When you think of supplements for your heart, what comes to mind? CoQ10? Essential fatty acids? While those both apply, a particular herbal supplement has gained recognition for its role in heart health -- hawthorn. But there's more this amazing plant does.
The hawthorn plant (Crataegus laevigata) is the shrub of a tree that belongs in the rose family and is native to northern Europe. Traditionally, the flowers, berries and leaves of the hawthorn plant have been used to create various medicinal products. Today, you can find hawthorn products most commonly in capsule or tablet form, but also as liquid extracts and tinctures (liquid extract with alcohol).
If you're interested in adding this herbal supplement to your daily routine but want to know more, here are 10 reasons to give hawthorn a try:
1. Heart Support -- First and foremost, hawthorn is taken as a supplement for proper heart function. It's been used to correct conditions including congestive heart failure, irregular heartbeat and chest pain (angina) by increasing the amount of blood pumped into and out of the heart.
2. Circulation Booster -- Hawthorn supports the health of the heart by widening the blood vessels for ideal circulation. This allows for greater blood flow throughout the entire body, which impacts the conditions mentioned above as well as blood pressure, which we'll get to in a minute.
3. Free Radical Fighter -- The antioxidants within hawthorn are known to fight off free radicals that can damage the body's cells and tissues, causing aging, injury and illness. The main antioxidant compound is vitexin. We encounter free radicals in pollution as well as in toxins found in our food, water and health and beauty products.
4. Blood Pressure Regulator -- Early research suggested the compound proanthocyanidin, found within hawthorn, causes the blood vessels to relax at a greater distance from the heart, positively impacting blood pressure levels to reduce the risk of stroke.
5. Cholesterol Fighter -- Taking hawthorn may lower the amount of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, found within the blood as well as triglycerides by encouraging the body to remove them through bile. Hawthorn may keep too much fat from accumulating within the liver and aorta, as well. Keeping cholesterol in check reduces the for risk for heart attack and heart disease.
6. Digestive Aide -- Hawthorn can help with digestive issues such as abdominal pain and diarrhea. It's also a remedy for intestinal infections like tapeworm, promoting healing and combating the infection.
7. Skin Condition Remedy -- Due to its infection-fighting properties and antioxidants, hawthorn can be used to treat skin conditions like boils, ulcers or sores on the body's tissues to help heal and repair the damaged areas.
8. Stress Reliever -- This herbal supplement has a mild sedative effect, that can help reduce anxiety to calm and relax you. Reducing stress has numerous health benefits and allows you to get the sleep you need.
9. Women's Health Supporter -- Women who are going through the physical change of menopause can find relief from hot flashes with hawthorn to help them sleep better and remain comfortable throughout the day.
10. Natural Diuretic -- Hawthorn may help the body rid itself of excess water through urination. Diuretics encourage urination to remove water that can accumulate and lead to bloating or water weight gain.
Research continues on the effectiveness of hawthorn in relation to these medical issues. As always, consult with your physician before adding a hawthorn supplement, especially if you're pregnant, nursing or being treated for any of the conditions mentioned above. Supplements can interfere with the effects of certain medications, so be sure to speak with your doctor about everything you're taking and follow dosage instructions carefully. Hawthorn should be used for short periods of time.
Shop for a variety of quality hawthorn supplements at eVitamins and we'll be back next week with another great product!