Hawthorn supplement for heart disease and heart failure, review of benefits

March 28 2014

Hawthorn supplement is considered a relatively safe and effective therapy for mild to moderate congestive heart failure in some European countries. In congestive heart failure, the heart has a reduced ability to pump blood effectively, often due to a previous heart attack. 
   Hawthorn has a long history of use in the traditional medicines of Asian, European, and Native American cultures. It has been used for thousands of years as an aid in heart health, and in the early 1800s doctors in America used it in treatment of circulatory and respiratory disorders. In modern times, scientific researchers have found that hawthorn may indeed be very valuable in helping our hearts stay healthy!

Hawthorn Berries, 510 mg, 180 VCaps - Nature's Way
Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha) berries of this European species have been used since ancient times for well-being and as a cardiovascular tonic.

Supplement Facts:
Serving Size: 3 Capsules
Servings Per Container: 60

Amount per Serving
Hawthorn (berry)  1,530 mg


Recommendation: Take 1 or 2 hawthorn capsules 1 or 2  times daily or as recommended by your doctor.

Benefit and review
Today, hawthorn is used primarily for various cardiovascular conditions. The heart and blood vessel effects are believed to be the result of positive inotropic activity, ability to increase the integrity of the blood vessel wall and improve coronary blood flow, and positive effects on oxygen utilization. Flavonoids are thought to account for these effects. Hawthorn has shown promise in the treatment of New York Heart Association functional class II congestive heart failure (CHF) in both uncontrolled and controlled clinical trials. There are also suggestions of a beneficial effect on blood lipids.

What's in the plant?
Hawthorn contains flavonoids, procyanidins, and other active compounds.

How does Hawthorn supplement work?
Hawthorn acts as a vasodilator, increasing blood supply to the heart and improving circulation to the extremities by decreasing arterial resistance. Hawthorn also has positive inotropic and beta-blocking effects, along with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. CoQ10 is a supplement that helps cardiac function.
   Hawthorn can support a well-functioning heart in many ways! It encourages blood flow in the heart and circulation to organs and extremities. This herb has shown promise in increasing the heart's working capacity. It may also provide support for the central nervous system and help maintain normal blood pressure.

Hawthorn extract useful in heart failure
An extract from the leaves of hawthorn tree, available in Europe, extended the lives of patients with congestive heart failure, who were already receiving medical treatment, by an average of 4 months. Results of the 2,681-patient clinical trial that tested the extract known as WS 1442 against a placebo, were done by Dr. Christian Holubarsh, lead investigator of the study that was sponsored by the Germany-based Dr. Willmar Schwabe Group. The extract from the hawthorn tree, which has its origins in Europe and Ireland and grows throughout North America, is a natural antioxidant that has been used in parts of Europe to treat heart failure, a condition in which the heart is no longer able to pump enough blood to the body's other organs. Patients in the trial had severely impaired left ventricular function, indicating advanced congestive heart failure. The primary goal of the study was time to first cardiac event, defined as sudden cardiac death, death due to progressive heart failure, fatal and nonfatal heart attacks or hospitalization due to heart failure. Researchers found that patients who received the extract had a 20 percent reduction in cardiac-related deaths, which translated into four months of added survival time during the first 18 months of the study. They said the lower number of deaths in the WS 1442 group compared with those who received placebo on top of their regular medicines was an indication of the safety of the hawthorn extract.

A randomised double blind placebo controlled clinical trial of a standardized extract of fresh hawthorn bush berries in the treatment of patients with congestive heart failure NYHA II.
   A study shows the efficacy and safety of a standardised extract of fresh berries of hawthorn in patients with cardiac failure. A total of 143 patients (72 men, 71 women, mean age of 64.8) were recruited and treated with 3 times 30 drops of the hawthorn extract or placebo for 8 weeks. The primary variable for the evaluation of efficacy was the change in exercise tolerance determined with bicycle exercise testing, secondary variables included the blood pressure-heart rate product (BHP). In the hawthorn population there was a significant increase in exercise tolerance in both groups between visit 1 and visit 3. The difference between the treatment groups was 8.3 watts in favour of the standardised extract of fresh hawthorn. Changes in BHP at 50 watts and at comparable maximum load were in favor of hawthorn extract but the results are not statistically significant. The subjective assessment of cardiac symptoms at rest and at higher levels of exertion did not change significantly and the patient and investigator overall assessment of efficacy were similar for the two groups. Hawthorn was well tolerated and had a high level of patient acceptability. The significant improvement, due to the fact that dyspnoea and fatigue do not occur until a significantly higher wattage has been reached in the bicycle exercise testing allows the conclusion that the recruited NYHA II patients may expect an improvement in their heart failure condition under long term therapy with the standardised extract of fresh hawthorn berries. Phytomedicine. 2003.

I am a graduate nursing student. Your web site is excellent. I am preparing a poster presentation on the benefits of hawthorn berries in heart disease, especially congestive heart failure and hypertension. Will you send references or related research studies ?
   You can find the latest studies on Medline.

