Hawthorn Berries and Bark
  Crataegus Oxymnema
  AKA: English Hawthorn, Mayflower, May Bush, May blossom

Hawthorn is top herb for heart, moves oxygen to heart, increases enzymatic metabolism of heart muscles.  Hawthorn mildly dilates coronary blood vessels, reduces blood pressure and thereby stress on the heart.   Hawthorn comes from a small, spiny tree indigenous to the Mediterranean region.    A grove of Hawthorn trees, said to be sacred, grow outside of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives.   It is said that the crown of thorns that Christ wore was woven from these trees.    Hawthorn, sometimes spelled Hawthorn, is also known by the names Haw, May Blossom, May Day Flower, and White Thorn.   The genus name "Crataegus" comes from the Greek, "kratos", referring to the hardness of the wood.   In Celtic folklore, fairies are said to 'hang out' in Hawthorn groves.    Throughout history, both the Greeks and Romans associated Hawthorn with marriage & fertility. Hawthorn Berries have been used since the 19th century to support the heart, and to normalize cardiovascular functions.   And so Hawthorn has had its reputation both as a symbol of hope, and as a symbol of evil.   Today, Hawthorn Berries are one of the most popular herbs used in Europe, and gaining wider acceptance in the United States.

Here Is Where Hawthorn Gets Interesting:
Hawthorn is considered by many herbalists to be the top herb of all for the heart.  Hawthorn moves oxygen to the heart as it increases the enzymatic metabolism of the heart muscles.  Hawthorn mildly dilates coronary blood vessels and also vessels around the body reducing blood pressure and thereby stress on the heart.   Hawthorn improves cardiac weakness, angina pectoris, valve murmurs from valve defects, an enlarged heart, edema, blood pressure high or low, hardening of the arties, irregular heartbeat, heart weakness etc.   It is said to strengthen the walls of the arteries, and may also, strengthen the hearts pumping power.

A combination of several constituents seems to be directly responsible for the increase in heart muscle contraction force, by blocking whatever is reducing the contraction, for example, beta-blockers.   The flavones help control the intracellular Calcium ion concentration.    Hawthorn berries contain leucoanthocyanins, flavonoids, hyperoside, vitexin 2-rhamnoside, glycosylflavones, amines, catechols, phenolcarboxylic acids, triterpene acids, sterols, inositol, PABA, saponins and purines.   The main activity of Hawthorn is derived from the potent mixture of pigment bioflavonoids, as well as oligomeric procyanidins (dehydrocatechins) that seem to be particularly active.   Some of the flavonoid glycosides are thought to work in a similar way to digitoxin, having a vasodilating effect that could be helpful in the treatment of angina.   They also produce marked sedative effects which indicate an action on the central nervous system.  

It is the flavonoids in Hawthorn that act on the heart, having a dilating and strengthening effect on cardiac and circulatory problems. Hawthorn can help a damaged heart work more effectively.   Scientific research indicates that Hawthorn improves myocardial metabolism allowing the heart to function more effectively with less oxygen.   The Chinese understood these healing properties very well.   They would take a tough chicken and soak it in Hawthorn because of its ability to soften.  

Hawthorn also has astringent properties and may be helpful in treating seborrhea and acne.   The herb may also be beneficial in other skin inflammatory conditions.   The gentle action of this berry promotes the regulation of a good circulatory system, dilates the blood vessels and lowers resistance to blood flow.  

Hawthorn Berry is considered to be among the safest of all herbal supplements.   
Some rare side effects may include nausea, rapid heartbeat or headache.   There are some drug interactions possible with Hawthorn Berry, so people using the herb should consult a physician if they are taking any prescription medications.   For example, Hawthorn Berry may enhance the activity of the heart medication Digoxin.   It can also counteract the effects of products, such as nasal decongestants, that contain phenylephrine.   Phenylephrine constricts blood vessels, so the ability of Hawthorn berry to dilate blood vessels will decrease the effectiveness of medications that contain it.   The methanol or alcohol extract of hawthorn berries seems to be more effective.

Little Herb Encyclopedia, by Jack Ritchason; N.D., Woodland Publishing Incorporated, 1995
Nutritional Herbology, by Mark Pedersen, Wendell W. Whitman Company, 1998
Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania 1987
The Ultimate Healing System, Course Manual, Copyright 1985, Don Lepore
Planetary Herbology, Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., Lotus Press, 1988
Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, by James A. Duke, Pub. CRP Second Edition 2007





Important Note:
The information presented herein by The Natural Path Botanicals is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

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