enhances the function of cardiac enzymes. The flavones present in these berries help in the function. It also improves the heart’s ability to cope with stress.
6- Improves Digestion
Hawthorn berries have been used for centuries to treat digestive issues.
How improves digestion?
It can improve digestion in the following ways:
- These berries contain a high amount of fibers. Fibers are known to improve digestion by reducing the chances of constipation.
- These berries act as prebiotics. The Prebiotics feed healthy gut bacteria and are important in the maintenance of healthy digestion
Following studies suggest that these berries can improve digestion:
- In a study, hawthorn extract was given to rats that dramatically increased the transit time of food in the stomach. In this study, quick digestion was observed which alleviated the condition of indigestion.
- In another study, hawthorn extract was given to the rats with stomach ulcers. The results showed that the use of these berries act as anti-ulcer medication and can be used to treat stomach ulcers.
7- Hair Loss Prevention
Hawthorn berry can prevent hair loss. This is used in hair growth products because of its beneficial properties.
Following studies suggest that these berries can prevent hair loss:
- In a study, the use of hawthorn stimulated hair growth in rats. It was proved that it increases the size and number of hair follicles and promotes the growth of healthier hair. The polyphenols present in hawthorn berries help in the prevention from hair loss.
8- Reduces Anxiety
Hawthorn berries help in the reduction of anxiety. These berries have a mild sedative effect.
Studies suggest that it is beneficial and causes very few side effects as compared to traditional anti-anxiety medications. More studies are required to study the efficacy of hawthorn for the treatment of disorders associated with the central nervous systems, such as depression and anxiety.