Ask any American herbalist or any European doctor, pharmacist or staff
member of any natural food store what single herb is most recommended to
help make a healthy heart and all will answer the same–Hawthorn!
Throughout the ages hawthorn has been considered a magical herb for protecting
one against evil or pernicious influences, but in the last several hundred
years it has taken its place as the most respected natural medicine for
helping to heal an ailing heart and cardiovascular system. Considering that
heart disease is the number one cause of death in industrialized countries,
it is amazing that hawthorn is not more widely used or understood.
One thinks immediately of such superstar herbs as echinacea, ginkgo and
valerian–all from the same lineage of well-researched European herbal imports
as hawthorn. So why is hawthorn not a hot topic of conversation in stores
throughout the country? Perhaps it’s too common–the shrubby tree grows
wild in many parts of the world. And it has not been as written about or
understood in this country, perhaps cast aside in the past because it does
not provide the dramatic results as digitoxin (a drug from foxglove). But
for whatever reason for its current obscurity among the populice, hawthorn
is likely to take its place alongside of other famous European “phytomedicines”–as
soon as the word about its effectiveness and safety gets out.
I have a special fondness for hawthorn because it greatly helped someone
close to me over a difficult time–my dad. He had a heart attack over 22
years ago, which greatly weakened his heart. His heartbeat became irregular,
and his strength was diminished. He began taking hawthorn liquid extract,
with excellent results–his heartbeat soon became regular and stronger,
and has taken it off and on since then. My dad has always been an extremely
positive person, and I’m happy to say that at 72 he is still working and
delighting us with his humor.
Important therapeutic information:
Hawthorn works slowly, like all herbal tonics. It should be taken for at
least 3 months, up to several years or longer, if needed. It is safe to
use concurrently with allopathic drugs such as digitoxin, and may even allow
a person to reduce the dose of this commonly prescribed, but highly toxic
With long-term use, hawthorn can safely help to strengthen and nourish the
heart. Here is a summary of the important clinical effects of hawthorn:
1. It dilates the arteries that supply the heart muscle itself with blood,
oxygen and fuel, providing a better supply of these essential nutrients.
This results, with continued use, of a stronger, more efficient heart beat.
2. It acts as a powerful free-radical scavenger, protecting the heart against
the harmful effects of lessened oxygen–a common result of vascular disease,
such as atherosclerosis.
3. It can help steady the heartbeat, if it is irregular.