The Unassuming, Heart-Healthy Superfruit - Hawthorn Berries

Hawthorn Berries Makes the Heart Merry.

Hawthorn a thorny shrub native to temperate North America, Europe, and East Asia. Although the leaves and flowers have medicinal properties, the haw fruits, known as hawthorn berries, beloved as fruit and medicine. With a long history of use as a cardio-tonic herbal medicine, hawthorn berries deliver nutrients, and promote a healthy response to inflammation to support heart and circulatory health.

These healthy, power-packed berries have high concentrations of flavonoids and other nutritive compounds like vitamins C and B complex which provide an array of health benefits. As a fruit, hawthorn berries have been used to prevent scurvy, as well as to make jam, sweet wine and even candied fruits. In the old days these berries were even used as an herbal medicine, the berries were historically used to treat heart problems ranging from irregular heartbeat, elevated heart rate, chest pain, hardening of the arteries, and mild to moderate heart failure. Imagine that! Although modern medicine has not fully substantiated these traditional uses, hawthorn berries are a great addition to a heart-healthy diet.

What Color is your Flavonoid?

Flavonoids, colorful pigmented compounds found in many fruits, vegetables, and herbs, have been found to have potential benefits for heart health. Some studies have suggested that consuming flavonoids may help reduce the risk of heart disease in several ways. By improving the function of the endothelium, the lining of the blood vessels, blood flows more smoothly, reducing the likelihood of clot formation. Blood vessels become more flexible when there is less resistance to blood flow.

However, it's worth noting that more research is needed to confirm the effects of flavonoids on heart health and to determine the appropriate dosage and duration of use. Also, flavonoids should not be considered as a replacement for prescribed medications for heart conditions.

Hawthorn Berries Health Benefits

A multi-purpose medicinal plant, not only the berries, but the leaves, and flowers of the hawthorn tree have also been used for supporting cardiovascular health and other medicinal purposes. Most modern preparations use the leaves and flowers, which actually contain more flavonoids than the berries. However, the hawthorn berries have high concentrations of flavonoids (especially oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs) and quercitin) and other nutritive compounds like vitamins C and B complex which offer numerous health benefits, notably modulating inflammation and reducing free radical damage, both of which can irreparably damage cell membranes, tissues and even DNA.

OPCs for capillary stability

One of the hawthorn plant’s most bioactive compound is a group of potent antioxidant flavonoids known as oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs). OPCs have very strong vitamin P (also known as citrin bioflavonoid) activity, and work synergistically with vitamin C to support capillary stability, support blood flow, and protect blood vessels from damage. Other hawthorn berries constituents include quercetin, quercitrin, triterpene saponins, vitamin C have cardioprotective properties. Unlike the leaf and flower, hawthorn berries can deliver the flavonoids along with the vitamin C necessary for supporting capillary/circulatory health synergistic utilization.

Haws Make the Heart Happy

Hawthorn berries support peripheral circulation and blood flow throughout your body, maintaining healthy circulation. It also supports healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood, reduces the likelihood of dangerous plaque buildup, supports and healthy blood pressure levels. Research indicates that hawthorn may reduce symptoms of chest pain caused by blocked arteries or poor circulation. It may also help reduce episodes of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) as well as prevent further damage due to high cholesterol levels or elevated blood pressure. Additionally, the phytochemicals found in hawthorn berries can help reduce stress on your heart and giving it more time between beats to rest and rejuvenate itself.

Most of all, evidence shows that the combination of hawthorn berries nutrients and flavonoids supports a healthy inflammatory response. Given that hawthorn berries fortify the circulatory system, all body systems benefit! This results in widespread benefits for the body, supporting digestion, cognition, and more! In fact, integrating hawthorn berries into diet for circulatory system support may also improve oxygen delivery throughout your body, which can lead to increased energy levels and improved overall wellbeing! How is that for a superfruit?

Hawthorn Berries, Food or Medicine?

Hawthorn berries are generally considered safe when used in appropriate dosages however, it can interact with some medications, especially those used for heart conditions. As with any powerful herbal additions in your daily regimen, it’s essential to talk to your healthcare provider before taking hawthorn berries if you are taking any medications, especially if you take medications for heart conditions, blood pressure, or blood thinners. They can help you to understand the potential risks and benefits of using hawthorn berries and make sure that it is safe for you to take.

Hawthorn Berries – Yesterday’s Medicinal Fruit, Today’s Superfruit

When it comes to keeping your heart healthy, there are many things you can do—eating right, exercising regularly—but there’s one more you should consider: adding hawthorn berries as a nutritive, antioxidant component for maintaining an active, heart-healthy lifestyle. This versatile shrub has been used for centuries because of its antioxidant-packed circulatory supporting properties and ability to promote peripheral circulation and blood flow throughout the body. Not only does it help reduce cholesterol levels and balance out triglycerides in the blood, but research suggests hawthorn berries may even improve the function of your heart muscle itself! So, if you’re looking for an easy way to keep your ticker ticking along nicely for years to come—consider adding some hawthorn berries into your wellness regimen today!


Jenny Perez is an herbal educator, researcher, and writer who has been immersed in the field of nutrition and botanical medicine for more than 20 years. Jenny has created curriculum, content, and educational materials for Quantum Nutrition Labs, Premier Research Labs, the American Botanical Council, and Bastyr University’s Botanical Medicine Department where she was Adjunct Faculty, Herb Garden Manager, and Director of the Holistic Landscape Design certificate program.