(Crataegus oxyacantha)

Excerpted from:

The Earthwise Herbal, A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants

By Matthew Wood

“Hawthorn has been shown to lower unhealthy cholesterol and high blood pressure.  It apparently does this by improving the deposition of lipids in the walls of the capillaries and in the red blood cells that are squeezed through them.  This cuts down on the irritability of the capillaries, so that the blood passes more quickly and efficiently, thus reducing congestion and heat.  Hawthorn has a normalizing effect on the cholesterols.  This causes more efficient patching on injured capillary surfaces.

 “Hawthorn not only has an affinity for the capillaries and cholesterol, but an elective affinity for the coronary circulation.  The coronary arteries are the site for the most deposition of LDLs because they are made up of triglycerides and it is believed the heart prefers this source over glucose for its sugar.  Thus, the coronary arteries have a tendency to build up the so-called “bad cholesterols.”  Hawthorn probably normalizes this deposition to the right value.  Irritable capillaries, backup of red blood cells, and LDL cholesterol deposition all favor high blood pressure, and hypertrophy of the heart, as it overbuilds itself to pump the blood against these increased pressures.

 “Rudolf Weiss describes Hawthorn as a cardiac tonic, reducing the likelihood of heart attack and relieving the subjective symptoms of discomfort in angina.  It opens the coronary arteries and improves blood flow to the heart, strengthening the myocardium.  It improves the nutrition, activity, energy reserves, and energy release of the heart muscle.  Consequently, it has a beneficial effect in degenerative, age-related changes in structure.  It is useful in cardiac arrhythmias.  By opening the coronary circulation, it can antidote the effects of arteriosclerosis, lower high blood pressure, and increase the health of the heart muscle.

 “By reducing heat Hawthorn lessens restlessness, irritability, anxiety, and nervousness that sometimes accompany cardiac conditions.  It has been cited as a remedy for attention deficit.

 “In recent years Hawthorn has been cited as a remedy for autoimmune disease.  This goes hand in hand with its prominence as a remedy to fight heat and the excited tissue state, which is characterized by such overactivity.  It reduces irritation of the skin, mucosa, and blood vessels.

 “In traditional Chinese medicine Hawthorn is used for sluggish digestion, especially of meat.  It probably acts on the cells of the gut, through which digested lipids have to pass, since the digestate goes through cells walls, not between the cells.  If the cell walls of the gut are slightly dry and lacking in their full measure of fats, it stands to reason they will not assimilate lipids as well.

 “Hawthorn contains flavonoids, procyanidins, and numerous acids.  These constituents are cooling, or antioxidant.  More specifically, the flavonoid rutin is believed to act on the capillaries, reducing wear and tear – thus increasing the passage of blood and removing congestion associated with heat.


SPECIFIC INDICATIONS:  Attention deficit in children and adults, can’t focus, can’t sit down and read, restless, irritable, nervous; insomnia; senile heart, patients with degenerative changes of the cardiac muscle, or with coronary artery disease, anginal symptoms; hypertension, opens the coronary circulation and may reduce arteriosclerotic effects, if not the actual deposits; cardiac arrhythmias, mainly extra systoles and acute tachycardia attacks; weakness of the myocardium; gray pallor of incipient heart attack; indigestion, food sits in the stomach, ferments, and causes heartburn; constipation, atonic lower intestine; nervous stomach; hypoglycemia; low blood pressure.” 

Excerpted from:

The Herbal Handbook, A User’s Guide to Medical Herbalism

By David Hoffmann

 “Hawthorn is one of the best tonic remedies for the whole of the heart and circulatory system.  Such remedies act in a normalizing way upon the heart by either stimulating or depressing its activity depending upon the need.  Hawthorn Berry will help the heart return to normal functioning in a gentle way.  As a long-term treatment, it may safely be used in heart failure or weakness.  It can similarly be used in cases of palpitations.  As a tonic for the circulatory system it finds an important use in the treatment of high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, and angina pectoris.  While it can be very effective in the aiding of these conditions, qualified attention is essential.  It will play a role in any treatment of vessel problems including varicose veins or even varicose ulcers.”



Hawthorn Berry whole or cut

Hawthorn Leaf, Flower, Berry liquid extract


Linda Hall

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