Hawthorne Berries are gathered
from the small tree Crataegus laevigata of the family Rosaceae. Also known
as Mayblossom and Whitehorn, Hawthorne was known to Dioscorides in the
first century A.D., but was not widely used until recent times. The edible
berries are often made into marmalade, and herbal preparations made from
the flowers, fruits, and leaves are very prominent in contemporary European
medicine. Currently about three dozen different preparations containing
extracts of Hawthorne are marketed in Germany.
described in most modern herbals as a valuable treatment for various heart
ailments and circulatory disorders, as well acting as a mild astringent
to be used for treating sore throats. Hawthorne is most often used to protect
against the beginning stages of heart disease, for mild heart muscle weakness,
for pressure and tightness of the chest, and for mild arrhythmia. It is
also used as a tonic for an aging heart.
extracts improve myocardial and coronary circulation, raising the myocardial
tolerance for oxygen deficiency. Hawthorne is also used for hypertension,
nervous disorders and insomnia. It may potentate the action of digitalis,
and does potentate cardiotonic glycosides.
not be used as a substitute for medical care when an "organic cause" for
one of the conditions listed is present, so cause should be diagnosed prior
have revealed some interesting properties of Hawthorne and confirmed that
Hawthorne contains compounds which support the heart and circulatory system.
Hawthorn works to dilate the blood vessels, especially the coronary vessels,
reducing peripheral resistance and thus lowering blood pressure and reducing
the tendency to angina attacks. Though Hawthorne's action is not immediate,
but develops very slowly, apparently it has a direct effect on the heart
itself, especially in cases of heart damage. Its toxicity is low as well,
becoming evident only in large doses. It's therefore a relatively harmless
heart tonic which apparently yields good results in many conditions where
this kind of therapy is required.
leucoanthocyanins, flavonoids, hyperoside, vitexin 2-rhamnoside, glycosylflavones,
amines, catechols, phenolcarboxylic acids, triterpene acids, sterols, inositol,
PABA, saponins and purines. The main activity of Hawthorne 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
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. Hawthorne berries also contain
inositol, PABA, purines, saponins, and B vitamins.
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