There’s mounting evidence that the flowers from the Hawthorn plant can relieve the symptoms of heart failure. Is it a good alternative therapy for this condition?
Hawthorn is a plant that comes from the mighty Hawthorn shrub whose medicinal use dates back to the first century B.C. It’s been used in Europe for many years as an herbal remedy for heart problems, high blood pressures, and diarrhea – and there’s growing evidence that the flowers plucked from this hearty, medicinal shrub can treat the symptoms of heart failure naturally.
Hawthorn for Heart Health Failure: Can It Relieve the Symptoms?
Two large analyses of previous studies looking at Hawthorn’s effects on the heart showed it to be effective when used in combination with standard prescription treatment for chronic heart failure. In these studies, adding Hawthorn to conventional therapy for chronic heart failure decreased the shortness of breath and fatigue that people suffering from chronic congestive heart failure often experience.
What Parts of the Plant Are Used?
The parts of the Hawthorn plant have the most benefits for people with congestive heart failure are the flowers which are pulled from the plant before they fully blossom. The flowers, leaves, and berries are rich in flavonoids and procyanidins – natural compounds that are believed to be responsible for hawthorn’s heart healthy benefits.
Hawthorn for Heart Failure: How Does It Work?
When the heart becomes damaged, free radicals form. The flavonoids and procyanidins found in the Hawthorn plant help to block this free radical formation and reduce damage to the heart muscle – while increasing blood flow to the heart. Hawthorn flavonoids also keep platelets from sticking together and decrease blood pressure which takes some of the load off of the failing heart. Hawthorn is effective for reducing the symptoms of chronic congestive heart therapy when used with conventional therapy, but there’s no evidence that it reduces the overall mortality in people with heart failure.
Does Hawthorn Have Side Effects?
Hawthorn for heart failure is usually well tolerated. The most common side effect is dizziness – although some people experience nervousness, rapid heart beat, fatigue, and insomnia. Hawthorn can interact with some prescription medications and herbs, so it’s important to only use it only under the care of a doctor.
The Bottom Line?
Hawthorn shows potential for relieving the symptoms of chronic congestive heart failure naturally when used with conventional treatment for congestive heart failure. It’s most effective for reducing the shortness of breath and fatigue that plaques most heart failure patients. It’s also well tolerated, but shouldn’t be used by children or pregnant women. Because of the potential for drug interactions, it should be used under the watchful eye of a doctor.