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Before adding a hawthorn berry supplement to your routine, take a moment to weigh the potential pros and cons. You get a variety of disease-preventing antioxidants from ingesting hawthorn berries. If you have a heart condition, they may also reduce the symptoms of your disease, but they can interfere with medications that treat heart problems. You may experience mild to moderate side effects after taking hawthorn, including nausea and fatigue.
If you have heart failure, chest pain or high blood pressure, taking hawthorn berry may improve your condition. Compounds in hawthorn berry improve blood flow to the coronary artery and strengthen contractions of the heart muscle, according to the University of Michigan Health System. These effects lead to a decrease in congestive heart failure symptoms, such as chest pressure and heart palpitations. Hawthorn berry also improves circulation to your extremities and reduces high blood pressure by decreasing resistance in blood vessels and arteries.
Hawthorn berry contains antioxidants called oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes and quercertin. These plant compounds help neutralize harmful free radicals in your body and may prevent chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. The New York University Langone Medical Center notes that oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes may reduce inflammation and swelling in your body, prevent blood clots, improve blood sugar control and reduce the symptoms of menopause and premenstrual syndrome. Animal studies suggest that quercertin may decrease symptoms of seasonal allergies, but more research is needed to determine the efficacy in humans.
If you take prescriptions for high blood pressure, an irregular heart rhythm, other heart conditions, erectile dysfunction or nasal congestion, talk with your health-care provider before taking hawthorn. Compounds in hawthorn berry may increase the effects or decrease the effectiveness of these medications. Drinking alcohol or taking pain medication while using hawthorn could cause hypotension, or a very low blood pressure, and make you feel tired. Woman who are pregnant or breast-feeding should also avoid hawthorn, according to the book "The Complete Guide to Herbal Medicines."
Dosage and Side Effects
Dosages of 160 to 1,800 milligrams of hawthorn per day for 3 to 24 weeks are generally regarded as safe, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center. People who are sensitive to hawthorn, or who take large doses of it, may experience headaches, dizziness, vertigo, nausea and heart palpitations. UMMC notes that if you experience pain, increased frequency or intensity of chest pain or fatigue after taking hawthorn, you should stop taking it and seek medical attention immediately. Animal studies indicate no toxicity from taking high doses of hawthorn, but more data is needed to determine a safe upper limit for human consumption.