Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha), also referred to as thornapple and whitethorn, is an herbal remedy that has been used for thousands of years as a treatment for heart conditions. Today, research provides scientific evidence that supports hawthorn's benefits to the cardiovascular system.
Evidence shows that hawthorn works as a cardiotonic, a substance that increases heart muscle tone and helps the heart to function properly even under stressful conditions. Hawthorn is also rich in active flavonoids like oligomeric procyanidins which possess potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that protect the heart and blood vessel tissue from oxidation, coagulation, inflammation, and accumulations of dangerous fat.
Studies have also revealed that the herbal plant raises the contractile force of the heart muscle, which in turn, strengthens the pumping action of the heart. In animal studies, hawthorn extracts were able to increase coronary blood flow by 70 percent.
Hawthorn also has the ability to prevent heart disease by promoting the release of beneficial nitric oxide. The plant's oligomeric procyanidins help relax and dilate coronary blood vessels, thus reducing blood pressure and providing increased oxygenation to the heart. Some studies also revealed that hawthorn can help reduce levels of harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and prevent irregular heartbeats. Furthermore, research also showed that hawthorn can reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death by 41 percent.
Meanwhile, CoQ10 is an antioxidant that enables food to be converted into energy. When people reach the age of 45, the body produces less CoQ10, which causes tissues to burn fuel inefficiently. Because of the CoQ10 deficiency, the heart becomes weak and contracts and pumps the blood less efficiently. CoQ10 can enhance the health of artery linings, relaxing blood vessels and preventing high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. It also helps protect against ischemia-reperfusion injury.
Research also showed that supplementation with CoQ10 can significantly prolong the life of heart failure patients while decreasing incidences of hospitalization.
Combining hawthorn and CoQ10 will increase each other's efficiency. Natural health professionals suggest using a hawthorn extract standardized to a five percent flavonoid content, and many recommend a dosage of 37.5 milligrams (mg) per day. For CoQ10, they advise starting with a dose of 30 mg per day at age 45, with the dosage increased to 60 mg per day by age 60.
Some of the recommended foods to eat for a healthier heart include wild salmon, blueberries, broccoli, beans, nuts, and pomegranate juice. (Related: Man prevents heart disease with superfoods; defies family history of death with perfect health score.)
In addition to eating a healthy diet, practicing a healthy lifestyle by maintaining a healthy body weight, engaging in physical activity regularly, refraining from smoking, and limiting alcohol intake can also help prevent heart problems.
Read more news stories and studies on keeping the heart healthy by going to Heart.news.