Four Benefits of Hawthorn Berry (Shan Zha) in Chinese Medicine

by DAO Labs |

Four Benefits of Hawthorn Berry (Shan Zha) in Chinese Medicine

Hawthorn Berry (or Shan Zha in Chinese) is a widely versatile herb and one of the eight herbs found in DAO Labs Digestive Harmony, inspired by the classic Traditional Chinese Medicine formula, Bao He Wan (which translates to "Preserve Harmony Pills"). These small red berries are often used in candies, jellies, jams, and wines, while each part of the plant, including bark, stem, and berries, can be used in herbal formulas.

Commonly known as “heart herb,” Hawthorn Berry has an ability to improve your heart function; according to Chinese Medicine theory, it strengthens the aging heart and minimizes the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Shan Zha

During the Medieval Times, Hawthorn Berry was used to treat congestive heart failure. Due to its amazing therapeutic benefits like digestion, Hawthorn Berry was long used as a staple in the Native American diet.

hawthorn berry chinese medicine

From a Chinese herbal medicine perspective, here are four benefits of Hawthorn Berry:

Improves Cardiovascular Function

Dating back to the first century, this ancient berry’s medicinal properties in enhancing overall health were first discovered by Dioscoride- the Greek herbalist. Later on, a Swiss physician revealed its ability to enhance heart health whereas in the 17th century, a French doctor used Hawthorn Berry to treat heart various conditions.

Hawthorn Berry

Known for its therapeutic effects on the heart, this cardiotonic herb has been used to treat serious heart conditions, including heart failure, heart disease, atherosclerosis, and abnormal cardiac rhythm.

Stabilizes Blood Pressure

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, most herbal practitioners believe that Hawthorn berries, leaves, and flowers serve as a natural remedy to maintain blood pressure. Medical studies have revealed that Hawthorn Berry extract can be helpful in reducing diastolic blood pressure more effectively than other medicines.

In this 2006 study, participants with type 2 diabetes who took 1,200 mg of Hawthorn extract every day showed significant positive results; this herbal medicine helped lower blood pressure.

Better Sleep

According to this NPR article, more than 60 million people Americans suffer from insomnia, with the demographics skewing disproportionately to women and people over the age of 65.

Hawthorn Berry

For people striving to eradicate sleepless nights from their life, Hawthorn Berry can work well. As a natural remedy, the leaves of Hawthorn Berry can improve inconsistent sleeping patterns, ensuring a peaceful sleep.

Chest Discomfort

Due to decreased blood flow to the heart, you may experience chest pain, which is also known as angina. Not to mention, angina is a common sign of coronary heart illness. Preliminary studies show that Hawthorn can be an effective remedy in preventing and treating angina.

According to an article in the Journal of Herbal Medicine and Toxicology, it has been revealed that hawthorn’s bioflavonoids can help expand peripheral and coronary blood vessels. On the other hand, proanthocyanidins in the berries are believed to reduce the tension in the blood vessels. These two components of the berry are thought to improve blood flow, which can prevent angina.

bao he wan hawthorn berry

While there is limited evidence available on its benefits, studies conducted have shown positive effects of Hawthorn Berry on overall health. Hawthorn Berry is found in DAO Labs’ Digestive Harmony formula, as according to Chinese herbal medicine, it is highly effective in "clearing food stagnation", specifically stagnation associated with too much meat.  

The flavors of Hawthorn Berries are sour, slightly sweet, slightly warm, bitter, and astringent. We’ve combined Hawthorn Berry with the 7 other herbs of Bao He Wan, and complemented the natural flavors with a bit of orange and chai for a refreshing formula that will calm the stomach and provide natural digestive support.

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Care Consideration: Just a reminder that the above information is not a substitute for medical care and is not a substitute for medical advice or recommendations  from a healthcare provider.  This information is not intended to treat, mitigate or cure any disease.  That said, we encourage you to connect with an Acupuncturist in your community to learn more about this and other Traditional Chinese Medicine options.  If you’ve got questions about Chinese herbal medicine or getting started with an Acupuncturist, feel free to connect with us on

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