Crataegus oxyacantha (Hawthorn)

Chapter 82 Crataegus oxyacantha (Hawthorn)

Crataegus oxyacantha (family: Rosacea)

Synonym: Crataegus laevigata

Common names: hawthorn, may bush, whitethorn, haw


The pharmacology of crataegus centers on its flavonoid components.2,3 The proanthocyanidins in crataegus are largely responsible for its cardiovascular activities.

Cardiovascular Effects

The beneficial effects of crataegus in the treatment of cardiovascular conditions appear to be a result of the following pharmacologic actions:

Crataegus’s ability to dilate coronary blood vessels has been repeatedly demonstrated in experimental studies. This effect appears to be due to relaxation of vascular smooth muscle by a combination of direct effects on both the vascular endothelium and smooth muscle. In addition, various flavonoid components in crataegus have been shown to inhibit vasoconstriction by various substances, including hypophysin, histamine, and acetylcholine. In addition, procyanidins have been shown to inhibit ACE.2,3,20

Improvement in cardiac metabolism has been demonstrated in humans and animals who have received crataegus extracts.2,3 The improvement is not only a result of increased blood and oxygen supply to the myocardium, but also a result of flavonoid-enzyme interactions. In particular, crataegus extracts and various flavonoid components in crataegus have been shown to inhibit cyclic adenosine monophosphate phosphodiesterase (cAMP-PDE).21 This results in increased levels of cAMP within the myocardium, leading to a positive inotropic effect (i.e., an increase in the force of contraction). This is particularly beneficial in cases of congestive heart failure (CHF) (discussed in the section on “Congestive Heart Failure”).

The procyanidins of crataegus demonstrated a specific inhibition of ACE similar to synthetic ACE inhibitors widely used in the treatment of hypertension.20 The proanthocyanidins that appear to have the highest activity are proanthocyanidins B-5 3,3′-di-O-gallate and C-1 3,3′,3″-tri-O-gallate. It is not surprising that these proanthocyanidins are found in relatively high concentrations in hawthorn berries, flowers, and their extracts.5,6

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Sep 12, 2016 | Posted by in MANUAL THERAPIST | Comments Off on Crataegus oxyacantha (Hawthorn)

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