|The name "hawthorn" is derived from "hedgethorn," reflecting this spiny tree's use as a living fence in much
of Europe. Besides protecting estates from trespassers, hawthorn has also been used medicinally since
ancient times. Roman physicians used hawthorn as a heart drug in the first century A.D., but most of the literature from that period focuses on its symbolic use for religious rites and political ceremonies.
During the Middle Ages, hawthorn was used for the treatment of dropsy, a condition we now call congestive heart failure. It was also used for treating other heart ailments as well as for sore throat.
It is also used in herbal and supplemental blends targeting arrhythmia,
heart attack, cardiomyopathy, hypertension, and many forms of cardiovascular
Hawthorn is also known as:
- Haw ,
- May ,
- English hawthorn,
- May bush,
|WHAT IS HAWTHORN USED FOR?
Hawthorn is widely regarded in modern Europe as a safe and effective treatment for the early stages of congestive heart failure. Although not as potent as that other famous heart herb of
the Middle Ages, foxglove, hawthorn is much safer. The active ingredients in foxglove are the drugs
Digoxin and Digitoxin. However, hawthorn does not appear to have any single active ingredient. This
has prevented it from being turned into a drug.
Like foxglove and the drugs made from it, hawthorn appears to improve the heart's pumping ability. But it offers one very important advantage. Digitalis and some other medications that increase the power
of the heart also make it more irritable and liable to dangerous irregularities of rhythm. In contrast, hawthorn has
the unique property of both strengthening the heart and stabilizing it against arrhythmias by lengthening what is called the refractory
period. This term refers to the short period following a heartbeat during which the heart cannot beat again. Many irregularities of heart rhythm begin with an early beat. Digitalis shortens the
refractory period, making such a premature beat more likely, while hawthorn protects against such
potentially dangerous breaks in the heart's even rhythm. Also, with digitalis the difference between the
proper dosage and the toxic dosage is very small. Hawthorn has an enormous range of safe
dosing. Nevertheless, we don't recommend self-treating congestive heart failure! The disease is simply too
dangerous. There are also medical treatments (such as ACE inhibitors) that have been proven to save lives
in CHF, a benefit that hawthorn may not provide. You need a physician versed in both conventional and
alternative medicine to guide you if you wish to use hawthorn for this condition.
There is one condition in which you may be able to safely use hawthorn as a self-treatment: annoying heart palpitations that have been thoroughly evaluated and
found to be benign. Common symptoms include occasional thumping as well as episodes of racing heartbeat. These may occur without any identifiable
medical cause and may not require any medical treatment, except for purposes of comfort. Although there
is little scientific evidence to support it, many people use hawthorn for this condition.
However, because there are many dangerous kinds of heart palpitations, it is absolutely necessary to get
a thorough checkup first. You should only self-treat with hawthorn after a doctor tells you that you have no medically significant heart problems. Full benefits may take a month or two to develop.
Finally, hawthorn sometimes lowers blood pressure a little, but seldom enough to make a significant
difference. It may be helpful for other heart-related conditions, such as angina and atherosclerosis in general, but there is as yet
little direct evidence.
|WHAT IS THE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE FOR USING HAWTHORN?
There has been a significant amount of solid research regarding the use of hawthorn as a treatment for
congestive heart failure. Between
the years 1981 and 1994, 14 controlled clinical studies of hawthorn were performed, most of them double-blind. A total of 741 people participated in these trials. The cumulative results strongly suggest that hawthorn is an effective treatment for congestive heart failure. Comparative
studies suggest that hawthorn is about as effective as a low dose of the conventional drug "Captopril".
The standard dosage of hawthorn is 100 to 300 mg 3 times daily of an extract standardized to contain about 2 to 3% flavonoids or 18 to 20%
procyanidins. Full effects may take several weeks or even months to develop. Especially for severe heart and cardiovascular
Hawthorn appears to be safe. Germany's Commission E lists no known risks, contraindications, or drug
interactions with hawthorn, and mice and rats have been given phenomenal doses without showing
significant toxicity. However, since hawthorn affects the heart, it shouldn't be combined with other heart
drugs without a doctor's supervision. People with especially low blood pressure should also exercise caution.
Side effects are rare, mostly consisting of mild stomach upset and occasional allergic reactions (skin rash).
|Hawthorn is used for:
|These Symmetry products are Hawthorn formulas that include a blend of herbal and
health supplements that work together for your health, healing, and well