This Berry Has Our Heart Beating- For a Good Reason

This Berry Has Our Heart Beating- For a Good Reason

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:

  • Chlorogenic Acid: Also showcased prominently in coffee, this compound has antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It has also been shown to help balance glucose levels and activate the metabolism of fats. (4)
  • Epicatechin: This polyphenol is also found in high concentrations in wine, tea, and cocoa. Research indicates that epicatechin has positive effects on heart health. (5)
  • Rutin: Rutin is a main component of tea leaves, apples, and other plants like hawthorn berry. The compound has antioxidant properties and has been shown to defend the function of a variety of systems in the body, including the brain and cardiovascular system. (6)
  • Hyperoside: In studies, hyperoside has shown to offer mood support and antioxidant properties, protecting cells from oxidative stress. (7)
  • 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.*

    FEATURED PRODUCT

    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.*

    Sources:

    1. Tassell MC, Kingston R, Gilroy D, Lehane M, Furey A. Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Pharmacogn Rev. 2010;4(7):32-41.
    2. Tsao R. Chemistry and biochemistry of dietary polyphenols. Nutrients. 2010;2(12):1231-1246.
    3. 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.
    4. Meng S, Cao J, Feng Q, Peng J, Hu Y. Roles of chlorogenic Acid on regulating glucose and lipids metabolism: a review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:801457.
    5. Schroeter H, Heiss C, Balzer J, Kleinbongard P, Keen CL, Hollenberg NK, Sies H, Kwik-Uribe C, Schmitz HH, Kelm M. (-)-Epicatechin mediates beneficial effects of flavanol-rich cocoa on vascular function in humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006;103(4):1024-1029.
    6. Ganeshpurkar A, Saluja AK. The pharmacological potential of rutin. Saudi Pharm J. 2017;25(2):149-164.
    7. Park JY, Han X, Piao MJ, Oh MC, Fernando PMDJ, Kang KA, Ryu YS, Jung U, Kim IG, Hyun JW. Hyperoside induces endogenous antioxidant system to alleviate oxidative stress. J Cancer Prev. 2016;21(1):41-47.
    8. Pittler MH, Guo R, Ernst E. Hawthorn extract for treating chronic heart failure. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008;(1):CD005312.
    9. Habs M. Prospective, comparative cohort studies and their contribution to the benefit assessments of therapeutic options: heart failure treatment with and without Hawthorn special extract WS 1442. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2004;11 Suppl 1(1):36-39.
    10. Chen ZY, Zhang ZS, Kwan KY, Zhu M, Ho WK, Huang Y. Endothelium-dependent relaxation induced by hawthorn extract in rat mesenteric artery. Life Sci. 1998;63(22):1983-1991.
    11. Walker AF, Marakis G, Morris AP, Robinson PA. Promising hypotensive effect of hawthorn extract: a randomized double-blind pilot study of mild, essential hypertension. Phytother Res. 2002;16(1):48-54.
    12. 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.
    13. Tadić VM, Dobrić S, Marković GM, Dordević SM, Arsić IA, Menković NR, Stević T. Anti-inflammatory, gastroprotective, free-radical-scavenging, and antimicrobial activities of hawthorn berries ethanol extract. J Agric Food Chem. 2008;56(17):7700-7709.

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