If you’re looking for the best hawthorn supplements to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Hawthorn Supplements Guide.
Top 10 Hawthorn Supplements
|#1||Swanson Premium Hawthorn Berries||More Info|
|#2||Nature’s Way Hawthorn Berries||More Info|
|#3||Gaia Herbs Hawthorn Supreme Liquid Phyto-Capsules||More Info|
|#4||Oregon’s Wild Harvest Hawthorn||More Info|
|#5||Jarrow Formulas Hawthorn||More Info|
|#6||Now Foods Hawthorn Extract||More Info|
|#7||Herbal Secrets 100% Pure Hawthorn Berries||More Info|
|#8||Puritan’s Pride Hawthorn Berries||More Info|
|#9||Solaray Hawthorn Special Formula||More Info|
|#10||Nutrigold Hawthorn Gold||More Info|
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna and Crataegus laevigata are two of the species) is a shrub native to North America, Europe, and China. Belonging to the rose family, it bears flowers and edible fruit (berries). Canned hawthorn fruits, sometimes referred to as haws, are found in drinks, candy, and jams. The ripe fruits are usually red but may also be black.
About 300 different species of hawthorn shrubs are found throughout the world. The shrub can grow in nearly any temperate region. Some of the common names of hawthorn species include English hawthorn, Chinese hawthorn, hedgethorn, maybush, maythorn, shen zha, and whitethorn. The fruit is the main part used in TCM.
What is a Hawthorn Supplement?
Hawthorn has been used as an ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and in various Native American herbal medicine traditions. The flowers, leaves, and fruit of the shrub can all be used as ingredients in supplements. Historical uses of hawthorn supplements have included its use for heart disease, kidney problems, bladder problems, digestive problems, respiratory complaints, sleep disorders, and anxiety. It was also used to improve blood circulation and stimulate the appetite.
In modern times, hawthorn supplements have been used as complementary medicine in the treatment of conditions that include:
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- Heart failure
- High blood pressure
- High LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
- Irregular heartbeat
- Post-stroke syndrome
- Water retention
Benefits of Hawthorn Supplements
Hawthorn supplements are used to decrease the symptoms of heart failure, a condition that can be caused by high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. In this condition, the heart fails to pump blood throughout the body efficiently. Patients with heart failure experience shortness of breath and fatigue, and some studies have shown that hawthorn supplements help lessen the severity of these symptoms, although research is still ongoing. Evidence also suggests it may be easier to exercise with congestive heart failure while taking hawthorn supplements. It should be noted that the patients who used hawthorn supplements to reduce the symptoms of heart failure used it as a complement to conventional medical treatments.
Angina, or chest pain caused by insufficient blood flow in the area of the heart and its surrounding blood vessels, has also been shown to be effected by taking hawthorn herbal supplements. One group of patients who took 180 mg of hawthorn per day reported improved blood flow and decreased symptoms of angina compared to those who took a placebo. However, further research is needed to confirm the finding of this study.
Hawthorn is also one of a class of herbs and dietary supplements, including dandelion, parsley, ginger, and juniper, that some evidence shows works as a diuretic. Diuretics decrease water retention in the body by causing increased urination. Because water retention can be caused by a number of different conditions, including serious kidney diseases, individuals who are experiencing this symptom should consult with a health care provider to determine the reason for water retention and its best possible treatment before self-medicating with hawthorn supplements.
Some evidence shows that hawthorn supplements may be effective in lowering total cholesterol, LDL or “bad” cholesterol, and triglycerides in the blood. Studies have also shown that hawthorn supplements lower the amount of fats stored by the liver and in the aorta, the body’s largest blood vessel which is located near the heart.
For those who have type 2 diabetes, at least one study has suggested that hawthorn supplements may be effective in helping to regulate high blood pressure. A group of patients with type 2 diabetes who took 1,600 mg of hawthorn over a 16-week trial period had lower blood pressure than similar patients who took a placebo. Again, further studies are needed to confirm this effect.
Hawthorn supplements are also known to contain antioxidants, specifically anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins. Antioxidants are important in the human diet because they help protect cells from free radicals, substances that can cause mutations in the body that sometimes turn into cancers. Free radicals also play a role in heart disease and other diseases. Antioxidants are present to some extent in the fruit, but in greater quantities in the leaves and flowers. For this reason, many supplements include extracts from the berries, leaves, and flowers in combination.
Less is known about the use of hawthorn supplements for other uses. For the other uses, evidence is still anecdotal and has not been studied rigorously using the scientific method.
Are There any Side Effects?
The risk of serious side effects from using hawthorn supplements is considered low, and the plant is considered clinically non-toxic. However, a number of side effects have been reported with hawthorn supplement use. The most commonly reported side effect is dizziness. Other side effects can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Digestive problems
- Heart palpitations (“racing” heart)
- Increased heart rate
- Increased sweating
- Skin outbreaks
Hawthorn supplements can affect the way certain medications, including blood pressure medications, medicines that dilate the blood vessels (including nitrates, medicines for erectile dysfunction, and allergy medicines that contain phenylephrine), medicines that regulate how the heart muscles contract (including digoxin, beta blockers, and calcium channel blockers), and cholesterol-lowering medications.
People who are pregnant or breast feeding should not use hawthorn supplements, since not enough research has been done to demonstrate that this is safe. Not enough is known about the effects of hawthorn supplements on children, so caregivers of children should talk to a health care provider before giving a child hawthorn supplements.
How to Take Hawthorn Supplements
Hawthorn supplements come in capsule, liquid, tea, and tablet form. The herbal tea, which contains the berries and flowers as well as the leaves, is said to have a mildly bitter flavor. Because hawthorn supplements are known to have interactions with a number of different medications, it’s important that individuals who plan to use hawthorn supplements consult with a health care provider before taking this supplement.
Lotions containing hawthorn can be applied topically to the skin. This is used as a treatment for skin boils, frostbite, itching, sores, and ulcers. However, data is not available on whether hawthorn supplements used topically on the skin are effective for these conditions.
What to Look for in a Good Hawthorn Supplements
Supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and no optimal doses have been established. Some of the scientific studies that looked at the effects of hawthorn supplements used dosages of between 500 and 1,500 mg per day. Dosages of up to 1,800 mg per day are considered safe. One may have to take hawthorn supplements for 6-12 weeks before noticing any effect.
To help make sure one gets enough of the antioxidants in the hawthorn supplement to have a benefit, one can look for supplements that contain at least 2% flavenoids and/or 18-20% oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs, the same antioxidants that are found in grapes). The specific oligomeric procyanidins found in hawthorn supplements are called catechin and epicatechin polymers.
Those who are watching their intake of sugar may want to look for supplements that do not contain added sugars. Drinks, candies, and other processed foods containing hawthorn extracts may be high in sugar, excessive sodium, and other ingredients that may counteract some of the health benefits of the plant.
Since the use of hawthorn supplements is well-established in TCM, individuals interested in using hawthorn might choose to consult a TCM practitioner. In the United States, the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) is the body that accredits TCM doctoral programs. Those who wish to be assured that their TCM provider completed an accredited program can ask whether the provider attended an NCCAOM-accredited college or university.