1. Loaded with antioxidants

Hawthorn berry is a rich source of polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidant compounds found in plants.

Antioxidants help neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals that can harm your body when they are present at high levels. These molecules can come from poor diet, as well as environmental toxins like air pollution and cigarette smoke.

Due to their antioxidant activity, polyphenols have been associated with numerous health benefits, including a lower risk of the following:
  • some cancers
  • type 2 diabetes
  • asthma
  • some infections
  • heart problems
  • premature skin aging

Though initial research is promising, more studies are needed to assess hawthorn berries’ effects on disease risk.

May have anti-inflammatory properties

Hawthorn berry may have anti-inflammatory properties that could improve your health.

Chronic inflammation has been linked to many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, asthma, and certain cancers.

In a study in mice with liver disease, hawthorn berry extract significantly reduced levels of inflammatory compounds.

What’s more, research in mice with asthma showed that supplementing with hawthorn berry extract decreased inflammation enough to significantly reduce asthma symptoms.

Due to these promising results from animal and test-tube studies, scientists believe the supplement may offer anti-inflammatory benefits in humans. However, more research is needed.

3. May lower blood pressure

In traditional Chinese medicine, hawthorn berry is one of the most commonly recommended foods to help treat high blood pressure.

In a 10-week study in 36 people with mildly elevated blood pressure, those taking 500 mg of hawthorn extract daily experienced no significant decreases in blood pressure, although they showed a trend toward reduced diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number of a reading..

Another 16-week study in 79 people with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure observed that those who took 1,200 mg of hawthorn extract daily had greater improvements in blood pressure, compared with those in the placebo group.

Nonetheless, a similar study in 21 people with mildly elevated blood pressure noted no differences between the hawthorn-extract and placebo groups..

4. May decrease blood fats

Some studies indicate that hawthorn extract may improve blood fat levels.

Cholesterol and triglycerides are two types of fats always present in your blood.

At normal levels, they’re perfectly healthy and play very important roles in hormone production and nutrient transport throughout your body.

However, imbalanced blood fat levels, particularly high triglycerides and low HDL (good) cholesterol, play a role in atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup in your blood vessels.

If plaque continues to accumulate, it could completely block a blood vessel, leading to heart attack or stroke.

In one study, mice given two different doses of hawthorn extract had lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, as well as 28–47% lower liver triglyceride levels, compared with mice that did not receive the extract.

Similarly, in a study in mice on a high-cholesterol diet, both hawthorn extract and the cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin reduced total cholesterol and triglycerides about equally, but the extract also decreased LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Though this research is promising, more human studies are needed to assess the effect of hawthorn extract on blood fats.

5. Used to aid digestion

Hawthorn berries and hawthorn extract have been used for centuries to treat digestive issues, particularly indigestion and stomach pain.

The berries contain fiber, which has been proven to aid digestion by reducing constipation and acting as a prebiotic.

Prebiotics feed your healthy gut bacteria and are vital to maintaining healthy digestion.

One observational study in people with slow digestion found that each additional gram of dietary fiber consumed decreased the time between bowel movements by approximately 30 minutes.

Additionally, a rat study observed that hawthorn extract dramatically reduced the transit time of food in the digestive system.

This means that food moves more quickly through your digestive system, which may alleviate indigestion.

Furthermore, in a study in rats with stomach ulcers, hawthorn extract exhibited the same protective effect on the stomach as an anti-ulcer medication.

6. Helps prevent hair loss

Hawthorn berry may even prevent hair loss and is a common ingredient in commercial hair growth products.

One study in rats found that mountain hawthorn extract stimulated hair growth and increased the number and size of hair follicles, promoting healthier hair.

It’s believed that the polyphenol content in hawthorn berry causes this beneficial effect. Nevertheless, research in this area is limited, and human studies are needed.

7. May reduce anxiety

Hawthorn has a very mild sedative effect, which may help decrease anxiety symptoms.

In a study on hawthorn’s effect on blood pressure, while people taking hawthorn extract didn’t report significantly lower levels of anxiety, there was a trend towards reduced anxiety.

In another study in 264 people with anxiety, a combination of hawthorn, magnesium, and California poppy flower significantly reduced anxiety levels, compared to a placebo. Still, it’s unclear what role hawthorn played, specifically.

Given that it has few side effects compared to traditional anti-anxiety medications, hawthorn continues to be researched as a potential treatment for disorders of the central nervous system, such as anxiety and depression.

However, more research is needed. If you want to try a hawthorn supplement to manage your anxiety, don’t discontinue any of your current medications and be sure to discuss it with your healthcare provider.

8. Used to treat heart failure

Hawthorn berry is best known for its use alongside traditional medications in the treatment of heart failure.

A review of 14 randomized studies in more than 850 people concluded that those who took hawthorn extract along with their heart failure medications experienced improved heart function and exercise tolerance.

They also experienced less shortness of breath and fatigue.

What’s more, a 2-year observational study in 952 people with heart failure found that those supplementing with hawthorn berry extract had less fatigue, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations than people who did not supplement with it.

The group taking hawthorn berry also required fewer medications to manage their heart failure..

Finally, another large study in over 2,600 people with heart failure suggested that supplementing with hawthorn berry may reduce the risk of sudden heart-related death.

People with heart failure are often encouraged to take hawthorn berry in addition to their current medications, as the supplement is considered safe with few side effects.