Hawthorn berries are one of the most popular herbs for treating cases of high blood pressure. In fact, the properties of the berry are considered to be a tonic for the cardiovascular system and help to promote proper blood circulation. Thanks to these benefits, this herb is often classed as a blood pressure regulator. That means along with helping to lower high levels of blood pressure, hawthorn berries can also help people with low blood pressure.
What is Hawthorn?
The proper name for hawthorn berries is Crategnus Oxycantha. The plant is usually considered to be part of the rose family, and is sometimes used as a shrub. Blossoms of red, white, or pink tend to bloom during certain times of the year. These qualities alone often make it sought after as a shrub that remains green during cooler weather and then adds color to the yard during the warmer months.
While the blooms are sometimes harvested for use in herbal formulas, it is the berry of the hawthorn plant is most commonly used for treating health issues, including blood pressure. The tiny red berries tend to appear right before the blooming and continue throughout the growing season. Hawthorn plants tend to do best in temperate climates, but can also be cultivated in green houses.
What’s in Hawthorn Berries?
The nutritional content of hawthorn berries is responsible for its benefits to blood pressure regulation and a strong cardiovascular and nervous system. A dose will be high in vitamin C and selenium, both of which are know to help fight inflammation and help clear the bloodstream. Moderate amounts of calcium and potassium are also present. These nutrients help to calm the nerves, something that is very important to the process of maintaining a reasonable level of pressure in the bloodstream. The smaller amounts of vitamin A, magnesium and phosphorus also help to minimize the potential for hardening of the arteries, which in turn makes it easier for the blood pressure to remain within normal limits.
Trace amounts of other nutrients are also found in the berries. All of these help to support health for the body and mind, and can aid in helping to clear the system of excessive amounts of cholesterol. These trace nutrients include zinc, silicon, iron, manganese, and some of the B vitamins.
Is There a Specific Reaction that Has to Do With Blood Pressure?
While much of the impact of hawthorn berries on the blood pressure has to do with overall cardiovascular health, there is one reaction that has a direct impact on high levels. This has to do with the relaxing of the blood vessels that are further away from the heart. Along with helping to improve heart function, relaxing those remote vessels means that it is easier for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. That in turn means there is less need for pressure to accomplish proper circulation.
How Long Does it Take to See Results?
Like most herbs, hawthorn does take some time to get into the system. How quickly that takes place depends on the individual. Some people are likely to notice a difference in a matter of days. Others may require more than a month before there is any measurable difference in blood pressure levels. During this time, careful monitoring and attention to the diet is very important.
Are There Chances of Side Effects?
Many people can take hawthorn without experiencing any side effects at all. Even those who do have some sort of adverse reaction find that it is mild and only lasts for a short time. Some examples include and upset stomach, insomnia, sweating, and possibly some fatigue. Many herbalists recommend using hawthorn for no more than four months, then taking a short break before resuming use.
In terms of interactions with medications, it is important to note that hawthorn can interfere with the function of any medications that are intended to increase the heart rate or increase the rate of blood flow through the body. The blood pressure lowering properties of the herb can also increase the effects of blood pressure medication, sometimes to levels that are dangerous. For men who are taking any type of medication for erectile dysfunction, it is important to note that since those drugs also sometimes work by lowering blood pressure, combining them with the use of hawthorn may cause a drop that leads to fainting or other serious problems.
If you currently take any type of prescription blood pressure medication, talk with your doctor before ceasing use. Discuss the use of hawthorn as a natural way to regulate your blood pressure. Once you begin the regimen, monitor the results regularly and let your doctor know how the herb is working for you. With a little luck, you’ll find that hawthorn controls your blood pressure and also improves your health in general.