Since the Neolithic period, Greeks have been using Hawthorn leaves, roots and fruits in the development of medications for fertility. In the modern times, however, most laboratory extraction procedures on Hawthorn only involve the plant’s berries as it is believed to yield highest amounts of essential compounds. Due to the seasonal growth of Hawthorn berries, a group of experts conducted a study to determine whether the leaves of the plant also yield compounds as much as the berries to make Hawthorn extract available from season to season. True enough, the group found out that Hawthorn leaves may yield essential compounds, although not as much as Hawthorn berries. Today, some health supplement manufacturers include Hawthorn leaves extract in their formulations as it is said to provide similar health effects as hawthorn berries.
What is Hawthorn leaves extract?
Instead of deriving phytonutrients from the berries, the development of hawthorn leaves extract is a modification to the common practice. Although the process for extracting essential compounds from the leaves of the hawthorn plant is said to be more complex as compared to the fruits, the development of advanced laboratory procedures for the process has paved the way to making Hawthorn benefits available all year round. Hawthorn leaves are more readily available than the fruit or berries and are also believed to be safe for purposes of supplement formulations.
Health benefits of using Hawthorn leaves extract
The benefits of using Hawthorn leaves extract is almost similar to the benefits associated with using other parts of the plant as subject for extraction. Higher concentrations for Hawthorn leaves extract are, however, required for efficiency. Some of the health benefits of using Hawthorn leaves extract include the following:
- It neutralizes free radicals
A 2011 study conducted on Hawthorn leaves extract to establish its phytochemical components and determine their effects in the human body revealed that the extract contains high amounts of quercetin and oligomericproanthocyanidins which effectively eliminates and neutralizes circulating free radicals in the blood and body cells and prevent them from interfering with certain bodily processes. Another study piloted to determine potential effects of Hawthorn leaves extract in terms of cancer prevention also shows that it effectively inhibits atherogenesis of new cancer cells.
- It may enhance heart health
Mild to moderate forms of congestive heart failure is also shown to be prevented with Hawthorn leaves extract supplementation as the active compounds of the extract helps regulate heart function and prevent congestion. Severe forms of heart failure may not, however, be treated with Hawthorn leaves extract.
- It may cure digestive tract conditions
Problems associated with irregular digestion can also be cured with long-term Hawthorn leaves extract supplementation. The extract is said to enhance metabolism, although its clinical patterns are not yet understood.
There are no significant differences between hawthorn leaves extract and the popular hawthorn berry extract as they are derived both from the medicinal plant hawthorn. The only difference lies in the quantity of phytonutrients which is not necessarily of high value.