Hawthorn Pills Safe for Heart Patients
Hawthorn Extract May Extend Lives of Heart Failure Patients, Though Further Study Needed
WebMD News Archive
March 27, 2007 (New Orleans) -- An herbal supplement taken to relieve
symptoms of heart failure is safe when taken with other common heart drugs,
German researchers report.
Their new study also suggested that the pills, known as hawthorn or
crataegus extract, may help to extend the lives of people suffering form heart
failure -- at least in the short term.
But by two years, equal numbers of people given the supplement and placebo
had died, says Christian J. F. Holubarsch, MD, of Median Kliniken Hospitals in
Bad Krozingen, Germany.
"We can't yet say it saves lives," Holubarsch tells WebMD. "But
the data are promising and are worthy of further study."
The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American College of
Hawthorn Extract Relieves Heart Failure Symptoms
Holubarsch says that extracts made from the leaves of hawthorn, a shrub
commonly found in Europe, western Asia, North America, and North Africa, have
been used for years to relieve minor heart failure symptoms such as
breathlessness and fatigue.
The new study, he says, is the first to look at the effectiveness and safety
of the extract when given to more severe heart failure patients.
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can't pump blood effectively
to the lungs or the rest of the body. This is usually because of damage to the
heart muscle, such as damage from a previous heart attack.
The extract is a natural antioxidant that combats oxidative stress, a
condition in which the body essentially has too many free radicals -- the waste
products that result from all the chemical reactions occurring in the body.