Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) is a small thorny tree originally from northwestern Europe. For thousands of years, folk medicine has prescribed hawthorn for a variety of uses, from a sore throat to a troubled heart. Hawthorn is rich in flavonoids and other compounds which are responsible for its benefits to heart health.
The components of hawthorn exert their heart-helping actions in a number of ways. Hawthorn increases the force of heart contractions and blood flow, while reducing the demand for oxygen. It reduces deposits in the arteries, lowers blood pressure, reduces irregular heartbeats, reduces resting pulse rate and lowers cholesterol levels. Clinical trials with hawthorn have confirmed its beneficial effects on the heart, and have found that it can relieve symptoms associated with heart failure. It also increases exercise performance.
Those looking for a single product to support overall cardiovascular health and function should consider hawthorn as a natural alternative.
Hawthorn is used in Herbal Medicine to help maintain optimal cardiovascular health.
|Serving Size: 1 Capsule||Amount|
|Hawthorn extract (2.2% flavonoids as hyperoside)||450 mg|
|Non-medical ingredients: |
lactose monohydrate, sodium stearyl fumarate, rice extract, rice concentrate, silicon dioxide. Capsule: hypromellose.
AOR™ guarantees that all ingredients have been declared on the label. Contains no wheat, gluten, corn, nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, sulphites, mustard, soy, eggs, fish or shellfish.
Take 1 to 2 capsules per day with/without food or as directed by a qualified health care practitioner. Use for a minimum of 2 months to see beneficial effects.
Do not use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Consult a health care practitioner prior to use if you are taking cardiac glycosides such as digitalis/digoxin, or blood pressure medication, or if symptoms persist or worsen.
Crataegus laevigata, leaves and flowers
The information and product descriptions appearing on this website are for information purposes only, and are not intended to provide or replace medical advice to individuals from a qualified health care professional. Consult with your physician if you have any health concerns, and before initiating any new diet, exercise, supplement, or other lifestyle changes.
Medical science is no longer obsessed only with finding newer and better drugs. Now, a lot of research is being done on old medicines, those that were traditionally passed down as remedies, but were never scientifically validated. Sometimes these experiments are surprisingly successful; other times the old stories turn out to be just that: stories. The story of hawthorn, though, is a success story.
Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) is a small thorny tree originally from Europe. For thousands of years, folk medicine has prescribed hawthorn for a variety of uses, from a sore throat to a troubled heart. Now, though, the evidence is in and it seems that, much as some of the stories said, hawthorn has overwhelmingly positive effects for the cardiovascular system.
It’s Just So Much Chemistry
One thing science allows us to do is discover the molecular makeup of a plant, and then to predict some of its effects based on the plant’s chemical composition. Hawthorn is a powerhouse of chemicals shown to help heart health. One such group of chemicals is the flavonoids found within hawthorn. Flavonoids are a unique type of health-giving substance found in plants. More and more science is suggesting that many of the benefits of a diet high in fruits and vegetables may derive from flavonoids, and not just the vitamins and minerals you get in such a diet.
Active Components: Flavonoids
The flavonoids in hawthorn have been shown to possess three distinct and significant effects that are particularly important to those worried about their heart health. Not only do they increase the resiliency of small blood vessels (important in reducing the risk of “bleeding” strokes), but these flavonoids also reduce atherosclerotic deposits and inhibit the activity of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (which increases blood pressure and is consequently targeted by heart drugs called “ACE inhibitors”).
Apart from these valuable flavonoids, hawthorn also contains a number of other substances that have been indicated for improved heart health, such as amines, like o-methyloxyphenynylethylamine, phenethylamine, and isobutylamine, and triterpene acids, such as ursolate, oleanolate, and crategoleate. They may sound complicated and obscure, but some evidence, while not conclusive, suggests that they may be part of hawthorn’s heart-healthy, herbal mixture.
Tried, Tested, and Effective
Hawthorn doesn’t just contain heart-protective ingredients, it’s also been tested extensively in human subjects. Chemistry is a complicated science and, without actual tests in humans, it can be difficult to discover if a substance that is useful by itself is also useful in a complicated formula, food, or herb. In humans, though, hawthorn’s effects are just as promising as its chemical makeup indicates.
Researchers have discovered several properties of hawthorn of extreme importance to anyone concerned about the health of their heart. First among these is hawthorn’s power to lower cholesterol. The liver is central to cholesterol circulation and hawthorn causes the liver to bind more LDL cholesterol, preventing it from reentering the blood stream, and to synthesize less LDL cholesterol in the first place. It also increases the excretion of cholesterol in the bile, causing lower levels of cholesterol in the blood where it can buildup into blood-flow-blocking deposits. At the same time, hawthorn extract has also been shown to prevent the accumulation of high blood lipids and fatty deposits in the liver and aorta, a key factor in atherosclerosis and a result of high cholesterol diets. Hawthorn is also well tolerated, has no known drug interactions, and has extremely low toxicity. All in all, hawthorn shows great potential for the safe and effective treatment of heart problems.
