Hawthorn leaf, flower & berry
Hawthorn belongs to the Rose family and is a small deciduous shrub with clusters of white aromatic flowers and brilliant small red fruits or berries that look very much like miniature apples. In traditional WHM the medicinal focus was based on the effect of the fresh berry alone, and more recently, the medicinal focus has shifted to include both the leaf and flower as they appear to contain higher concentrations of the herbs antioxidant active constituents known as flavonoids, including procyanidins. A combination of leaf, flower and berry support Hawthorn’s overall cardiovascular activity.
Hawthorn is traditionally used in WHM to:
- Support cardiovascular system health
- Support heart health
- Provide cardiotonic activity to strengthen the heart
- Help maintain healthy heart function
More recently, Hawthorn has been used to support:
- Cardiovascular system health
- Healthy blood circulation
- Blood vessel health
Blood vessel function
Blood vessels, including arteries, veins and capillaries, are important components of the circulatory system, responsible for transporting blood within the body. Arteries move the oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood to muscles and organs while veins carry the blood back to the heart and capillaries exchange water and chemicals between the blood and tissues. Arteries and veins help regulate blood flow by contracting the inner muscle layer via the autonomic nervous system.
Heart muscle function
The heart muscle beats or contracts at continuous and regular intervals to push blood in and out of the heart, throughout the rest of the body, and then back to the heart. Maintaining a regular heartbeat, or rhythm, ensures a continuous smooth flow of blood throughout the body.
Hawthorn’s antioxidant activity helps to reduce free radicals formed in the body. Free radicals are associated with a process known as oxidation which can lead to oxidative damage with detrimental effects on cells. Hawthorn leaves contain high levels of procyanidins, which help to stabilise collagen levels in the body (important for maintaining the elasticity and tone of the blood vessels) while the flowers contain high levels of flavonoids, which provide antioxidant support for the heart and blood vessels. See Hawthorn 4500.