Hawthorn would be best described as a heart tonic. A “tonic” is a substance that has an overall positive effect on a particular organ system. For the heart, hawthorn meets the criteria.
Hawthorn increases blood flow to the heart, strengthens contractions of the heart muscle, and improves circulation by dilating blood vessels. This allows increased oxygen delivery to tissues (very important for CF/FMS).
Hawthorn also reduces palpitations and provides a calming effect that reduces adrenaline. It also normalizes blood pressure. Hawthorn lowers LDL cholesterol and has hypoglycemic activity in Type II diabetics.
Suggested dosage: 200-500 mg extract (combined leaf, stem, and flower standardized to 1.8% Vitexin) twice daily.
Side effects: Rare. Hawthorn is very safe for long-term use.