The EclecticPhysician

The Eclectic Physician
Medicinal Herb Monographs

Hawthorn

Botanical Name 
Crataegus spp

Crataegus

Crataegus oxyacantha
(Hawthorn)

The information on this page compiled by
Beth Burch N.D.
Index
(click on the keywords)

Introduction

Hawthorn has been traditionally used as cardiac tonics in organic and functional heart disease. Weiss states it is particularly valuable in atherosclerotic heart disease and angina pectoris. Modern research studies have confirmed its value in treating heart conditions, especially early congestive heart failure and mild hypertension.

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Description

  • Hawthorn is a member of the rose family- a spiny tree or shrub native to Europe but widely naturalized throughout the US. It has a white flower in the spring with a interesting aroma. In the fall the fruits ripen into red berries, which may stay on the tree long after the leaves have dropped. The flower buds with the leaves are medicinal in Europe, but the berries have also been traditionally used.

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Constituents

  • Flavonoids
  • Oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs)

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Action/Effects

  • Collagen stabilization- due to the flavonoids and proanthocyanidins, probably important to prevent and treat atherosclerosis
  • Anti-oxidant- due to the OPCs, flavonoids (1)
  • Antiinflammatory - due to antioxidant activity of flavonoids and OPCs
  • Dilation of coronary blood vessels
  • Improvement of heart metabolism resulting in increased contractile force
  • Mildly Antihypertensive

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Conditions used for

  • Stage I and II cardiac insufficiency (congestive heart failure) (2,3)
  • Mild arrhythmias (4)
  • Mild hypertension (5)
  • Berries are also useful as supplements in health conditions that affect collagen, such as arthritis, periodontal disease, atherosclerosis and inflammation

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Dosage

  • Dried extract assayed for flavonoids- 2-7 mg total flavonoids twice a day
  • Dried extract assayed for OPC’s- 15-60 mg total OPC’s twice a day
  • Dried or Freeze-dried berries- 850-1700 mg three times a day
  • Dried or Freeze-dried flower/leaf- 600-1200 mg three times a day
  • Alcohol extract (1:5 dry) 4-6 ml three times a day
  • Slow-acting- May take up to two weeks for adequate tissue concentrations, use for at least 4- 8 weeks to get maximum benefit
 

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Side Effects

  • None reported
 

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Contraindications

  • None known

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Interactions with medications

  • May cause increased blood pressure in patients taking beta-blockers (Inderal)
  • Can potentiate the effects of cardiac glycosides (Digitalis, Cactus, and Convallaria)

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Use in pregnancy & lactation

  • No information on the safety of use in pregnancy or lactation

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References

1. Bahorun T et al, Antioxidant activities of Crataegus monogyna extracts, Planta Med 1994;60:323-28
2. Schmidt U et al, Efficicacy of the hawthorn preparation LI132 in 78 patients with chronic congestive heart failure defined as NYHA functional class II, Phytomed 1994;1:17-24
3. Leuchtgens H, Crataegus Special Extract WS 1442 in NYHA II heart failure. A placebo controlled randomized double-blind study, Fortschr Med 1993;111(20-21):352-4
4. Blesken VR, Use of Crataegus in cardiology, Fortschr Med 1992;15:290-2
5. al Makdessi S, Protective effect of Crataegus oxyacantha against reperfusion arrhythmias after global no-flow ischemia in the rat heart, Basic Res Cardiol 1999;94(2):71-7

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* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate. It is not intended replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.

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