Latin name: Fructus crataegi
Chinese name: shan zha
What is a Hawthorn Berry?
The hawthorn is a small tree or shrub in the rose family that was hung over the doorway in the Middle Ages to prevent the entry of evil spirits. Hawthorn berry is a small, oval-shaped dark red fruit that has been used by American doctors since the 1800s to treat circulatory and respiratory illnesses.
What are the health benefits of Hawthorn Berries?
Hawthorn berry is considered a tonic for the heart and is traditionally prescribed to treat irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, chest pain, hardening of the arteries and heart failure. In addition, hawthorn berry is used to improve digestion of fats and meats and contains vitamin C and antioxidants.
Two substances found in hawthorn berries—flavonoids and oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs)—are believed to contribute to hawthorn’s beneficial effects on the heart. Flavonoids may help dilate blood vessels, improve blood flow, and protect the blood vessels from damage. Additionally, both flavonoids and OPCs have antioxidant effects. Today, many healthcare professionals use hawthorn to help protect against heart disease and to help control high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
What are the guidelines for taking Hawthorn Berries?
Hawthorn is available as a dried fruit, in powder, capsules, and liquid extracts, along with tinctures and solid extracts. A tea can also be made from dried hawthorn leaves, flowers, and berries.
How do I prepare Hawthorn Berry to get the health benefits?
To make tea with hawthorn berries, combine 1 cup of dried berries with 5 cups of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Drink 1 cup daily. It can be enjoyed warm or cool. If you drink too much of the tea daily you might experience acid reflux. If so, cut back on your daily intake of the tea.
Are there any precautions for taking Hawthorn Berry?
If you are taking prescription or non-prescription medicines, talk to your healthcare provider before taking herbal supplements. If you are currently being treated with Digoxin or Phenylephrine, you should not use hawthorn without first talking to your healthcare provider. Please do not self-treat heart conditions without telling your doctor. Hawthorn should be used according to individual needs.
Where can I find Hawthorn Berry?
Hawthorn berry can be found in health food stores, online, and at the offices of Chinese medical practitioners.
You can find this herb combined with other herbs in the Traditions of Tao formulas:
Indigestion, which supports healthy digestion, also helping alleviate bad breath and belching.
Internal Cleanse, which helps the liver cleanse the body of toxins, balances the nervous system, and relaxes the mind.
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