Hawthorn is a flowering shrub that is part of the rose family native to Europe, but is now grown all over the world. The leaves, berries and flowers of this plant are used to make medicine and health supplements. From a biological standpoint, “hawthorn can help improve the amount of blood pumped out during contractions, widen the blood vessels, and increase the transmission of blood signals.” (via WebMD) Research on hawthorn suggests that it can lower cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad cholesterol”, triglycerides, and it can also help to lower accumulation of fats in the liver and the aorta, which is the largest artery in the body, located near the heart.
Hawthorn is commonly used to treat diseases of the heart and blood vessels such as congestive heart failure, chest pain and irregular heart beat. In addition, hawthorn has also been used to treat digestion problems, such as indigestion, diarrhea, and stomach pain, kidney problems, and anxiety. Although there is not enough evidence to support its effectiveness, some use hawthorn to treat sores, ulcers, boils, frostbite and itching. (via Dr. Weil)
Hawthorn can be found in liquid extracts, capsules and tablets. It is typically used as a short-term, and indefinite supplement that can range anywhere from 500 to 1,500 milligrams a day for adults; if you are interested in giving your child hawthorn supplements, talk to your doctor.
Although rare, side effects of taking this supplement include upset stomach, headache, and dizziness. Hawthorn can interact with prescription drugs used to treat heart disease, and there is not enough information known of whether or not hawthorn has an effect on pregnancy and breast-feeding.