2/5/13 3:27 PM Comments

February is all about Hearth Health and we have a special entry from guest blogger, Bill Chioffi, Director of Herbal Education, at Gaia Herbs.



It's probably no coincidence that the earliest records declared the Hawthorn tree a symbol of love. Crataegus species are native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemispheres of Europe and North America. All of the cultures that traditionally used Hawthorn leaves and berries medicinally - including Native American, Chinese and European - employed it as a tonic for the heart. In fact, its use as a cardiac tonic dates as far back as first-century Rome. This botanical medicine is a classic example of the “Doctrine of Signatures”, which was a system of identifying and organizing plants that indigenous herbalists thought might have healing potential by using the shape of a plant’s leaves as a guide to the plant’s healing use(s). Crataegus has a heart-shaped leaf, and was originally thought to offer healing powers specific to the heart.



Significant scientific evidence confirms Hawthorn's traditional use. It has been the subject of hundreds of research studies, including nine double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical trials. The results of this research show that Hawthorn strengthens the heart muscle, increases exercise tolerance, and supports a normal heart rhythm. While Hawthorn leaf contains high levels of flavonoids, the berry is rich in Oligermeric procyanidins. The current thinking is that Hawthorn's biological activity is not due to one group of constituents, but the interaction of various compounds. Experimental and human research indicates these compounds work together to reinforce the heart's pumping capacity, support coronary blood flow, and provide antioxidant protection to the heart.


Active Constituents

Flavonoids, approximating 1.78% of the leaf and flower, and procyanidins, accounting for 2.96% of the fruit, are thought to be the most pharmacologically active constituents of hawthorn. Other constituents include triterpene acids and phenolic acids.


Gaia Herbs Hawthorn Supreme

Gaia Herbs harvests its own Hawthorn Leaf and Flower fresh from its 250 acre Certified Organic Farm in Brevard, NC. Through intensive research and monitoring of the active constituents in this material over the last 15 years, Gaia Herbs has discovered the optimal harvesting time for the leaf and flower bud to maximize the greatest potential of concentration for the Oligermeric procyanidins. The difference between harvesting the fully opened flowers, as most suppliers do, and the partially opened flower buds has been as much as a 30%. Once these are harvested and prepared for extraction, Gaia has the unique ability to move them to their extraction lab only yards away from the source. This seed to shelf model is a living example of purity, integrity and the combination of the two which Gaia considers potency.


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slim Miles

posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 4:58:59 AM America/Los_Angeles
Well done Mr Chioffi Sir!

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