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  Hawthorn (Crataegus oxycantha)  
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The hawthorn berry and flowering-top extract is widely used by physicians in Europe for their effect on the cardiovascular system. Studies have shown hawthorn extracts to be helpful in reducing angina attacks by dilating the coronary vessels, as well as improvement of the metabolic processes in the heart. They also lower blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels.

As the amount of active ingredients can vary from product to product, standardized extracts are the preferred form. The dosage for hawthorn extracts standardized to contain 1.8 percent vitexin-4'-rhamnoside or 10% procyanidins is 100 to 250mg tid.


Hawthorn (Crataegus oxycantha) can help with the following:
Circulation  Congestive Heart Failure
 In 1,011 patients with stage II cardiac insufficiency, a standardized hawthorn extract containing 84mg of oligomeric procyanidins improved ejection fraction and resting pulse rate, and produced a reduction in cardiac arrhvthmias. Duration of the study was 24 weeks. [Eur J Heart Fail 2000;2(4): pp.431-437]

Clinical trials with an extract (WS 1442) have successfully demonstrated improved cardiac function and improved quality of life primarily in patients with early stage CHF. For the treatment of early stage CHF, the effective daily dosage of WS 1442 (standardized to 18.75% oligomeric procyanidins) has ranged from 160-900 mg per day, divided in 2-3 doses. Benefit has been shown in the 160-480mg per day range. [Fortschr Med 1996;114: pp.291-6]

 Hawthorn is particularly recommended. Proanthocyanadins stabilize collagen to prevent cholesterol deposits on arterial walls, prevent free radical damage, reduce peripheral vascular resistance, angina, cholesterol, and increase coronary and myocardial perfusion; hawthorn has a historic use in congestive heart failure; dosage 3 to 5gm as either dried herb, solid extract, or liquid extract.

Ginkgo (250mg tid) is also recommended. Concentrated extracts may be required to achieve the recommended doses. In addition, a tincture (30 to 60 drops tid) or tea (1 cup tid) of one to four of the suggested herbs, taken before meals, may be helpful.

 Hawthorn can be an effective therapy for congestive heart failure, which is the main complication of cardiomyopathy. The clinical trials with heart failure patients have demonstrated efficacy using 80-300mg per day of standardized extract of hawthorn per day (containing > 2% vitexins). A study of cardiomyopathy and hawthorn has yet to be done.

 Hawthorn has been used traditionally for treating arrhythmias, although its use for this purpose has not been studied in humans.


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