Several chemical compounds in hawthorn berries have potential health benefits, especially for treating heart failure and other cardiac conditions. Its usefulness was discovered as early as the first century and it continues to be used today, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports. Heart failure and heart disease are serious and potentially life-threatening conditions that should not be self-treated with hawthorn berry or any other supplement unless under the care of a doctor.
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Hawthorn berry supplements come in many forms. You can purchase capsules or tablets containing standardized quantities of the active ingredients oligomeric procyanidins or flavonoids. If you prefer a liquid, you can also purchase extracts and tinctures containing the active ingredients in the berries. Finally, you can purchase dried berries and other parts of the plant to brew a hot tea. Before using any form of a supplement containing hawthorn berry, consult with a doctor who can advise you on how to use it safely.
The recommended dosage for hawthorn berry supplements depends on both the form of supplement you use and the condition you use it to treat. One common use of the herb is to reduce the symptoms of heart failure. For these patients, the safe recommended dose ranges from 160 milligrams to 900 milligrams daily of a supplement containing 18 percent to 20 percent oligomeric procyanidins or 2 percent to 3 percent flavonoids, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports. Patients can also take 240 milligrams to 480 milligrams daily of a product containing 18.75 percent oligomeric procyanidins. People with high blood pressure who want to use the herb to see if it improves their condition can take 1,200 milligrams daily of a supplement standardized to contain 2.2 percent flavonoids, the University of Michigan Health System recommends. Before using the herb to improve your health, consult with a knowledgeable health practitioner so you know how much to take and how to use it safely.
Even when you take hawthorn berry supplements at the safe and recommended dosages, you still may experience some side effects. Most people experience no adverse side effects, although some develop stomach pain, upset stomach, dizziness and headaches, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports. In some instances, people have reported developing a rapid heart rate. Before using hawthorn berry supplements, speak with a doctor who can advise you of possible side effects.
If you take hawthorn berry to treat a condition such as heart failure, always carefully monitor your symptoms for any changes such chest pain, changes in your level of exhaustion or fatigue or increasing attacks of angina. If you notice any such changes, seek immediate medical attention, the University of Maryland Medical Center advises. Also, hawthorn berry may interact with some of the medications you use to treat your heart condition, so do not use the supplement unless you have consulted with a doctor who can tell you whether it is safe to do so.