Hawthorn berry herb is taken from the hawthorn bush. The hawthorn is a member of the rose family, and it also has the prickly thorns one would associate with the rose.
The berry itself grows in small bunches along the branch of the hawthorn, to about a centimeter in length. The color ranges from a yellow-brown to dark wine red depending on ripeness.
The herb is strong in bioflavonoid complexes, which support a number of systems of the body. A number of clinical trials have been carried out which support the benefits of hawthorn herb as a medicinal supplement.
It has been used for thousands of years as a health supplement, popular with ancient Greeks and Romans. There are also many legends and folklore surrounding the hawthorn, notably the most famous hawthorn associated with Britain, the Holy Thorn of Glastonbury at Glastonbury Tor and the final resting place of King Arthur.
There are many forms of hawthorn berry herb available on the market, including its consumption as a delicious tea, either ready made from health food shops or made using the fresh plant. Hawthorn supplements are also available in capsule or tablet form, as dried berries, or as hawthorn tincture or extract.
The health benefits of hawthorn are numerous. It is popular for treating high blood pressure and weak hearts, normally as a mild tonic. If used to treat heart problems, then the effect is not immediate and can take up to 6 weeks to show any signs of improvement of these conditions.
The hawthorn herb is also a diuretic and can aid digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome and also ease some symptoms of Crohn’s disease when used regularly.
A hawthorn tincture combined with camphor can help to ease the symptoms of orthostatic hypertension, which is sudden a lowering of blood pressure when going from a seating to standing position. Although hawthorn does not cure it, it can help to reduce the symptoms enough to stop the fainting usually associated with this condition.
The hawthorn berry herb is also thought to strengthen artery walls and increase the pumping power of the heart and so helping such ailments as hypertension, angina and irregular heart beat.
The hawthorn berry herb made as a strong tea can also help with skin disorders such as acne and dermatitis and is even thought to have some anti-aging properties, as it helps to increase blood flow to the skin.
Although considered one of the safest herbal medicines, there are a few known side effects with using hawthorn supplements, but reports are very rare. These side effects include nausea and diarrhea, excessive sweating, or fatigue. At the first sign of these symptoms, usage of the herb must be stopped and medical advice sought.
Although it is used to help with heart conditions, persons taking medications for these conditions should always seek medical advice before starting hawthorn berry. Persons susceptible to plant allergies (such as hay fever) must also consult a practitioner prior to use.