Hawthorne Supplement Review

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  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Congestive heart failure
0 (Effectiveness Unclear)
Heart arrhythmia
0 (Effectiveness Unclear)
0 (Effectiveness Unclear)


  • Hawthorne, an antioxidant from the leaves of the European hedge plant, has shown benefit in patients with mild to moderate heart failure.
  • Hawthorne has some use in preventing palpitations and hypertension by improving blood flow and stabilizing the heart’s conduction system.
  • Hawthorne is generally safe. Side effects are rare.
  • Hawthorne can be considered for use in conjunction with standard therapy. It should not be chosen in place of standard prescription therapy, but may be useful in patients who cannot tolerate those drugs.


  • There is contradictory evidence about the effects of hawthorne extract in heart failure patients. While some research showed benefit, other clinical research suggested possible harm. In one large trial, there was no improvement in rates of hospitalization or heart attacks. In another, patients who took hawthorne, as opposed to placebo, had higher rates of heart failure, hospitalization, and even death.
  • Hawthorne should not be chosen over standard prescription therapy for heart failure. It does not out-treat any side drugs.
  • Side effects, while rare, include dizziness, stomach upset, and skin rash.
  • No long-term studies exist, which is a concern because heart problems are not usually transient.

The potential exists for serious interaction with a number of very commonly used medicines, including nitrates, erectile dysfunction medicines such as Viagra, and four major classes of blood pressure medicines. Do not use it without first consulting with your doctor.

DOSAGE:300 to 600 mg 3 times daily of an extract standardized to contain about 2% to 3% flavanoids or 18% to 20% procyanidins.

CONCLUSION:We conclude that the evidence for hawthorne is conflicting, and congestive heart failure is too dangerous to rely on self-treatment with over-the-counter, alternative medicines. It should always be used with a physician familiar with its use. Until more is known, patients should not use hawthorne.

“Hawthorn.” Natural Standard –The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Natural Standard, 2013.
“Hawthorn.” Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2013. 8 November 2013.
Hawthorne. EBSCO Publishing (2011)1-5
Zick, S. et al. The effect of Crataegus oxycantha special extract WS 1442 on clinical progression in patients with mild to moderate symptoms of heart failure. European Journal of Heart Failure (2008) 10: 587-593
Dalli, E. et al. Crataegus laevigata decreases neutrophil elastase and has hypolipidemic effect: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Phytomedicine (2011) 18, 769-775
Bubik, M. et al. A novel approach to prevent endothelial hyperpermeability: The Crataegus extract WS® 1442 targets the cAMP/Rap1 pathway. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology (2012) 52, 196-205
Holubarsch, C. et al. The efficacy and safety of Crataegus extract WS® 1442 in patients with heart failure: The SPICE trial. European Journal of Heart Failure (2008) 10, 1255-1263
Zick, S. et al. Hawthorn Extract Randomized Blinded Chronic Heart Failure (HERB CHF) Trial. European Journal of Heart Failure (2009) 11, 990-999

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