RESEARCH SUMMARY – Hawthorn (Crataegus Oxyacantha)
Hawthorn has been one of the most popular of all the botanical cardiovascular medicines for decades. Its current use for circulatory and cardiac problems comes from an Irish physician, who started using it successfully on his patients for such conditions towards the end of the 19th century.
Hawthorn is used to treat angina and coronary artery disease. It is also useful for mild congestive heart failure, irregular heartbeat, and for increasing coronary blood. Modern studies show hawthorn helps treat elevated cholesterol levels.
Today, hawthorn remains one of the more popularly used botanical medicines for heart conditions throughout Europe
Herbalists found that hawthorn restores blood pressure to normal; it lowers high blood pressure and raises low blood pressure.
The results of research suggest the primary activity of hawthorn is to increase coronary blood flow. This may be due to a relaxation of coronary arteries, which directly increases blood flow, allowing more time for blood passage through the heart's arteries. Hawthorn also slightly increases the strength of the contraction. Furthermore, it also affects intracellular calcium levels in the heart muscle, resulting in improved cardiac function and a lowering of spastic cardiac conditions.
In medical studies it has been established that when hawthorn is present the heart muscle can survive on less blood and oxygen. If a heart attack does occur, the heart survives longer.
It has also been established that if damage to the heart muscle does occur, it is much less in those who use hawthorn and more severe than in those who do not.
CONSTITUENTS OF HAWTHORN
Bioflavonoids complexes - anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins, as well as condensed polyphenolic tannins known as procyanidolic oligomers and other bio-active compounds.
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