Herbal Remedy of the Month Hawthorn Berries - July 2008
HERBAL REMEDY OF THE MONTH
It’s good to learn of the benefits of a species that actually grows here in Britain.
Hawthorn berries grow of course on the hawthorn tree which can be found all over Europe, especially in the Mediterranean region.
Throughout history, hawthorn has had a reputation both as a symbol of hope and also as a symbol of evil. At one time Christianity regarded the plant as sacred, due to the belief that it furnished Christ’s crown of thorns.
More recently, hawthorn has been recognised by a number of bodies for its beneficial effect on hypertension, circulatory conditions and congestive heart failure.
Hawthorn berries contain vitamins C and B complex, crataegin, carotene, flavonoids and a range of other active compounds. It is claimed to act as a vasodilator, increasing blood supply to the heart and improving circulation to the extremities by decreasing arterial resistance. Hawthorn is also said to have a positive inotropic and beta-blocking effect, along with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
In rodent studies, hawthorn was affective in reducing blood sugar in diabetic rats. One human study show hawthorn to be affective in lowering blood pressure in patients with diabetes.
While these studies are exciting, a lot more tests need to be carried out before the claims can be medically verified.
Hawthorn extracts are available in both capsule and liquid forms. The key constituents of the hawthorn berries are extracted using a combination of grain alcohol and distilled water. Extracts are rapidly assimilated by the body. Herbalists say hawthorn needs to be taken over a period of time before full benefits are felt.
It is worth reading the small print or checking with the herbalist before taking hawthorn; side effects can include a mild rash, headache, sweating and dizziness.
There is a full report on various benefits and limitations of hawthorn on http://www.raysahelian.com/hawthorn.html
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