The impressive health benefits of hawthorn include its ability to regulate blood pressure, reduce anxiety, protect your heart in a variety of ways, improve digestion, boost respiratory health, reduce the severity of chest pains, improve mood, treat intestinal infections, and positively affect the appearance and health of your skin.
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What is Hawthorn?
Hawthorn is the fruit of the similarly named hawthorn shrubs and trees. There are a variety of different types of hawthorns, which produce slightly different fruit, but the most common variety has the scientific name Crataegus rhipidophylla. The hawthorn fruit or berry is tart, red to pink in color, and rather small, the size of a crabapple, perhaps. As a species, hawthorn was only native to the northern hemisphere, primarily in temperate regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. Although the hawthorn fruit resembles berries to a certain degree, they contain a stone, much like drupes, such as peaches and plums.
Due to their sweet and tart flavor, hawthorns are popularly used in beverages and candies, especially in Asian cultures, while in Europe and North America, it is common to eat hawthorns raw, cook them, or preserve them in the form of jellies or jams. The strong flavor holds very well in preserved form. In terms of the health benefits of these fascinating berry fruits, they were traditionally used in India, China, and a number of other countries as digestive aids, and they have also been used as a cardiovascular health booster in other traditional medicine systems. As this delicious fruit continues to receive more attention, additional research is ongoing to determine what exactly is so valuable about this easily overlooked fruit!
The many health benefits that people can get from eating hawthorn are mainly derived from the unique mixture of vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds found in the berry. Some of the most valuable components of hawthorn include significant levels of B-vitamins, including folic acid, as well as Vitamin C, vitexin, rutin, catechins, saponins, and various anthocyanids that act as antioxidant compounds within the body.
Health Benefits of Hawthorn
The health benefits of Hawthorn include its ability to reduce chest pain, regulate blood pressure and boost the immune system, among others. Let’s have a look at the other benefits.
Reduces Chest Pains
The formal name for chest pains is angina, and while they are not always indicative of a heart attack, they can be extremely painful. If you suffer from angina, you should speak with a doctor, as it can often signal a cardiovascular issue. However, hawthorn can significantly lessen the pain of chest pains, as it has for thousands of years in traditional medicine.
Improves Heart Health
There is a very good reason why hawthorn is primarily praised in both traditional and modern medicine for its positive impact on the heart; it can reduce the chances of cardiovascular conditions by increasing your stamina, reducing shortness of breath, and boosting energy and eliminating fatigue. The extensive list of organic compounds, saponins, catechins, and other beneficial antioxidants in these small fruits make it a very potent weapon against dangerous free radicals affecting heart health.
Stabilizes Blood Pressure Levels
Hawthorn is one of those unique food items that do not necessarily raise or lower blood pressure; it actually stabilizes it. Whether your blood pressure is too high or too low, the compound mixture in hawthorn is able to establish a healthy blood pressure in your system, according to your body, making it valuable for hypotension and hypertension patients.
Boosts Immune System
In addition to the antioxidants eliminating dangerous toxins from the body, the vitamin C in hawthorn is also boosting the activity of your white blood cells to increase your overall health!
This is one of the most controversial uses of hawthorn, but in many traditional medicines, hawthorn was used for certain psychological conditions, including stress, anxiety, and even depression. Very often, hawthorn was offered to people who had recently had a broken heart, a loss of a family member, etc. because it was said to improve mood and “mend a broken heart”. Enzymatically, it turns out that hawthorn may have an impact on our hormonal levels, which would explain why so many cultures of the past believed in those health benefits!
Hawthorn is known to expand the coronary blood vessels, which allows for more blood to be circulated through the body, which can result in a higher level of energy or alertness. When all parts of your body are properly oxygenated, your cognitive skills improve, your energy levels rise, and your metabolism is able to work at optimal levels.
There are various organic compounds in hawthorn that interact with our gut flora to improve our nutrient digestion, while the fiber in hawthorn improves our digestive process as a whole and eliminates any issues, such as constipation, bloating, cramping, and more serious conditions like colon cancer or ulcers.
The antioxidant content in hawthorn makes it useful for applying topically to the skin, particularly on burns, sores, or acne. Some of the organic compounds are anti-inflammatory in nature and are good for reducing itching on healing wounds or from other skin conditions, like eczema or psoriasis.
Eliminates Intestinal Infections
Aside from boosting digestive health by improving nutrient uptake and eliminating constipation, hawthorn is also found to be good at eliminating any intestinal infections, such as tapeworms, that you may be suffering from.
A Word of Warning: There is no denying that hawthorn is a powerful little fruit, and some of the side effects are unique. Some people experience upset stomach, sweating, fatigue, nausea, agitation, or dizziness, and more serious side effects include shortness of breath, severe allergic reactions, heart irregularities, and mood swings. Speak with your doctor before adding hawthorn to your diet, and speak to them immediately if you experience any of these side effects.