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Hawthorn Berry

Crataegus oxyacantha

Hawthorn flowers and berries have been used primarily as heart and circulatory tonics and mild diuretics for heart disorders including congestive heart failure, angina, and hypertension. The pharmacology of hawthorn centres on its flavonoid components, the proanthocyanidins (OPCs).


One to three capsules daily, or as recommended. Many doctors recommend 80-300 mg of the herbal extract in capsules or tablets two to three times per day. A meta-analysis reviewing eight clinical trials from 1989 to 1994 found standardised hawthorn extract to be effective over the entire daily dosage range of 160mg-900mg. In tincture form 4-5ml three times daily is recommended. Hawthorn is slow acting and may take one to two months for maximum effects to be seen. However, it appears to be safe and should be considered a long-term therapy.

Potential applications

Cardiovascular disorders - hypertension / hypotension, palpitations, congestive heart failure, atherosclerosis, angina, capillary congestion, cardiac arrhythmia. Hawthorn has been shown to exert anti-inflammatory effects by reducing acne and improving skin hydration in seborrhoeic conditions. Known to be useful in peripheral circulatory disorders such as arteritis and Raynaud's disease. Can help reduce blood levels of pyruvic and lactic acids.

Known contraindications

There are no apparent restrictions to use of hawthorn during pregnancy or breast-feeding.


No adverse effects from ingestion of hawthorn are expected. Hawthorn may act in synergy with digitalis glycosides and beta blockers. Modification of drug dosage may be required. Although adverse effects are not generally anticipated from this interaction it is advisable to seek physician guidance.

Use in conjunction with

  • Hypertension - potassium with magnesium, Coenzyme Q10, multi-phytonutrient complex, ester-C, flax seed oil.


Anthocyanidin compounds found in hawthorn are closely related to that of grape seed, pine bark, and many fruits such as berries e.g. bilberry, blueberry, and cranberry.


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