Can be found in our Heart Mate product.

Herbal Medicine Materia Medica: Hawthorn 

David Hoffmann L. BSc (Hons), MNIMH ©


Crataegus oxyacantha & C. monogyna


Part used:

Whilst the berries are the most often used part of this shrub, the flowers and leaves may also have a role to play.

Constituents :

Its constituents highlight the importance of flavones and flavonoids in many remedies that have a healing impact upon the cardio-vascular system. There are two main groups:


  • Flavonoids - flavonoglycosyls, hyperoside, rutin
  • Oligomeric procyanadins, 1-epicatechol.

This invaluable heart remedies does not contain cardiac glycosides.


Radical scavenger. Medicinally, it is used against capillary fragility and varicosis. A more soluble derivative, hydroxyethylrutoside, is also used clinically. It shows antiviral and antibacterial activities, and it inhibits lens aldose reductase and _5-lipoxygenase. It is a feeding attractant to the beetle Gastrophysa atrocynea, which feeds on Polygonum, but a feeding deterrent to larvae of Heliothis zea. Also, it is a contact oviposition stimulant to the butterfly Papilio xuthus for laying eggs on citrus leaves.

Actions: Cardio-tonic, diuretic, astringent, hypotensive.

Hawthorn is the best known of the cardiac tonics, and possibly the most valuable tonic remedy for the cardiovascular system found in the plant kingdom. The American Herbalist, Ellingwood said of Hawthorn that "... it is superior to any of the well-known and tried remedies at present in use for the treatment of heart disease, because it seems to cure while other remedies are only palliative at best."

It can be considered in most cardio-vascular disease. However, the therapeutic benefits are only gained when a whole plant preparation is used. When the isolated constituents were tested separately in the laboratory, their individual effects were insignificant, whilst the whole plant has unique and valuable properties. Herbal synergy!

Following a four year study commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Health, Hawthorn has gained full recognition as a heart remedy. The monograph concludes that the , it gently increases the strength and normalizes the rhythm of the heartbeat, as well as increasing coronary and myocardial circulation, through a dilation of the coronary arteries.

Its main clinical applications are in the long-term treatment of 'loss of cardiac function', any situation where there is a subjective feelings of congestion and 'oppression' in the heart region, mild arrythmia's and especially for conditions of the ageing heart that do not warrant the use of Foxglove.

Cardio-vascular degenerative disease, angina pectoris, coronary artery disease and associated conditions.

For essential hypertension, used in conjunction with other hypotensives, Hawthorn will maintain the heart in a healthy condition, preventing the development of coronary disease. No toxicity, accumulation or habituation occurs, thus it may be used long term, achieving result entirely safely, especially in the elderly. Most significantly is the finding that no contra-indications or side effects were noted at all.