Kidney Coach

Herb In Focus – Hawthorn: Nature’s Heart Health Remedy

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Today is the first of many articles I will write (from time to time) to focus on a herb, and detail its specific benefits for helping those with kidney disease. Today I will be featuring the herb Hawthorn.

Want to know how to lower high blood pressure naturally? Well hawthorn is the ideal companion for anyone experiencing high blood pressure (or any cardiovascular disease for that matter), which in the case of kidney disease this is always a favourable as so many individuals exhibit both kidney and heart conditions together.

With over 2000 years of medicinal use, hawthorn is truly a well established and well-known herb within any naturopath’s or herbalist’s toolkit. Names such as Dioscorides and Paracelsus (famous past physicians and botanists) praised hawthorn for its cardiovascular strengthening properties, and today this is proven through extensive scientific studies.

Plant Description

Hawthorn is a small thorny deciduous tree which grows to 5-14 metres (15-45 feet), is part of the Rosaceae family, and with roughly 280 species can sometimes cause confusion when sourcing the correct species of hawthorn for medicinal use. The best therapeutic species of hawthorn are: Crataegus monogyna, Crataegus spp, Crataegus laevigata, and Crataegus oxyacantha.

The leaves are dark green on top and lighter underneath, deeply lobed, with a length ranging between 2–4 cm (stay with me!). In the spring hawthorn features fragrant (though foul smelling!) red, pink, or white flowers. In autumn these flowers turn into small, deep red, apple-shaped fruit. It is these “fruit” (berries) and leaves that form the most medicinally active part of the plant.

Many practitioners have their preference to which part of the plant they prefer to use, however all the latest studies show that it is the leaves that are most active. That is not to say the berries aren’t useful, hell no! It’s just a small tip that if you can source the leaves then do so, if not, that’s fine. In fact most products out at the moment contain only the berries or a blend of both, so sourcing a blend of both is by far the best.

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Natural Chemicals

The primary cardiovascular benefits of this plant come down to the many naturally occurring chemicals – straight from nature’s laboratory. Flavonoids, such as rutin, quercitin, and oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) feature, and though it goes against everything that herbal medicine is all about*, it is thought that these constituents (especially the OCPs) are most responsible for most of the herb’s actions.

* Herbal medicine, like all natural medicine, is used in a holistic way, and therefore it is contradictory and not in line with nature to then break down a plant into parts (i.e. chemicals) to see what is providing the healing effects. It is the whole plant that assists with the healing. Leave the Newtonian beliefs to the doctors.

The other natural chemicals that feature within the plant include but are not limited to: triterpenes, sterols, polyphenols, coumarins, and tannins.

Herb’s Actions – How To Lower High Blood Pressure Naturally And Reverse Heart Damage

Hawthorn produces many healing effects within the body, the main being:
•    Lower high blood pressure naturally
•    Increases circulation to the extremities
•    Protects against heart damage
•    Improves heart contraction
•    Anti-arrhythmic
•    Antioxidant
•    Lowers cholesterol
•    Anti-inflammatory
•    Anti-viral

As you can see from the list above this plant was made to help the cardiovascular system: Lower high blood pressure (hypertension), arrhythmias, atherosclerosis, myocardial weakness, angina pectoris, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, high cholesterol… literally any cardiovascular condition this herb can be used for. It is truly the best all-round heart tonic natural medicine has to offer.

It can take a minimum of 8 weeks of treatment to enjoy the full benefits of hawthorn so in that time make sure you have your health practitioner closely monitor your progress.

Herb-Drug Interactions?

As with any herb there is always the potential for interactions, though most can be taken safely.

In the case of hawthorn, care should be exercised if hawthorn is combined with other drugs that lower high blood pressure. What this means is that for the most part you should work closely with your health care professional during the course of treatment and closely monitor your health and blood pressure.

Hawthorn has been known to potentiate blood pressure lowering medication, which simply means “increases their effect”, which is really the objective of treatment, right? The reason then to monitor your health so closely is to make sure that your blood pressure does not lower too rapidly or lower too much. When at your ideal blood pressure you may like to discuss with your health care professional to start reducing your medication (while continuing on with hawthorn).

…Who knows, you may be then able to teach your doctor a thing or two on how to lower high blood pressure naturally!

There is also a potential synergistic effect with the drug digoxin as well; again please get proper medical advice for your condition.

Where To Buy?

Well the best place to start is either your local health store or online, either is fine, but I personally much rather online as I don’t have to travel anywhere (delivered to my door), the prices are a lot cheaper, and I have a wider selection of brands to choose from.

There are many reliable, trustworthy, and reputable companies now online, some of which I personally use and recommend are:

I personally use as they have never let me down, they offer free shipping to certain areas, their prices are unmatched, and they were voted #1 online supplement store by 4 years in a row. So have a look around, see what all companies have to offer and purchase with your needs in mind.

Which Hawthorn Supplement Is Best?

Well I have done a bit of the leg work for you and came up with a collection of some brands that in my opinion are the best – taking into consideration the hawthorn used, formulation, brand quality, and price.

There is no right or wrong answer in which one of three products you choose, as I only choose quality products:

I have split them up in the two sections…

Hawthorn Supplement – Single Ingredient

This features two products that contain only the herb hawthorn:
•    Planetary-Herbals-Full-Spectrum-Hawthorn-Extract-550-mg-60-Tablets
•    Natures-Way-HeartCare-Hawthorn-Extract-120-Tablets

Hawthorn Complex – Diverse number of ingredients to help the cardiovascular system

This product has the herb hawthorn, but also a number of other nutrients and herbs that will aid blood pressure lowering and improve overall cardiovascular health. This offers added all-round care – though of course comes with a dearer price tag:

•    Source-Naturals-Heart-Response-90-Tablets

New To iHerb?

I have something really cool to offer you; I have been able to secure the referral code API057 to get $5 off any first time order. So when you purchase any product on their website, and use the code API057, you will receive $5 off for doing nothing!

But straight up front, I will receive a very small remuneration for your purchase if you choose to use the API057 code (roughly a dollar). I of course would not recommend anything that I don’t fully support, as giving bad advice will only lead to a bad reputation – and that doesn’t help anyone.

In Closing…

If you have any heart related condition that is impacting your health then I cannot speak highly enough about the herb hawthorn. Whether it is high blood pressure, to a history of heart attacks, this herb will definitely offer you help. The cardiovascular system directly impacts the health of the kidneys, so it is prudent to do all you can to minimise all risk. Start taking hawthorn today if you are not already, and give it a good try (minimum 8 weeks) before you expect to see results.

I hope you enjoyed today’s articles on how to lower high blood pressure naturally and heal and protect your heart from any number of cardiovascular diseases.

Have a great week, and I’ll see you next time.

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