Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha) is a spiny bush that grows to 25 feet in height, bearing leaves that are divided into three to five lobes and strong-smelling flowers that grow in large bunches. The leaves and flowers contain the flavonoids, hyperoside and vitexin-rhamnoside as well as oligomeric proanthocyanidins. The leaves and flowers are dried, cut, and milled.
Hawthorn may aid in improving heart function (e.g., maximal workload and left ventricular ejection fraction) and preventing symptoms of early chronic heart-failure.1,2 These symptoms may include weakness, fatigue, and palpitations.2 Hawthorn may improve the symptoms of cardiac insufficiency, particularly heart rate and blood pressure.3 Hawthorn may improve cognitive function in the elderly.4 Hawthorn may also improve mild and moderate anxiety disorders and lower bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and HbA1C (glycated hemoglobin) when used in combination with other herbs.5,6
Weihmayr T, Ernst E. [Therapeutic effectiveness of Crataegus]. Fortschr Med. 1996 Jan 20;114(1-2):27-9. Review. German. PubMed PMID: 8647566.
Eggeling T, Regitz-Zagrosek V, Zimmermann A, Burkart M. Baseline severity but not gender modulates quantified Crataegus extract effects in early heart failure–a pooled analysis of clinical trials. Phytomedicine. 2011 Nov 15;18(14):1214-9. PubMed PMID: 21784624.
Leuchtgens H. [Crataegus Special Extract WS 1442 in NYHA II heart failure. A placebo controlled randomized double-blind study]. Fortschr Med. 1993 Jul 20;111(20-21):352-4. German. PubMed PMID: 8375791.
Werner NS, Duschek S, Schandry R. D-camphor-crataegus berry extract combination increases blood pressure and cognitive functioning in the elderly – a randomized, placebo controlled double blind study. Phytomedicine. 2009 Dec;16(12):1077-82. PubMed PMID: 19560327.
Hanus M, Lafon J, Mathieu M. Double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a fixed combination containing two plant extracts (Crataegus oxyacantha and Eschscholtzia californica) and magnesium in mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders. Curr Med Res Opin. 2004 Jan;20(1):63-71. PubMed PMID: 14741074.
Hu M, Zeng W, Tomlinson B. Evaluation of a crataegus-based multiherb formula for dyslipidemia: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:365742. doi: 10.1155/2014/365742. Epub 2014 Apr 16. PubMed PMID: 24834096; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4009229.