- Side Effects
- Drug Interactions
- Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
- What Else to Know
Generic Name: hawthorn
Brand and Other Names: aubepine, Chinese hawthorn, crataegus laevigata, English hawthorn, hagthorn, hedgethorn, ladies' meat, maybush, mayflower, maythorn, oneseed hawthorn, shanzha, whitehorn
Drug Class: Herbals
What is hawthorn, and what is it used for?
Hawthorn is a thorny shrub of the rose family (Crataegus species) and has been used as a medicinal herb since ancient times. All parts of the hawthorn plant including the leaves, flowers, and berries have been used in traditional medicine to treat many conditions such as congestive heart failure, irregular heart rhythms, circulatory disorders, high cholesterol, anxiety and indigestion. Hawthorn berries are used in jams, jellies, candies and wine.
Hawthorn contains compounds such as flavonoids and procyanidins, which are responsible for hawthorn’s medicinal effects. The effects of these compounds include:
- Antioxidant activity, scavenging free radicals and preventing tissue damage that they cause
- Increase in the strength of heart muscle contraction and dilation of blood vessels which improves coronary blood flow and reduces peripheral vascular resistance
- Inhibition of oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and formation of plaques in the arteries (atherosclerosis)
- Inhibition of platelet aggregation and slowing down of blood clotting process
- Depression of central nervous system (CNS)
The suggested uses of hawthorn include the following conditions:
- Congestive heart failure
- Irregular heart rhythms (cardiac arrhythmias)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
- High levels of cholesterols in blood (dyslipidemia)
- Chest pain (angina)
- Buerger’s disease, a condition that causes blood vessel inflammation and blood clots
- Tapeworm infections
Although hawthorn has been used for treating multiple conditions traditionally, the most significant evidence for its clinical benefits is the use in chronic congestive heart failure. There is insufficient evidence for many of its other traditional uses.
- Do not take if you are allergic to hawthorn or any of its components
- Use hawthorn with caution if you are taking prescription drugs to treat heart disease or high blood pressure
- Use with caution if you are taking any CNS depressant medication
What are the side effects of hawthorn?
Common side effects of hawthorn include:
- Sleeplessness (insomnia)
- Nasal bleeding (epistaxis)
- Circulatory disturbances
- Gastrointestinal disturbances
This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug.
Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What are the dosages of hawthorn?
There isn't enough reliable information to know what might be an appropriate dose of hawthorn.
- Three times daily after meals; 1 teaspoon of leaves and flowers/ 8 oz boiling water
- Dried powder: 300-1000 mg orally three times daily
- Liquid extract: 0.5-1 ml orally three times daily
- Tincture: 1-2 ml orally three times daily
- Solid extract: 1/4-1/2 teaspoon orally once/day
- Syrup: 1 teaspoon orally two to three times daily
- Extract: 160-900 mg/d orally div two to three times daily
- Powder: 200-500 mg orally three times daily
- Tincture: 20 drops orally two to three times daily
- Extract standardized to 1.8% vitexin-4-rhamnoside or 20% procyanidins
- Up to 2 weeks of treatment necessary to produce observable effects
- Overdose of hawthorn may cause symptoms that include dizziness, drowsiness, low blood pressure, and irregular heart rhythms.
- In case of overdose, seek medical help or contact Poison Control.
What drugs interact with hawthorn?
Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.
- Hawthorn has no known severe interactions with other drugs.
- Serious interactions of hawthorn include:
- Hawthorn has moderate interactions with at least 51 different drugs.
- Hawthorn has no known mild interactions with other drugs.
The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- There is insufficient information on the safety of hawthorn use during pregnancy and breastfeeding; avoid use
What else should I know about hawthorn?
- Hawthorn is generally safe in recommended doses.
- Heart disease is a serious condition; seek medical help, do not self-treat with hawthorn.
- Hawthorn may interact with certain medications; consult with your doctor before taking hawthorn.
- Hawthorn is marketed as an herbal supplement and is not as stringently regulated by the FDA as prescription drugs are; use with caution.
Hawthorn is used in traditional medicine to treat congestive heart failure, irregular heart rhythms, circulatory disorders, high cholesterol, anxiety, and indigestion. Common side effects of hawthorn include vertigo, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, sweating, headache, palpitations, sleeplessness (insomnia), agitation, nasal bleeding (epistaxis), circulatory disturbances, and gastrointestinal disturbances. Avoid using hawthorn if pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not self-treat with hawthorn. Consult with your doctor before taking.
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