Hawthorn Crataegus laevigata

What is Hawthorn Crataegus laevigata

Hawthorn is a herb whose use in medicine for the treatment of heart conditions dates back to the 17th century.

Hawthorn is obtained from the leaves, flowers, and/or fruit of Crataegus spp.: C. laevigata, also known as C. oxyacantha, and C. monogyna of the family Rosaceae. The plant has been cultivated since ancient times, and is indigenous to Europe, North America, and Africa.

Clinical studies in Europe of the proprietary LI 132 (Faros® 300) and WS 1442 hawthorn extracts have demonstrated evidence of symptomatic improvements in blood pressure, edema, fatigue, heart rate, and exercise tolerance in patients with mild cardiac insufficiency, defined as New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class II.

The actions of hawthorn are reported to develop very slowly with chronic use; it may take 4—6 weeks to see full clinical effect.

No comparative data are available to assess the efficacy of hawthorn as compared to digoxin; hawthorn was reported to be as beneficial to stress tolerance as captopril in one double-blind German trial. Germany’s Commission E has approved standardized extracts of the combination of hawthorn leaf and flower for NYHA functional class II heart failure.

Other extracts of the hawthorn plant, including the berries, are not approved by Germany’s Commission E.

Due to lack of trials maintaining standards of good clinical practices (GCP), other cardiac indications for hawthorn, such as the treatment of angina or arrhythmias, cannot be supported at this time.

Many specialists caution against self-medication with hawthorn for any cardiac condition; prescription and observation by a health care professional is recommended.

Standardized hawthorn extracts meeting the pharmaceutical requirements of the German Commission E are not yet available in the US.

Indications

  • heart failure

For the treatment of New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class II heart failure

Side Effects

  1. anaphylactoid reactions
  2. arrhythmia exacerbation
  3. contact dermatitis
  4. dizziness
  5. drowsiness
  6. hypotension
  7. nausea
  8. palpitations
  9. pruritus
  10. rash
  11. syncope
  12. vomiting

Monitoring Parameters

  • laboratory monitoring not necessary

Contraindications

  • angina
  • breast-feeding
  • cardiac arrhythmias
  • cardiac disease
  • children
  • heart failure
  • hepatic disease
  • infants
  • pregnancy
  • QT prolongation
  • renal disease
  • renal failure
  • renal impairment
  • surgery

Interactions

There are no drug interactions associated with Hawthorn Crataegus laevigata products.

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