Hawthorn Berry (Crateagus Oxycanthus)

Hawthorn Berry Benefits

Used to promote the health of the circulatory system, treat angina, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia and has been found to strengthen the heart. Hawthorn is widely regarded in Europe as a safe and effective treatment for the early stages of heart disease and has been used for a number of ailments including angina, myocarditis, arteriosclerosis, nervous conditions like insomnia, and diarrhea. It has also been indicated for strengthening blood vessels, vascular insufficiency and blood clots, restoring the heart muscle wall, lowering cholesterol and to aid digestion.

Hawthorn is widely regarded in Europe as a safe and effective treatment for the early stages of heart disease and is endorsed by Commission E- the branch of the German government that studies and approves herbal treatments. It is used to promote the health of the circulatory system and has been found useful in treating angina, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia. It has been found to strengthen the heart and stabalise it against arrythmias.

There is also evidence for cardiovascular system improvement, particularly in clinical parameters associated with angina, congestive heart failure and acute myocardial infarct. This may be due to the herb's antioxidant activity. Its use in the treatment of hepatitis in modern Chinese medicine is supported by the demonstration of hepatoprotective activity in animal studies.

Animal and laboratory studies have found that hawthorn contains active compounds with antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that scavenge free radicals; damaging compounds in the body that alter cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Free radicals occur naturally in the body, but environmental toxins (including ultraviolet light, radiation, cigarette smoking, and air pollution) can also increase their number.

Free radicals are believed to contribute to the ageing process as well as the development of a number of health problems including heart disease. Antioxidants found in hawthorn can neutralise free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.

Congestive heart failure

Hawthorn has primarily been studied in people with congestive heart failure (a health condition in which the heart is unable to pump adequate amounts of blood to other organs in the body). Of six well-designed trials, four studies concluded that hawthorn significantly improved heart function and three found that the herb improved patients' ability to exercise. Patients in five of the six studies reported that hawthorn significantly improved symptoms of the disease (such as shortness of breath and fatigue). One study found that hawthorn extract (900 mg/day) taken for 2 months was as effective as low doses of captropril (a leading heart medication) in improving symptoms of congestive heart failure. A large-scale international study is currently under way to determine whether hawthorn extract reduces the risk of death in people with this disease.


Animal and laboratory studies demonstrate that this herb has antioxidant properties that help protect against the formation of plaques, which leads to a health problem known as atherosclerosis. Plaque buildup in the vessels that supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood may cause chest pain (angina) and heart attacks while plaque buildup in the arteries that supply blood to the brain may result in stroke.

Chest pain

Hawthorn berry preparations have been shown to combat chest pain (angina), a health problem caused by insufficient blood flow to the heart. In one early study, 60 angina patients were given either 180 mg/day of hawthorn berry-leaf-flower extract or placebo for 3 weeks. Those who received the hawthorn preparation experienced improved blood flow to the heart and were also able to exercise for longer periods of time without suffering from chest pain.

High cholesterol

Studies using rats suggest that a hawthorn tincture (made from the berries) may be a powerful agent for the removal of LDL ("bad") cholesterol from the bloodstream. The tincture of hawthorn berries also reduced the production of cholesterol in the liver of rats who were being fed a high-cholesterol diet. Studies to determine if hawthorn will confer the same effects in people are needed.

High blood pressure

Although hawthorn has not been studied specifically in people with high blood pressure, considerable evidence supports the cardiovascular benefits of this herb. Studies suggest that hawthorn can be taken safely by people with hypertension who are also taking blood pressure medications.

Hawthorn Berry Herb Notes / Side Effects

Latin Name

Crateagus oxycanthus

Common Names

English hawthorn, Haw (Black Haw is Viburnum pruifolium L.), May, May blossom, May bush, May tree, Quick-set, Shan-cha, Thorn-apple tree, Whitethorn


Astringent, antispasmodic, cardiotonic, carminative, diuretic, sedative, stimulant, vasodilator

Biochemical Information

Anthocyanin-type pigments, choline, citric acid, cratagolic acid, rich in bioflavonoids, flavonoid glycosides, tannins, glavone, glycosides, inositol, PABA, purines, saponins, sugar, tartaric acid, minerals and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12, and C.

Indicated for

Valve prolapse, angina, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, myocarditis, arteriosclerosis. Hawthorn can normalise blood pressure by regulating heart action; extended use can lower blood pressure. Good for heart muscle weakened by age. Can help strengthen blood vessels, reduce palpitations, help prevnt vascular insufficiency, blood clots (embolism, phlebitis). Dilates coronary vessels to restore the heart muscle wall. Lowers cholesterol. Good for nervous conditions like insomnia. Aids digestion. Relieves abdominal distention and diarrhea, food stagnation, abdominal tumors and is good for dropsy.

Though non-toxic, hawthorn can produce dizziness if taken in large doses.

Hawthorn contains heart-affecting compounds that may affect blood pressure and heart rate. Seek medical supervision if you suffer from a heart condition or are taking heart related medication.

Avoid if colitis or ulcers are present.

There are no known scientific reports on the pediatric use of hawthorn. Therefore, it is not currently recommended for children.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, do not use hawthorn.

Avoid if you are using Digoxin or Phenylephrine.

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Chuck 's avatar  Chuck 27/03/2015 01:41

I found out about 10 years ago I had Hi Blood Pressure and the doctor put me on two different meds full strength. I took them for about a year or two and heard about Hawthorn berry and started taking 4000 mg a day and watch my BP start coming down and reduced my meds accordingly. After 3 or 4 months I was off all meds and my BP is around 127 over 67. I am now 78 yrs and feel 40. I am a believer.

Cameron 's avatar  Cameron 22/03/2015 20:08

My doctor was informed of the hawthorn berry and I was told to continue taking it with the Amlodipine Besylate, this will help control my B P. Thanks for the reply.

Laurie Priest 's avatar  Laurie Priest 23/09/2010 13:22

I am looking forward to using this herb with or without the crap I am on now it was ok in the case of an emergency when I had a stroke in October but after 6 months of being on Labetolol, Enalapril, Verapamil and Hydrochlorothiazide I can't have a decent night's sleep my bones ache, I lost half of my tooth I have no will to live and no strenghth. I am always
urinating getting all my clothes dirty even my skin looks terrible plus I am gaining wieght! No way am I going to continue taking these prescriptions.

22 people liked this.
Bill_page_ab 's avatar  Bill_page_ab 04/10/2010 15:59

I have been using wild hawthorn berries for trreatment of stroke for the past 2 years. Since beginning I have had no further symptoms or problems of any sort.
Blood pressure is as low as 111 over 74 which for a person of my age [68] is
considered to be well above excellant. I am athlectic and run 5km almost every day.I'll eat hawthorns till I die because of overall health improvewment. B. Page.

18 people liked this.
Serenity82108 's avatar  Serenity82108 10/03/2011 19:42

Hi, this is 70 yo w/f - been taking Hawthorn Berries Extract 141 mg. std. to 1.8% Vitexin with additional 424 mg. Hawthorn included in the same capsule for about 12 years. Began taking this after congestive heart failure secondary to viral myocarditis @ that same time. This all followed an ablation of SVT. As of today, my BP is completely normal, as is my heart function (perfect output) Never have taken subsequent BP meds or any sort of cardiac meds. Very thankful God for this. Hope this info. is helpful to someone. Thank you.

16 people liked this.
Kimandcat_33 's avatar  Kimandcat_33 04/10/2010 00:40

This Herb Sure Helps Circulation and palpitations if they bother you try this, you wont be sorry..

13 people liked this.
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