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HAWTHORN

Other Names:

Aubepine, Aubépine, Aubépine Blanche, Aubépine Épineuse, Bianco Spino, Bois de Mai, Cenellier, Chinese Hawthorn, Crataegi Flos, Crataegi Folium, Crataegi Folium Cum Flore, Crataegi Fructus, Crataegus cuneata, Crataegus kulingensis, Crataegus lae...
See All Names

 Overview
 Uses
 Side Effects
 Interactions
 Dosing
Overview Information

Hawthorn is a plant. The leaves, berries, and flowers of hawthorn are used to make medicine.

Hawthorn is used for diseases of the heart and blood vessels such as congestive heart failure (CHF), chest pain, and irregular heartbeat. It is also used to treat both low blood pressure and high blood pressure, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), and high cholesterol. So far, research suggests that hawthorn might be effective in treating congestive heart failure, but there hasn’t been enough research on other heart-related uses to know if it is effective for them.

Some people use hawthorn for digestive system complaints such as indigestion, diarrhea, and stomach pain. It is also used to reduce anxiety, as a sedative, to increase urine output, and for menstrual problems.

Hawthorn is also used to treat tapeworm and other intestinal infections.

Some people apply hawthorn to the skin for boils, sores, and ulcers. Hawthorn preparations are used as a wash for sores, itching, and frostbite.

You will find hawthorn among the ingredients in candied fruit slices, jam, jelly, and wine.

Before taking hawthorn, talk with your healthcare professional if you take any medications. It has major interactions with several prescription medications.

How does it work?

Hawthorn can help improve the amount of blood pumped out of the heart during contractions, widen the blood vessels, and increase the transmission of nerve signals.

Hawthorn also seems to have blood pressure-lowering activity, according to early research. It seems to cause relaxing of the blood vessels farther from the heart. It seems that this effect is due to a component in hawthorn called proanthocyanidin.

Research suggests that hawthorn can lower cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad cholesterol”), and triglycerides (fats in the blood). It seems to lower accumulation of fats in the liver and the aorta (the largest artery in the body, located near the heart). Hawthorn fruit extract may lower cholesterol by increasing the excretion of bile, reducing the formation of cholesterol, and enhancing the receptors for LDLs. It also seems to have antioxidant activity.

Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Possibly Effective for:

  • Heart failure. Some specific hawthorn products (Faros 300 by Lichtwer Pharma, Crataegutt forte by Wilmer Schwabe Pharmaceuticals, or HeartCare, Nature’s Way) seem to improve some heart failure symptoms in some people with mild to moderate heart failure. However, other research shows that these products may actually worsen heart failure and increase the risk of death or hospitalization.

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Anxiety. There is some evidence that hawthorn, combined with magnesium and California poppy (a product called Sympathyl, which is not available in the U.S.), might be useful in treating mild to moderate anxiety disorders.
  • Chest pain ("angina"). Some research suggests that taking hawthorn might reduce chest pain.
  • High blood pressure Some research shows that hawthorn might reduce blood pressure, but other research shows no benefit.
  • Decreased heart function.
  • Blood circulation problems.
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias).
  • Low blood pressure.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Sedation.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of hawthorn for these uses.


Side Effects & Safety

Hawthorn is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when used at recommended doses short-term (up to 16 weeks). It is not known whether hawthorn is safe when used long-term.

In some people, hawthorn can cause nausea, stomach upset, fatigue, sweating, headache, dizziness, palpitations, nosebleeds, insomnia, agitation, and other problems.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of hawthorn during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Heart disease: Hawthorn can interact with many prescription drugs used to treat heart disease. If you have a heart condition, don’t use hawthorn without the recommendation of your healthcare provider.

Interactions What is this?

Major Interaction Do not take this combination

  • Digoxin (Lanoxin) interacts with HAWTHORN

    Digoxin (Lanoxin) helps the heart beat more strongly. Hawthorn also seems to affect the heart. Taking hawthorn along with digoxin (Lanoxin) might increase the effects of digoxin and increase the risk of side effects. Do not take hawthorn if you are taking digoxin (Lanoxin) without talking to your healthcare professional.

  • Medications for high blood pressure (Beta-blockers) interacts with HAWTHORN

    Hawthorn might decrease blood pressure. Taking hawthorn along with medication for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.

    Some medications for high blood pressure include atenolol (Tenormin), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), nadolol (Corgard), propranolol (Inderal), and others.

  • Medications for high blood pressure (Calcium channel blockers) interacts with HAWTHORN

    Hawthorn might decrease blood pressure. Taking hawthorn along with medication for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.

    Some medications for high blood pressure include nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, Verelan), diltiazem (Cardizem), isradipine (DynaCirc), felodipine (Plendil), amlodipine (Norvasc), and others.

  • Medications for male sexual dysfunction (Phosphodiesterase-5 Inhibitors) interacts with HAWTHORN

    Hawthorn might decrease blood pressure. Some medications for male sexual dysfunction can also decrease blood pressure. Taking hawthorn along with medications for male sexual dysfunction might cause your blood pressure to go too low.

    Some medications for male sexual dysfunction include sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra).

  • Medications that increase blood flow to the heart (Nitrates) interacts with HAWTHORN

    Hawthorn increases blood flow. Taking hawthorn with medications that also increase blood flow to the heart might increase the chance of dizziness and lightheadedness.

    Some of these medications that increase blood flow to the heart include nitroglycerin (Nitro-Bid, Nitro-Dur, Nitrostat) and isosorbide (Imdur, Isordil, Sorbitrate).


Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • For heart failure, some specific hawthorn products (Faros 300 by Lichtwer Pharma, Crataegutt forte by Wilmer Schwabe Pharmaceuticals, or HeartCare, Nature’s Way) have been used in doses of 160 mg to 1800 mg divided and taken in 2-3 doses daily. These doses have been shown to improve symptoms of heart failure in some people, but they have also been shown to increase the risk of death or being hospitalized due to heart failure.

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Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

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