I thought to send along my anecdotal information related to my 'teenager' dog Chester. About 2 years ago Chester's health took a nose dive. For about 5 years he seemed to experience a collapsing trachea cough. This began about the time he was treated for Valley Fever also. Well during a coughing fit two years ago his health took a decided turn for the worse. Within a day or so I had taken him to the emergency clinic. His heart was enlarged and was told he had a leaky valve complication. Chester is half poodle and I was told valve issues are common with poodles. He was also found to have a low thyroid. For the last two years Chester has been faithfully on Lasix, enalapril and thyroid medication. I also have given him COQ10 and hawthorn berry (either liquid or capsule form). I recall 2 summers ago upon having a follow-up xray of his heart being told by his vet that it did not appear as if his heart was enlarged at all. Recently a new vet told me his leaky valve problem is about at a 2-3 stage (that hasn't gotten worse either). Chester still coughs with his collapsing trachea issue. I haven't found an effective herbal remedy for that problem. But he still manages to take a brisk 15 minutes walk around the neighborhood w/o coughing and is doing well for being a 13 year old teenager pup!
   Thank you for sharing this hawthorn supplement experience. It would be difficult to claim the hawthorn berry extract had a role to play since your dog was also on several medications.

Hypertension
Hypotensive effects of hawthorn berries for patients with diabetes taking prescription drugs: a randomised controlled trial.
To investigate the effects of hawthorn berries for hypertension in patients with type 2 diabetes taking prescribed drugs. Patients with type 2 diabetes (n = 79) were randomised to daily 1200 mg hawthorn extract (n = 39) or placebo (n = 40) for 16 weeks. Hypotensive drugs were used by 71% of the study population with a mean intake of 4.4 hypoglycaemic and/or hypotensive drugs. This is the first randomised controlled trial to demonstrate a hypotensive effect of hawthorn in patients with diabetes taking medication.

What form of Hawthorn extract is best?
The methanol or alcohol extract of hawthorn seems to be more effective.

What is the dosage?
The recommended daily dose of hawthorn is 160 to 900 mg of a native water-ethanol extract of the leaves or flowers (equivalent to 30-169 mg of epicatechin or 3.5-19.8 mg of flavonoids) administered in two or three doses.

What about Hawthorn side effects?
At therapeutic dosages, hawthorn may cause a mild rash, headache, sweating, dizziness, palpitations, sleepiness, agitation, and gastrointestinal symptoms.

Interactions with drugs
Hawthorn may interact with vasodilating medications and may potentiate or inhibit the actions of drugs used for heart failure, hypertension, angina, and arrhythmias.

Nature's Way Hawthorn Berries, 510 mg
Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha) berries of this European species have been used since ancient times for well-being and as a cardiovascular tonic. Recommendation: Take 1 or 2 capsules 1 or 3  times daily, preferably with food, and as recommended by your doctor.

Hawthorn Research published trial
Investigation of the pharmaceutical and pharmacological equivalence of different Hawthorn extracts.

Phytomedicine 2003
Seven Hawthorn extracts were tested in isolated guinea pig aorta rings. The effect on noradrenaline- (10 microM) induced contraction was investigated. The extracts were prepared using ethanol (40 to 70% v/v), methanol (40 to 70% v/v), and water as the extraction solvents. The aqueous-alcoholic extracts displayed similar spectra of constituents. They were characterised by similar procyanidin, flavonoid, total vitexin and total phenols content and by similar TLC fingerprint chromatograms. The aqueous extract, however, showed a different fingerprint and a noticeably lower concentration of procyanidins, flavonoids and total phenols but a similar total vitexin content. All 7 extracts had a relaxant effect on the aorta precontracted by noradrenaline and led to relaxations to 44 until 29% of the initial values. The EC50 values of the aqueous-alcoholic extracts varied between 4.16 and 9.8 mg/l. The results show that Hawthorn extracts with comparable quality profiles were obtained by using aqueous-alcoholic extraction solvents (40 to 70% ethanol or methanol). The hawthorn extracts exerted comparable pharmacological effects. When using water as the extraction solvent, both, the spectrum of constituents and the pharmacological effect, deviated remarkably. It is thus possible to obtain bioequivalent extracts with comparable effect profiles by using 40 to 70% ethanol or methanol as the extraction solvent.


Thyroid problems
Q. Could you please, tell me if a hawthorn supplement has side effects for Grave's disease remission person?
   A. We searched Medline could not find any studies regarding the influence of hawthorn berries on Grave's disease.

I am a 48 yr old obese woman with gall bladder issues. I am taking supplements. I am writing because I have had PSVT since I was 18 and have been on first Toprol XL 50 mg then Cardizem and now Toprol again for the past 2 years because now that I'm over 40 it won't quit on its own and my pulse goes up to 200 bets per minute. Does this medication have any negative affect on the digestion or gall bladder? I'm already the four F's forty, fat, fertile. I really want to get off the medication. My husband takes hawthorn for his atrial fibrillation which he still gets now and then but doesn't have to race to the hospital for a 6 or 12 mg bout of Adenocard. What else can I do? How can I try switching over to Hawthorn (assuming it works) without going into PSVT.
   We can't give individual advice, but you may find information here at
heart palpitations that may be helpful.

I am working with a naturopathic doc but wondered if you can tell me if there is a vitamin k content in hawthorne berry? Do you know of any concerns for taking it along with Coumadin (only for a few more weeks) which I have been on for 4 months.
    We are not aware of vitamin K being present in hawthorn berry supplements and we have not seen any studies combining this herb with warfarin to know what kind of interactions there would be, if any.

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