Over a thousand patients with heart problems (an inefficient heart, usually caused by years of high blood pressure, that leads to a buildup of fluid in the lungs) taking standardized hawthorn extract for six months experienced a healthier blood pressure level and resting pulse rate, an increase in maximum exercise performance, and a decrease in depressed ST segments (an indicator of oxygen starvation) and arrhythmia. The researchers in this study found that hawthorn increased what is called ejection fraction, a measure of how fully the heart chambers are emptying themselves of blood with each beat. It also reduced nocturia (nighttime bathroom trips –a common, distressing symptom associated with CHF because of hypertension-induced kidney damage) and shin edema, also a classic symptom noted in heart patients.
Other controlled trials have also shown that hawthorn has clear therapeutic benefits. One double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of hawthorn in subjects with heart problems found that those receiving hawthorn showed improved exercise tolerance, fewer subjective symptoms, a healthier blood pressure (systolic and diastolic), and heart rate. Another trial comparing hawthorn with the blood-pressure lowering drug Captopril found similar significant improvements in exercise tolerance, reduced shin edema, and a large reduction in fatigue and shortness of breath.
Heart health is a concern not only for the older population but for anyone that is concerned about their hearts ability to function effectively and maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels in the body. Some of the common supplements that are used to improve the overall functioning of the heart include: Co-Q10, garlic, resveratrol, vitamin E, and magnesium, among others.
Hawthorn is a well-known herb with a strong history of traditional use and is a staple in the heart-health supplement industry. However, it is important that a hawthorn extract be standardized for the active components in order for it to be most effective.
Hawthorn has long been prescribed as a folk medicine. Now we have a probable explanation for this: because it works. Many traditional herbs and remedies are debunked when analyzed by science. However, hawthorn has gained notoriety as it is researched more for one simple reason; it’s effective. While AOR’s Hawthorn II extract contains an array of flavonoids, it is standardized for hyperosides.
Rigelsky JM, Sweet BV. Am J Health Syst Pharm. Hawthorn: pharmacology and therapeutic uses. 2002 Mar 1;59(5):417-22.
Walker AF, Marakis G, Simpson E, Hope JL, Robinson PA, Hassanein M, Simpson HC. Hypotensive effects of hawthorn for patients with diabetes taking prescription drugs: a randomised contolled trial. Br J Gen Pract. 2006 Jun;56(527):437-43.
Hypotensive effects of hawthorn for patients with diabetes taking prescription drugs: a randomised contolled trial.
Br J Gen Pract. 2006 Jun;56(527):437-43.
Walker AF, Marakis G, Simpson E, Hope JL, Robinson PA, Hassanein M, Simpson HC.
BACKGROUND: Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) leaves, flowers and berries are used by herbal practitioners in the UK to treat hypertension in conjunction with prescribed drugs. Small-scale human studies support this approach.
AIM: To investigate the effects of hawthorn for hypertension in patients with type 2 diabetes taking prescribed drugs.
DESIGN OF STUDY: Randomised controlled trial.
SETTING: General practices in Reading, UK.
METHOD: Patients with type 2 diabetes (n = 79) were randomised to daily 1200 mg hawthorn extract (n = 39) or placebo (n = 40) for 16 weeks. At baseline and outcome a wellbeing questionnaire was completed and blood pressure and fasting blood samples taken. A food frequency questionnaire estimated nutrient intake.
RESULTS: Hypotensive drugs were used by 71% of the study population with a mean intake of 4.4 hypoglycaemic and/or hypotensive drugs. Fat intake was lower and sugar intake higher than recommendations, and low micronutrient intake was prevalent. There was a significant group difference in mean diastolic blood pressure reductions (P = 0.035): the hawthorn group showed greater reductions (baseline: 85.6 mmHg, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 83.3 to 87.8; outcome: 83.0 mmHg, 95% CI = 80.5 to 85.7) than the placebo group (baseline: 84.5 mmHg, 95% CI = 82 to 87; outcome: 85.0 mmHg, 95% CI = 82.2 to 87.8). There was no group difference in systolic blood pressure reduction from baseline (3.6 and 0.8 mmHg for hawthorn and placebo groups, respectively; P = 0.329). Although mean fat intake met current recommendations, mean sugar intake was higher and there were indications of potential multiple micronutrient deficiencies. No herb-drug interaction was found and minor health complaints were reduced from baseline in both groups.
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first randomised controlled trial to demonstrate a hypotensive effect of hawthorn in patients with diabetes taking medication.
Hawthorn: pharmacology and therapeutic uses.
Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2002 Mar 1;59(5):417-22.
Rigelsky JM, Sweet BV.
The uses, pharmacology, clinical efficacy, dosage and administration, adverse effects, and drug interactions of hawthorn are discussed. Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha) is a fruit-bearing shrub with a long history as a medicinal substance. Uses have included the treatment of digestive ailments, dyspnea, kidney stones, and cardiovascular disorders. Today, hawthorn is used primarily for various cardiovascular conditions. The cardiovascular 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 postulated to account for these effects. Hawthorn has shown promise in the treatment of New York Heart Association (NYHA) 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. Trials to establish an antiarrhythmic effect in humans have not been conducted. The recommended daily dose of hawthorn is 160-900 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. At therapeutic dosages, hawthorn may cause a mild rash, headache, sweating, dizziness, palpitations, sleepiness, agitation, and gastrointestinal symptoms. Hawthorn may interact with vasodilating medications and may potentiate or inhibit the actions of drugs used for heart failure, hypertension, angina, and arrhythmias. The limited data about hawthorn suggest that it may be useful in the treatment of NYHA functional class II CHF.
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