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HERBS: Hawthorn


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Hawthorn

Hawthorn

Scientific name

Crataegus monogyna

Other names

May flower, quickthorn, whitehorn

Purported uses

  • To treat angina: Hawthorn shows some benefit in patients with congestive heart failure, but its effects specifically on angina have not been studied.
  • To treat atherosclerosis: Hawthorn shows some benefit in patients with heart disease, but its effect on other aspects of atherosclerosis is not known.
  • To treat congestive heart failure: A handful of European studies have found that hawthorn extract improves cardiac function, shortness of breath, palpitations, and exercise tolerance in patients in NYHA functional class II, but no changes in electrocardiogram have been found. It is not known whether hawthorn is effective in patients with more serious heart disease.
  • To lower high blood pressure: One clinical trial supports this use, while one other does not. More research is needed.
  • To relieve indigestion: Hawthorn has been used to relieve indigestion in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. However, no clinical trials have tested this use.

Contraindications

Should not be taken by women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Adverse reactions

  • Common: Nausea, fatigue, sedation, and sweating
  • Toxicity: Hypotension, arrhythmia

Drug interactions

  • Digoxin: Hawthorn enhances the action of digoxin. The dose of digoxin may need to be lowered if hawthorn is added. Conversely, an increase in digoxin dose may be required if hawthorn is discontinued.
  • Hypertensives: Hawthorn may potentiate activity.
  • Antiarrhythmics: Hawthorn may potentiate or interfere with their activity
  • CNS depressants: Hawthorn may have additive effects.

References

1. Newall C, et al. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 1996.

2. Tyler V. Herbs of Choice, the Therapeutical Use of Phytomedicinals. Binghamton: Pharmaceutical Press; 1994.

3. Gildor A. Crataegus oxyacantha and heart failure. Circulation 1998;98:2098.

4. Schussler M, Holzl J, Fricke U. Myocardial effects of flavonoids from Crataegus species. Arzneimittelforschung 1995;45:843-5.

5. Upton R, et al. Hawthorn Leaf with flower: quality control, analytical and therapeutical monograph. Belmont (CA): American Herbal Pharmacopoeia; 1999:1-29.

6. Blumenthal M, et al. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council; 1998.

7. Iwamoto M, Sato T, Ishizaki T. Klinische Wirkung von Crataegutt bei Herzerkrankungen ischaemischer und/oder hypertensiver Genese. Planta Med 1981;42:1-16.

8. Brinker, F. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions, 2nd ed. Sandy (OR): Eclectic Medical Publications; 1998.

9. Walker, AF, et al. Promising hypotensive effect of hawthorn extract: a randomized double-blind pilot study of mild, essential hypertension. Phytotherapy Res 2002;16:48-54.

10. Rigelsky JM, Sweet BV. Hawthorn: pharmacology and therapeutic uses. Am J Health Syst Pharm 2002;59:417-22.

11. Werbach MR, et al. Botanical Influences on Illness: A Sourcebook of Clinical Research. Third Line Press, 1994.

12. Schmidt U, et al. Efficacy of the hawthorn preparation in 78 patients with chronic congestive heart failure defined as NYHA functional class II. Phytomedicine 1994;1:17-24.

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Overview of Herbs | Alfalfa | Aloe Vera | Burdock | Capsaicin | Cascara | Chamomile | Chaparral | Comfrey | Echinacea | Garlic | Ginger | Ginseng (Asian) | Ginseng (American) | Gotu Kola | Hawthorn | Licorice | Ephedra | Milk Thistle | Sassafras | Blue-Green Algae