Hawthorn has long been used in folk medicine as an effective remedy for the prevention, management and treatment of a diverse range of cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure, arrhythmia and heart failure. While its mechanism of action is still evading research, studies are consistently showing it is one of the best and most effective herbs for congestive heart failure management, often used in conjunction with traditional therapies and medication with measurable clinical results. But just how good is hawthorn for congestive heart failure? Read on to discover the wonderful benefits of hawthorn for CHF.
What is heart failure?
Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure or CHF, is a medical condition primarily affecting the heart. In simple terms, heart failure is when the heart fails to pump blood adequately. This impacts multiple systems and organs, from the heart and cardiovascular system to the lungs and respiratory system, muscles and muscular system, even kidneys. Classic symptoms of heart failure include a constant feeling of tiredness, breathlessness which is worse when exercising or lying down, swollen ankles and feet and swollen legs, swollen arms, abdomen and puffy face due to fluid retention, pulmonary edema causing breathing difficulties.
Hawthorn for heart failure: benefits
Hawthorn has been shown to effectively improve blood flow in heart failure and further contributes to the management of the condition via cardiotonic, anti-hypertensive, diuretic, anti-arrhythmic, anti-inflammatory and free radical scavenging effects.
One of the benefits of hawthorn for heart failure is its cardiotonic action. Hawthorn essentially works as a tonic for the heart. According to research, preparations such as hawthorn extract and hawthorn tea have positive inotropic effects, mobilizing calcium in vascular endothelial cells by increasing calcium concentrations in the vascular cells and activating the release of intracellular calcium, increasing the strength of heart muscle contractions (source). Strengthening the force of heart muscle contractions allows the heart to better pump blood, improving coronary blood flow and symptoms of heart failure.
Benefits for blood flow
Reduced blood flow in heart failure impacts the entire body. Symptoms such as shortness of breath, breathing difficulties when exercising, sleeping or lying down, very low exercise tolerance or very low tolerance to physical effort lower quality of life significantly.
Bioactive components in hawthorn preparations such as hawthorn tea, hawthorn supplements or extract such as anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, procyanidins and other flavonoids, organic acids and other polyphenols have been found to induce vasodilating, inducing anti-hypertensive effects and improving blood flow and circulation in heart failure. Also see the benefits of hawthorn tea.
Chronic hypertension is one of the many causes of congestive heart failure. Biologically active phytochemicals in hawthorn preparations such as anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, procyanidins and other flavonoids, organic acids and other polyphenols induce relaxation in blood vessels and promote vasodilation, actively lowering blood pressure numbers. Good amounts of potassium in hawthorn berries and diuretic components in all plant parts and various plant preparations further contribute to anti-hypertensive benefits. See more benefits of hawthorn for high blood pressure.
If you have high blood pressure associated with CHF or independent of it, you can also consider citrulline supplements to help lower your blood pressure numbers and improve blood flow. Magnesium supplements also support the activity of the heart muscle, strengthening the cardiac muscle, with benefits for high blood pressure, arrhythmia and exercise intolerance, symptoms of heart failure. Find out which magnesium form to choose.
The good potassium content in hawthorn berries and polyphenolic diuretic components in the different plant parts help reduce swelling and exert an anti-hypertensive action, contributing to significant and quantifiable benefits for mild and moderate congestive heart failure.
Bioactive diuretic components from the different parts of the hawthorn plant essentially help combat water retention and flush out excess sodium, regulating body fluids and electrolyte levels in the blood with immediate benefits for high blood pressure, one of the main causes for congestive heart failure.
Arrhythmia is one of the reversible causes of heart failure. Active constituents in hawthorn berries and various plant part preparations have been shown to alter heart rate and heart rhythm (both induce rhythmicity and exert anti-arrhythmic effects) contributing to benefits for palpitations, extrasystoles, tachycardia and other forms of arrhythmia.
Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties
Heart failure ultimately causes irreparable damage to the heart. Introducing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant foods and natural solutions into your diet can potentially help mitigate heart damage and contribute with benefits to your condition and other aspects of your health. Hawthorn berries and hawthorn berry supplements are rich in vitamin C which is a known anti-inflammatory and antioxidant natural agent, proven to reduce inflammation markers in the body and reduce risks of damage associated with inflammation.
Red hawthorn berries are also sources of antioxidants called proanthocyanidins, while black hawthorn berries contain anthocyanins with scientifically proven anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Other plant parts such as flowers, leaves and even twigs further contain bioactive polyphenols with an anti-inflammatory action.
Which plant part of hawthorn is good for heart failure?
All hawthorn plant parts have therapeutic properties and the berries, leaves, flowers and even twigs can be used for the management of heart failure, high blood pressure and for better overall cardiovascular health. Therapeutic action may differ between different products, with some preparations being more effective than others. At the same time, it is possible for some hawthorn preparations to be too effective.
Some people will experience adverse reactions after taking hawthorn, including hypotension (low blood pressure), altered heart rate, palpitations and other cardiovascular side effects, as well as increased risk of bleeding, allergic reactions and medicine interactions. Know that hawthorn interacts with medication used to treat heart failure, high blood pressure and more, either potentiating their effects or reducing them.
How much hawthorn for heart failure?
There isn’t a universal dosage of hawthorn for heart failure management. Different people will benefit from different intakes of the plant which can only be established by their doctor according to how advanced or severe their condition is, or how well managed, whether or not they are on a treatment plan, the type of medications prescribed and individual responses to hawthorn preparations.
This post was updated on Saturday / December 19th, 2020 at 5:51 AM