I come from a family with a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Although, my ticker appears to be in working order, I would like to keep it that way. I try my best to eat sensibly, exercise and reduce stress. Nevertheless, as I approach 50, I am looking for herbs that will support and strengthen my heart for the long haul. The truth is – the heart never gets a vacation, so it needs some extra help to keep it strong. The more I learn about Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), the more I think it could easily be called the SUPERSTAR of heart herbs.
Although Hawthorn is slow acting, if used over time (at least 4-6 weeks) it will nourish your heart and profoundly heal it on numerous levels by normalizing blood pressure, strengthen the heart muscle, dilating blood vessels, improving circulation, reducing the occurrence and duration of angina, lower cholesterol, as well as improving contractions of the heart muscles. It reduces orthostatic hypotension – dizziness or “head rushes” which is a sudden loss of blood pressure caused by moving from a seated position to a standing position. It is legendary for its ability to strengthen the heart and blood vessels while restoring healthy muscular tone to the heart wall.
I am sure you must be thinking, “This is great but how can Hawthorn be so powerful?” Well, Hawthorn is loaded with a wide range of powerful anti-oxidant nutrients and flavonoids. Anti-oxidants neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress and tissue damage in the body, protecting the heart against the harmful effects of reduced oxygen, which is a common result of vascular disease, such as atherosclerosis. Flavonoids help dilate blood vessels, improve blood flow, and protect the blood vessels from damage. Hawthorn is high in magnesium and calcium, which goes directly to the heart muscles to enhance its ability to contract and increase available oxygen. Hawthorn’s ability to strengthen a weak, old heart into a long healthy future is amazing.
The more I learn about Hawthorn, the more I believe it is the herb for Mike and myself or anyone over 45, for that matter. Luckily, it grows in our area and a friend invited me to pick Hawthorn berries from her land. We went out on a beautiful fall day to hike her land in search of Hawthorn berries and were not disappointed. She had many old Hawthorn trees and although most of the berries were above my reach, I was able to find enough to tincture a batch. I decided to combine the fresh berries with alcohol and put them into the blender for 30 seconds in order to break them down a bit. I simply love the beautiful deep orange color of the tincture. I collected even more berries to dry. In the spring, I plan to collect some blossoms and leaves to combine with the berries to make another tincture. Even though many hawthorn tinctures are made from strictly the berries, I believe making tinctures from the whole plant will provide greater benefit, After all, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” I can’t wait to start using it.
Although, Hawthorn is considered safe to take with any other medicine, including heart medicines, it is important to discuss it with your physician first and continue to be monitored. Hawthorn can increase the effects of digitalis-based drugs such as digoxin. In addition, since Hawthorn is so powerful, over time you may need to reduce your medication, since you will no longer need such high dosages. It is that good.
All information is shared for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.