The hawthorn berry is a fruit belonging to a group of plants that are part of the Crataegus genus. Long used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are about 300 hundred species of hawthorn that grow throughout the world. While the health benefits of these berries are well documented by herbalists, scientific research in the last few decades is cementing hawthorn berry’s place as a helpful ingredient for heart health. (1)
How Hawthorn Berry Works
The key to the health benefits of the hawthorn berry lies in its chemical composition. While the berry of Crataegus is primarily used in herbal preparations, all parts of the plant contain powerful polyphenols.
Polyphenols are plant chemicals that play a significant role in human health. Acting as antioxidants, polyphenols help neutralize free radicals in the body, reducing oxidative stress. Free radicals are unstable atoms that have been linked to illness, aging, and a host of other negative health effects. (2)
Hawthorn berry extract contains a variety of polyphenols. In one study (3), the most prominent concentrations include:
When To Take Hawthorn Berry
Because of its antioxidant compounds, hawthorn berry has a variety of applications in supporting overall health. The tart berries can be eaten or taken in a dried powder, liquid, tincture, or circulation supplement--such as ecoNugenics Circutrol, which combines other natural botanicals to promote optimal circulation and cardiovascular health.*
The most common reasons most people add hawthorn berry to their diet are to support heart health, balance blood pressure and cholesterol, and aid in digestion. Let’s look at each in more detail.
To Support Heart Health
In traditional Chinese herbalism, hawthorn berry is used to support cardiovascular health. In one study that analyzed 14 clinical trials, hawthorn berry extract improved exercise capacity. The polyphenols in the plant also helped improve heart function and minimized symptoms like shortness of breath and fatigue. When combined with conventional heart health agents, results showed that hawthorn berry helped support other cardiovascular health approaches. (8)
Research continues to show hawthorn berry as a promising and safe way to help support heart health. (9)
To Balance Blood Pressure
As part of its positive effects on the cardiovascular system, hawthorn berry may help manage blood pressure levels. In animal studies, hawthorn berry extract is shown to have vasorelaxation properties--meaning it relaxes the muscles of blood vessels, so they can widen and support healthy circulation. It’s thought that the hawthorn berry enhances nitric oxide release, the molecule the body produces to relax blood vessels. (10)
The resulting vasodilation could contribute to balancing blood pressure levels. One human study noted that those with mild blood pressure imbalances responded better than the placebo group when given hawthorn berry extract. While more studies are needed, the results of the trial are promising. (11)
To Balance Cholesterol Levels
LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, can cause fatty buildup in arteries and restrict blood flow. Along with hawthorn berry’s ability to relax blood vessels, one study showed that the plant may improve a healthy ratio of blood fat levels.
The study examined rats’ weight and cholesterol levels after being given hawthorn extract. The results showed lowered LDL levels and decreased oxidative stress when compared to groups not given the extract. While more studies on humans are needed, these promising results suggest a beneficial effect of hawthorn berry’s polyphenol compounds on lipid profiles. (12)
To Aid In Digestion
Aside from heart support, hawthorn berry was originally used in traditional Chinese herbalism for digestive health. With its antioxidant properties, the extract was observed to have a positive effect on rats with stress ulcers. The results also showed that the hawthorn berry had an antibacterial effect on pathogens that can cause infections, such as Listeria monocytogenes. (13)
Are Hawthorn Berry Supplements Safe?
Varieties of Crataegus have been used therapeutically for hundreds of years, with no known serious adverse reactions. Any symptoms or reactions reported are rare and usually mild, especially when compared with synthetic drug side effects. Its low toxicity—combined with researched benefits—makes this plant a beneficial tool in supporting overall health. Still, it’s always important to consult with a physician before adding a supplement to one’s wellness routine, especially when taking prescription medications for blood pressure, blood platelet, or blood coagulation disorders. (1)
Where To Find Hawthorn Berry Extract
While hawthorn berry can be eaten fresh or dried, supplements are one of the most common forms of adding this powerful plant to the diet. Because a variety of types and formulas exist, it’s important to choose a supplement that contains high-quality ingredients backed by science. When added with other powerful herbal formulas, hawthorn berry extract can synergistically support overall health.
ecoNugenics’ Circutol contains a blend of hawthorn berry extract, Chinese salvia, functional mushrooms, L-carnitine, and a powerful enzyme called nattokinase, that work together to support circulation and cardiovascular health. By combining scientifically proven ingredients into one supplement, hawthorn berry’s beneficial effects can provide support to vital systems throughout the body.*
Circutol provides total-body support for optimal circulation and healthy blood pressure. This innovative formula combines a powerful enzyme, together with targeted botanicals and nutrients, for comprehensive circulatory and cardiovascular health.*
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- Han X, Li W, Huang D, Yang X. Polyphenols from hawthorn peels and fleshes differently mitigate dyslipidemia, inflammation and oxidative stress in association with modulation of liver injury in high fructose diet-fed mice. Chem Biol Interact. 2016;257:132-140.
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- Yoo J-H, Liu Y, Kim H-S. Hawthorn fruit extract elevates expression of Nrf2/HO-1 and improves lipid profiles in ovariectomized rats. Nutrients. 2016;8(5):283.
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