Hawthorn refers to large trees and shrubs originating from Rosaceae family. These shrubs are commonly found in North America, Europe and Asia.
Hawthorn has other several different names such as: May Tree, shan-cha, Whitethorn, Quick-set, May Blossom, English Hawthorn, Maybush, or May. From early 1800s, American doctors have been using Hawthorn to treat respiratory illness and circulatory disorders. Traditionally, its berries were used as treatment for various heart problems including hypertension, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, heart failure, and constriction of the arteries. In the modern world, hawthorn`s flowers and leaves are being used medicinally for curing different diseases.
Active ingredients contained in this shrub are broadly grouped into three major groups. These groups include: group 1 consists of proanthocyanidin (oligomeric procyanidins) i.e. procyanidin B-2, procyanidin B-5, procyanidin C-1, proanthocyanidin A-2; group 2 consists of flavonoids; and group 3 consists of catechins (epicatechin). Flavonoids include: hyperoside (Quercetin 3-O-galactoside) Quercetin, rutin (Quercetin 3-O-rutinoside), luteolin, monoacetyl-vitexinrhamnoside, vitexin, crataemon, monoacetylrhamnosylvitexin, and rhamnosylvitexin.
According to research, Hawthorn is considered as the best herbal remedy for boosting human and heart circulatory systems. A strong vasodilatory action is induced in the body by Hawthorn`s flowers, berries and leaves. On the other hand, consumption of these parts of hawthorn herb provides excellent blood pressure balance and treatment for hypertension, especially if the condition is resulting from arterial hardening. Problems especially those directly linked to poor circulation caused by aging arteries, poor circulation problems towards the lower legs and body or problems such as confusion and poor memory stimulated by poor circulation of blood, circulation to the brain, may be cured using hawthorn supplement.
Hawthorn can be used as a home remedy for opening up of the coronary arteries found inside the heart, therefore; improving the blow of blood to the heart, in addition to softening deposits within the arterial system. Hawthorn herbal remedies also affects vagus nerve which plays a major role in influencing the cardiac muscles, thereby slowing down heart irregularities as well as reducing fast or rapid heart rate.
Treating dysentery and diarrhea, stimulating digestive system relaxation, acting as an appetite booster, elimination of food stagnation of food within the intestinal tract and relieving abdominal distension. This herb also promotes optimal functioning of an individuals nervous system; thereby aiding in relieving of excessive anxiety and stress through lessening of restlessness, calming mental agitation and lessening restlessness. Additionally, hawthorn acts as an effective treatment for insomnia, a remedy for kidney stones, reduces menopausal symptoms, helps to ease excessive vaginal discharge and eases sore throat.
Preparation of Hawthorn takes place in different forms for example preparation of heart-friendly tincture involves crushing of approximately 60 g of hawthorn flowers, which is then mixed with 500g of alcohol. The mixture is them put in a well covered container and allowed to macerate for about one month. After this period, the liquid is strained to remove residues after which is considered for consumption. The recommended dosage is 1t (5m) plus some water twice per day for 20 consecutive days.
The majority nutritionally oriented doctors recommend use of leaves and flowers extracts to their patients. The standard dose used if in the form of tablet or capsules ranges between 80 and 300 mg, with dosage of 2 – 3 times in a day. When used in tincture form, the recommended dosage is 4 to 5 ml thrice per day while, the recommended dosage for the customary berry preparations includes consumption of at least 4 to 5 grams daily throughout the treatment period.
Apart from being associated with numerous medicinally benefits, ingredients in hawthorn are likely to cause certain minor side effects, therefore it is recommendable to be taken under close supervision of a qualified health care provider. These minor side effects include: nausea, heart racing (palpitations and headache. Alternatively, breastfeeding or pregnant women are exempted from using this herbal remedy as it may harm the fetus or get absorbed into the breast milk, thereby posing some dangers to the child.
Research also indicates that there exist possible interactions between Hawthorne and certain drugs including: Digoxin, Phenylephrine, Beta-blockers such as (procardia, cardizem and norvasc), calcium channel blockers, nitrates, and Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors. It is highly recommended that patients should not take these drugs while under Hawthorn herbal treatment without first consulting a qualified doctor.