Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cholesterol Supplement: Hawthorn

Hawthorn is a spiky bush or tree found in Europe, northwestern Africa, and western Asia. It's considered an extremely valuable medicinal herb, used since the Middle Ages as a remedy for many conditions. Its medicinal properties may be due in part to its high concentration of antioxidants called flavonoids.

What the research shows: Studies suggest that this herb can help reduce angina attacks by improving blood and oxygen supply to the heart by dilating blood vessels. It also guards against LDL oxidation.

Who should take it: Because the evidence of hawthorn's benefits are not yet definitive, not everyone should take this supplement. But if you already have heart disease, or you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, and you want to do everything you can to lower your risk, it's probably a good idea.

Recommended dose: 100 to 300 milligrams standardized extract daily.

Warnings/contraindications: Don't take this if you're taking a vasodilator. Hawthorn may lower blood pressure and prevent blood clotting. If you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications that also have these effects, make sure you talk to your doctor before starting hawthorn.

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