Hawthorn is a widely used herbal alternative medicine for the treatment of various cardiovascular diseases. However, the attributed health benefits, purported to be due to the presence of phenolic compounds, may depend on both the specific species and plant part. Studies to date investigating effects of hawthorn on heart disease(s) have used well-described European and/or Asian species, while little is known regarding the bioactivity of species native to North America. Six weeks of supplementation of both fireberry hawthorn berry (native Crataegus chrysocarpa) and English hawthorn leaf (C. monogyna, naturalized in North America) in the JCR:LA-cp rat, resulted in a significant reduction in heart weight, fasting LDL-C and improved heart function (p < 0.05). Fasting triglyceride and myocardial fibrosis were also reduced, but only by the berry extract. We demonstrate that both of the Canadian-sourced hawthorn extracts (introduced leaf and native berry) have cardioprotective benefits, likely via increased availability of nitric oxide.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science