Submitted by Thiruvelan on Wed, 06/20/2012
Hawthorn May Help Lower Cholesterol

Hawthorn is in use for the treatment of heart disease as far back as the 1st century. It dilates blood vessels, relaxes, antioxidant and reduces angina symptoms.

What is Hawthorn? How does it reduce cholesterol?

What is Hawthorn (Crataegus species)? Hawthorn is a tree, bearing berry-like fruit, which has documents as food in China as early as the seventh millennium before Christ. Hawthorn is in use for the treatment of heart disease as far back as the 1st century. It was even since the 1800s, in use by American physicians for treating circulatory disorders and respiratory illnesses. Traditionally, it is in use to treat heart problems such as irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, chest pain, hardening of the arteries, and heart failure.

How does Hawthorn reduce your cholesterol level? Oligomeric procyanidins found in hawthorn can stimulate the release of endothelial nitric oxide synthase, an enzyme responsible for increasing nitric oxide levels, which is a vasorelaxant that acts to decrease platelet aggregation and adhesion, as well as inhibits LDL oxidation.

Hawthorn’s powder extract can inhibit acylCoA cholesterol acyltransferase activity in Caco-2 cells. This inhibitory activity has a positive association with triterpenic acid (i.e., oleanolic acid and ursolic acid) contents in the extracts.

How does Hawthorn reduce your heart diseases & strokes risk?

Hawthorn’s berries improve the heart circulation, acting upon the heart by either stimulating or depressing its activity depending upon the need. It results in dilation of the coronary blood supply and the tendency to slow down or stabilize the contractility of the heart muscle hence; it is safe to use as a long-term treatment for a weak heart and has a beneficial effect on cardiac arrhythmias.

9 Medicinal Uses of Hawthorn

Hawthorn improves blood circulation, remove LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream, normalize your blood pressure, strengthen the heart muscle, and prevent heart disease.

  1. Control cholesterol - Hawthorn berry tincture may remove LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream. It also reduces the production of cholesterol in the liver.
  2. Hawthorn improves blood circulation in the arms and legs by reducing arterial resistance. It may be due to inhibition of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE).
  3. Normalize blood pressure - It dilates the coronary arteries and can normalize your blood pressure.
  4. Better heart function – It strengthen the heart muscle. Increase the effectiveness of the heart pumping action and slow the heartbeat. It helps to heal from heart surgery.
  5. Prevent heart disease – It can reduce the risk towards a heart attack and stroke.
  6. Support immune function - it improves the immune system.
  7. Antioxidant - Hawthorn contains active compounds with antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that scavenge free radicals.
  8. Anxiety can treat with Hawthorn, in combination with magnesium and California poppy. It may be useful in treating mild to moderate anxiety disorders.
  9. Restful sleep - Hawthorn calms your nerves and induce sleep.

Recommended Hawthorn daily dosage

The dosage of 160 mg to 1800 mg divided and taken in two to three doses daily of hawthorn extract that contains 2.2 percent flavonoids may help to reduce your cholesterol levels. You have to take hawthorn for several weeks to achieve your target cholesterol level.

Hawthorn available in different forms

Hawthorn’s supplements are available in different forms; they are capsules, dried herb (for herbal tea), powder, tablet, and tincture.

How do you take Hawthorn?

Hawthorn’s tea needs one to two tsp. of hawthorn berries, sugar/honey to taste, and a cup of water. In a tea pan, bring water to boil, add hawthorn, reduce the heat and allow it to brew for three to four minutes, add sugar/honey to taste, strain it into a cup, and enjoy it.

Bioactive constituents of Hawthorn

Hawthorn contains the highest percentage of medicinal ingredients, such as flavonoids (quercetin, vitexin, and rutin), as well as oligomeric procyanidins.

Scientific evidence for Hawthorn as natural cholesterol herb

A study titled "Triterpenic Acids Present in Hawthorn Reduces Plasma Cholesterol by Inhibiting Intestinal ACAT Activity in Hamsters" published in Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, v.2011; 2011 >PMC3139965. This study investigated the effect of hawthorn on cholesterol metabolism in hamsters and human Caco-2 cells. The dichloromethane hawthorn extracts reduced plasma non-HDL-C by 8% without changing HDL-C. This finding is in further support by the fact that the hawthorn extracts also reduced hepatic-total-cholesterol and CE contents. Hepatic cholesterol esters are the storage form of cholesterol in the liver.

Possible side effects & medicine interaction of Hawthorn

Hawthorn is considering safe and well tolerating by most if taken as directed. Rare side effects may be mild symptoms of nausea, stomach upset, fatigue, sweating, headache, dizziness, palpitations, nosebleeds, insomnia, agitation, and other problems. Hawthorn is not appropriate for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Medication used for heart rate irregularities may interact with hawthorn; avoid using hawthorn along with these medications. This interaction may increase the risk for heart rate problems. Hawthorn can increase the activity of blood-pressure medication, and may severely reduce your blood pressure, causing dizziness and even loss of consciousness.

Hawthorn increases blood flow. Taking hawthorn with medications that also increase blood flow to the heart might increase the chance of dizziness and lightheadedness.