Hawthorn is a kind of drupe fruit with a hard kernel, thin flesh and slightly sour taste. Hawthorn berry can be eaten raw or made into fruit cake. It can be also used as a medicine with the effect of reducing blood fat and blood pressure, cardiotonic and anti-arrhythmia. It is also a good remedy for invigorating the spleen, eliminating stagnation, activating blood and eliminating phlegm and shows a prominent therapeutic effect on the chest diaphragm, hernia, blood stasis, and amenorrhea. The flavonoid of hawthorn is a potent antitumor drug, and its extracts have a certain effect on inhibiting the growth, proliferation, invasion and metastasis of cancer cells in the body.
On account of the edible property and medicinal efficacies of hawthorn, it has been processed into hawthorn powder for consumption, and many companies are devoted to the investigation of its powder making technology. Hawthorn powder with a brown color has been widely applied in medical, food, industry, culture and other aspects with promising development value.
In pharmacodynamics, hawthorn powder has function of promoting digestion. Hawthorn powder contains a variety of organic acids that could stimulate the secretion of gastric juice. Therefore, the acidity of gastric juice is enhanced after oral administration. Pepsin activity is then enhanced and protein digestion is promoted. The lipase contained in hawthorn could promote the digestion of fat and vitamin C and other ingredients in hawthorn could improve appetite. Hawthorn powder also has a regulating effect on gastrointestinal motility and spasm. In recent years, a compound called Vitex in hawthorn powder has been proved to be with an anticancer effect. Nitrosamines and aflatoxin can induce the occurrence or aggravation of digestive tract cancer, while the hawthorn extract can not only block the synthesis of nitrosamines, but also inhibit the carcinogenic effect of aflatoxin. Therefore, people with the high risk of digestive tract cancer should often eat hawthorn, and patients who have been suffering from cancer can also ingest porridge cooked with hawthorn powder and rice, which can help digestion and play an auxiliary anti-cancer effect.
Flavonoids in hawthorn powder can significantly reduce the concentration of total cholesterol in serum and low density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein B, and remarkably increase the concentration of high density lipoprotein cholesterol and apolipoprotein A. Hawthorn can depress blood lipid by inhibiting the synthesis of cholesterol in liver and promoting the intake of cholesterol by liver. Flavonoids in hawthorn powder can also decrease the risk of atherosclerosis and prevent the development of atherosclerosis. Hawthorn has a strong bacteriostatic effect on Proteus vulgaris, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. It also has a therapeutic efficacy in dysmenorrhea and irregular menstruation. It is believed that hawthorn powder has the effect of promoting blood circulation and removing blood stasis, and is a virtuous factor for dysmenorrhea patients with blood stasis.
Last but not least, hawthorn powder plays a pivotal role in cardiovascular system. Hawthorn has protective effect on acute experimental myocardial ischemia. Flavonoids and hydrolysates of hawthorn powder could increase the nutritional blood flow of ischemic myocardium. Simultaneously, hawthorn is able to reduce the oxygen consumption of myocardium and increase the oxygen utilization rate. Hawthorn has an enduring effect of increasing myocardial contractility and cardiac output with effect lasted for a long time. Hawthorn possessing antioxidant effects can significantly reduce the content of malondialdehyde in serum and liver, and enhance the activity of erythrocyte, liver superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase in plasma. Besides, hawthorn can also prevent angina pectoris, and the total flavonoids in hawthorn powder can dilate blood vessels and keep blood pressure down.
The digestive and invigorating effect of hawthorn is mainly related to the pharmacological effects of digestion and bacteriostasis, and provides pharmacological basis for the treatment of meat stagnation, gastric distention, diarrhea and diarrhea. The potency of dissipating blood stasis is mainly connected with the pharmacological action of reducing blood fat, anti-atherosclerosis and anti-myocardial ischemia. Organic acids and flavonoids in hawthorn powder are the main effective components and serve as important material bases for their pharmacological functions. Based on these biological functions, hawthorn powder is clinically used for dyspepsia, coronary heart disease, angina pectoris, hyperlipidemia, etc.
There are some tips for hawthorn consumption. Hawthorn has a sour flavor and will become more acidic after heating. After eating, brush your teeth immediately, otherwise it will be bad for the health of your teeth. People who are afraid of acid can eat hawthorn products. Pregnant women should not eat hawthorn to avoid abortion. Hawthorn can’t be eaten on an empty stomach. The tannic acid contained in raw hawthorn is easy to form gastric calculus by combining with gastric acid, which is difficult to digest. If gastric calculus is not digested for a long time, it will cause gastric ulcer, gastric bleeding and even gastric perforation. Therefore, we should not try to eat raw hawthorn, especially those with poor gastrointestinal function.
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