Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) has been used throughout the centuries by various cultures, and more recently, as a well-established heart tonic that helps to support and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
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. Traditionally, the medicinal focus was based on the effect of the fresh berry alone, and more recently, the medicinal focus has shifted to include the leaves and flowers as they appear to contain higher concentrations of the active compounds. A combination of the leaf, flower and berry provide Hawthorn’s overall heart tonic activity.
Hawthorn is considered the classic tonic remedy for the heart and may help to maintain:
- Healthy cardiovascular function
- Blood vessel function in healthy individuals
- Normal heart muscle function in healthy individuals
- Antioxidant activity, providing a protective effect on the heart and blood vessels
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, veins carry the blood back to the heart and capillaries exchange water and chemicals between the blood and tissues.
Arteries and veins make up the majority of blood vessels which also help to regulate blood flow by contracting the inner muscle layer of the arteries and veins 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, through the rest of the body and then back to the heart. Maintaining a regular heartbeat, or rhythm, ensures a continuous flow of blood throughout the body.
Hawthorn contains antioxidant compounds including oligomeric procyanidins (OPC’s) and flavonoids. Antioxidants work together to strengthen the body’s antioxidant network and help protect against free radical damage.
The leaves contain high levels of OPC’s which help to stabilise collagen levels in the body, important in maintaining the elasticity and tone of the blood vessels, whereas the flowers contain the highest level of flavonoids, providing a protective effect on the heart and blood vessels.
Hawthorn can be used long term for a sustained effect and provides the classic herbal heart tonic while providing powerful antioxidant activity to support and help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. See more here: Herbs of Gold Hawthorn 4500.