Hawthorn leaves and flowers could help treat hypertension in type 2 diabetes sufferers taking prescribed drugs says a study in the June issue of the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP).
The study set out to see if patients with type 2 diabetes, consuming a western diet and taking prescribed medication with daily hawthorn extract would show greater hypotensive effects over 16 weeks than a placebo group. 79 patients in the Reading area were recruited to take part in the study which gave 39 of them hawthorn and 40 patients a placebo.
Mean baseline values in diastolic blood pressure of the hawthorn group and the placebo group were 85.6mmHg and 84.5mmHg respectively. After 16 weeks results showed a significant reduction of 2.6 mmHg in the hawthorn group
The authors said the hypotensive effect of hawthorn was studied in type 2 diabetic patients because of the prevalence of hypertension and prescribed drug use among them.
Study author, Dr Ann Walker from Reading University, said: “Hawthorn is widely used for cardiovascular support by herbal practitioners in the UK. In this study we were keen to find out whether the hypotensive effects previously reported for hawthorn could be seen against the background of the modern-drug regimes commonly used in the management of type 2 diabetes. Although the hypotensive effect of hawthorn was small, it was real and has potential to add to other small-but-real effects of dietary changes already published.”
“As hypertension is such a huge problem in western societies, any safe, natural approach to hypotension which can be used with or without modern drugs, is worth exploring.”
The authors said the study provided further evidence for the safe use of hawthorn, a herb with no restrictions on its long-term use.
Walker AF, Marakis G, Simpson E, Hope JL, Robinson PA, Hassanein M, Simpson HCR. “Hypotensive effects of hawthorn for patients with diabetes taking prescription drugs: a randomized controlled trial”. BJGP June 2006; 56: 437-443.