Herbs in the hawthorn family have been used in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.1 Clinical studies have found that standardized extracts of these herbs show promise as supplementary agents for the treatment of left ventricular dysfunction.2-5 Other trials consistently demonstrate hawthorn’s ability to improve exercise tolerance as well as symptoms associated with mild to moderate CHF.6,7 Its effectiveness has been demonstrated repeatedly in double-blind studies.2,4,8 Hawthorn extract shows some beneficial effects in animal and human studies, including enhanced heart pumping efficiency (improved contractility), ACE inhibition, antidysrhythmic effects, and mild reduction in systemic vascular resistance.
1. Fong HH, Bauman JL. Hawthorn. J Cardiovasc Nurs 2002 Jul;16(4):1-8.
2. Schmidt U, et al. Efficacy of the hawthorn (Crataegus) preparation LI 132 in 78 patients with chronic congestive heart failure defined as NYHA functional class II. Phytomedicine 1994 1:17-24.
3. Weikl A, Assmus KD, Neukum-Schmidt A, et al. Crataegus Special Extract WS 1442. Assessment of objective effectiveness in patients with heart failure (NYHA II). Fortschr Med 1996 Aug 30;114(24):291-6.
4. Leuchtgens H. Crataegus Special Extract WS 1442 in NYHA II heart failure. A placebo controlled randomized double-blind study. Fortschr Med 1993 111(20- 21):352-4.
5. Tauchert M, Gildor A, Lipinski J. High- dose Crataegus extract WS 1442 in the treatment of NYHA stage II heart failure. Herz 1999 24(6):465-74.
6. Busse W. Standardized Crataegus extract clinical monograph. Q Rev Nat Med 1996 189-97.
7. Weihmayr T, Ernst E. Therapeutic effectiveness of Crataegus. Fortschr Med 1996 114(1-2):27-9.
8. O’Conolly VM, et al. Treatment of cardiac performance (NYHA stages I to II) in advanced age with standardized cratae gus extract. Fortschr Med 1986 104:805-8.