Standardized extracts of hawthorn berries, flowers, and leaves are a well-known and even doctor-recommended therapy for congestive heart failure. Hawthorn can be an excellent add-on to congestive heart failure support with curcumin, because the two natural products "open circulation" in different ways.
Curcumin prevents clots. Unlike anticoagulants that stop the production of fibrin "fibers" in the liver, curcumin slows down the rate at which fibrin can form clots along the lining of blood vessels.
Hawthorn helps the arteries relax. When the heart muscle is stressed, white blood cells known as neutrophils release a compound known as human neutrophil elastase (HNE). This elastase makes arteries more "elastic," lowering blood pressure and making it easier for the heart to do its job.
The process of relaxing the arteries, however, releases enormous volumes of free radicals that interfere with the action on L-carnitine. What hawthorn does it to "catch" the free radicals and preserve L-carnitine, which in turn allows the heart to make energy with a minimum of oxygen.
Regular use of hawthorn also stimulates the liver to use LDL cholesterol to make bile salts, which flow into the colon and are eliminated through bowel movement. And it contains a compound called a vitexin that relaxes blood vessels through a different biochemical pathway.
As a fruit and a "vegetable," hawthorn is non-toxic when consumed in normal doses (and probably is non-toxic if you took 100 times the amount that can benefit your heart). Some people experience mild queasy stomach the first day or two they take the herb. This usually goes away.
Of course, if you take any prescription medication for congestive heart failure or any other health condition, inform your physician so you can take the right doses of all your meds as you benefit from complementary therapy.
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