Scientific Name/Common Name: Crataegus oxycantha/ Crataegus laevigata / Hawthorn
Part(s) Used: Flowers, berries, and leaves.
Constituents/Active Ingredients: A wide spectrum of flavonoids including vitexin, quercetin, hyperoside, rutin, and oligomeric pro-cyanidins (OPCs) as well as triterpene and phenolic acids.
Overview: The genus Crataegus includes approximately 280 different species of shrubs and small trees native to North America, Europe, and Asia. The ‘haws’ or berries of hawthorn are similar in appearance to other Rosaceae fruit, like rosehips and crabapples, and are equally as edible and nutritious. Our ancestors well knew of the value of hawthorn leaves, flowers, and fruits for treating vascular disease. The Greek herbalist, Dioscorides, reported the curative properties of hawthorn for the heart all the way back in the first century. In China, hawthorn was mentioned as far back as 659 A.D. to treat stomach disorders, vascular disease, and scurvy. Chippewa, Ojibwa, and other First Nations also used hawthorn as a heart medicine, gastrointestinal aid, and general tonic and in poultices for treating wounds. Today, hawthorn is one of the most popular herbal medications in central Europe. European as well as Asian health practitioners prescribe hawthorn for treating all different types of vascular disorders. Numerous clinical and pharmacological studies have shown that tonics from the hawthorn plant can improve heart function and dilate coronary arteries thus improving the heart’s blood supply.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: Traditionally used in Herbal Medicine to help maintain and/or support cardiovascular health in adults.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:
Pittler MH, Guo R, Ernst E. Hawthorn extract for treating chronic heart failure. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD005312.
Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinkmann J, editors. 2000. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Boston (MA): Integrative Medicine Communications.
Mills S, Bone K. 2000. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. Toronto (ON): Churchill Livingstone.
Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.