Welcome to My Herbal Backyard!
My name is Ann Berryman and I am a registered nurse and an integral part of the Wellness U Team as a practice administrator and nutritional herbalist at Upper Cervical Wellness Center. I am excited about the opportunity to share some of my favorite herbal remedies through our online “My Herbal Backyard” a series of all-natural solutions for healing, cleansing and much more.
The herb that has been forefront in heart health for many years is Hawthorn berries, or Crataegus laevigata. True to its name, this bush has thorns, but also produces a red berry.1(p266) The use of Hawthorn berry syrup for heart problems originates from England, but was used by herbalists in America in the late 1900’s .1(p266)
Hawthorn berries are good for raising or lowering the blood pressure, strengthening the heartbeat, dilating blood vessels, a general cardiac tonic, decreasing edema, and in cases of heart attacks.1(p268-269) These berries are packed full of phytochemicals that help keep the heart functioning well. One of the phytochemicals is flavonoids, which causes vasodilating that helps lower the blood pressure, ease the load on the heart, and increases oxygen supply throughout the body. Another phytochemical called coumarins is antithrombotic and helps prevent arteriosclerosis.2(p107)
Hawthorn berries are high in the nutrients chromium and selenium.2(p107) Chromium is useful to the heart as “serum high density lipoprotein levels (the cholesterol that protects the heart) are raised by chromium supplementation”.2(p14) Additionally, chromium is used by the body to process carbohydrates and assist with the production and usage of insulin.2(p14) Selenium is a high antioxidant that stimulates the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which helps protect our cells from free radicals and toxins.2(p27)
A wonderful example of Hawthorn berry effects is from a friend who shared with me how she was able to use Hawthorn berry:
Last year I had some heart related concerns that landed me in the hospital for a weekend. The short story is that I sometimes have these heart palpitations or flutters or a feeling like my heart skipped a beat.
A couple of weeks ago I got some Hawthorn Berry tea at the natural foods market. I have it in the morning and evening and since I started drinking it I have not had any problems. The important thing is that those flutters or other things have completely gone away! I don’t even get them occasionally anymore.
So, needless to say, I am a fan of Hawthorn Berry! I would love to call the cardiologist that worked with me at the hospital last year and tell him, but he wouldn’t put any stock in it.
As I contacted my friend to gain permission to use her story she gladly agreed, but also shared that she had once again been back in the hospital, this time for erratic heart beats. She said “I still believe that it [Hawthorn berries] was effective. If I had kept up with drinking the tea faithfully, it’s entirely possible that I could have avoided the recent episode that landed me in the hospital.”
Hawthorn berries are a cardiac tonic for any age, that provide specific nutrition for the heart!
- Christopher J. Herb Syllabus. Centennial ed. Springville, Utah: Christopher Publications; 2010.
- Pedersen M. Nutritional Herbology. 3rd ed. Warsaw, IN: Wendell W. Whitman; 2011.