Although hawthorn berries are pretty to look at, they actually serve a greater purpose beyond their addition to holiday decorations. These tiny fruits pack a punch with their tart and tangy taste as well as several benefits with its consumption.
From their anti-inflammatory properties to their ability to prevent hair loss, there are a plethora of reasons to add hawthorn berries to your daily diet. That being said, what are the uses, benefits, and side effects of the hawthorn berry?
What is the Hawthorn Berry?
The hawthorn berry belongs to the Crataegus genus, which includes hundreds of species commonly found in Europe, North America, and Asia. Hawthorn, commonly called quickthorn, thornapple, May-tree, whitethorn, or hawberry, is a plant that has leaves, berries, and flowers that can be used to make medicine.
Traditionally, the Native American, Chinese, and European cultures used Hawthorn leaves and berries for the emotional heart as well as the physical heart.
Hawthorn berries can be consumed in many ways, but no matter the method, consuming these berries can lead to several benefits, ranging from their anti-inflammatory properties to their ability to lower blood pressure.
What can hawthorn berry do for your body? Some of the most common benefits of these berries include:
Benefits when taken orally:
- Provides sun protection, as it contains polyphenol antioxidants and glucosinolates.
- Helps reduce the effects of ageing
- Stimulates the scalp, thereby boosting the amount of nourishment that reaches hair follicles.
- Reduces anxiety, due to its mild sedative effect.
- Used to treat heart failure
Benefits when applied topically:
- Helps prevent hair loss, due to its containment of polyphenol.
- Prevents premature aging of the skin
- Neutralizes free radicals
With all of these benefits that come with the use of the hawthorn berry, products containing this supplement make for a worthwhile purchase for those looking to improve both their skin, hair, and overall health.
Hawthorn berries are generally considered safe for human consumption and use. However, some people have complained of mild nausea or dizziness.
Due to its potent effect on the heart, hawthorn berries could potentially lead to adverse reactions when mixed with certain medications. If you’re currently taking drugs for your cholesterol, blood pressure, or your heart, be sure to speak with your doctor before using any hawthorn berry supplements.
If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, be sure to also consult a healthcare provider before incorporating hawthorn berries into your diet.
How to Use the Hawthorn Berry
The leaves, berries, and flowers of the hawthorn plant can be used to make medicine, allowing for a wide range of methods to use this fruit. There are many ways to add hawthorn to your diet, including:
- Eaten raw
- Incorporated into tea
- Eaten in jams and deserts
- Fermented into wine and vinegar
- Taken as a supplement
To prevent any negative reactions from topical application, it’s recommended you do a skin patch test with the product to see if any irritation occurs.
Different brands and forms of hawthorn supplements have varying dosage recommendations, but the general dosing recommendation is around 250–500 mg, taken three times daily. When taking hawthorn supplements, it’s important to follow the directions on any product labels.
The appropriate dose of hawthorn supplements depend on several factors such as your age, health, and several other conditions, which is why it’s a good idea to speak to a doctor to find the best dosage for you specifically before using.
All in all, it’s easy to reap the benefits of hawthorn berries, as there are many methods of their consumption. If you are thinking about using hawthorn berries topically or orally, you should consult with your doctor first. They will be able to provide more information on whether or not this supplement would be beneficial for you.
Further, when purchasing any hawthorn products, look to the packaging labels for more information. You may want to look out for the following.
- What, if any, government labels the package has to determine the level of regulation and testing the product underwent
- Other ingredients in the product that you could be sensitive to
Disclaimers: This article does not constitute professional medical advice, nor can it replace the advice of a licensed professional.