Hawthorn’s reputation as a heart tonic is well-deserved, as it reliably provides a slow, strengthening effect upon the entire cardiovascular system (heart and its associated blood vessels). Its gentle action means that it often requires several weeks of regular, daily use in order to produce appreciable results.
Because of its strengthening effect upon the heart and blood vessels, Hawthorn can be beneficial for both high and low blood pressure. It acts directly upon the coronary blood vessels, the vessels that supply the heart muscle itself with blood. It has the ability to dilate (open) these vessels, which increases the amount of blood (oxygen, nutrients) delivered to the heart muscle. This may help relieve the painful spasms and shortness of breath associated with angina.
Hawthorn is an especially excellent choice for older individuals, as they are often more delicate and fare better with the slower, gentle action of tonifying (strengthening) herbs.