Monday, February 8, 2010
Heart health with Hawthorn
Hawthorn, is the best-known herb for the heart and is one of many high blood pressure herbs for circulation. It is one of the best natural vasodilators.
The leaves can be used but the berries are especially effective in treating hypertension, lowering serum cholesterol, lowering high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis. It also contains an antioxidant that removes the commonest of free radicals which is known to accelerate arteriosclerosis.
In a clinical trial, 78 people who were given 600mg a day for 8 weeks of hawthorn extract, found there was a significant improvement in exercise tolerance and lower blood pressure and heart rate during exercise.
Since the late 19th century, hawthorn has been used successfully for various diseases of the cardiovascular system, including angina pectoris, functional heart disease, arhythmia, early manifestations of circulatory insufficiency of advanced age, and as a heart tonic to regulate circulation.
Today, hawthorn is an official drug in the Pharmacopoeias of Brazil, China, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Hungary, Russia, and Switzerland.
In pharmacological tests on both animals and humans, hawthorn has been shown to improve the contractility of the heart muscle (which can lead to a stronger pumping action of the heart), increase cardiac performance and output, lower the peripheral vascular resistance (reducing the workload of the heart), steady the heartbeat (antiarrhythmic effect), as well as increasing the heart's tolerance to oxygen deficiency, such as might happen during stress or excitement, or in diseases where the arteries are partially blocked.