Crataegus - Hawthorn
Martindale�s 24th and Potters Cyclopedia
Compiled and Edited by Ivor Hughes

Martindales 24th:
Crataegus Oxyacantha. English Hawthorn; Haw; Aub�pine.
0�3 to 1 g. (5 to 15 grains).
The dried fruit of Crataegus oxyacantha (C. monogyna and C, oxyacanthoides) (Rosaceae). It has been employed as a tincture (1 in 2�5, by maceration with alcohol 70% ), as a liquid extract (1 in 1) and as an infusion (1 in 10).

Foreign Pharmacopoeias : Chil., Fr., and Span. include the dried flowers. Fr. includes a tincture (1 in 5) and a liquid extract (1 in 1) of the flowers.

Uses. Crataegus was formerly employed in the treatment of heart disease but is of doubtful value' Pharmacologically there are considerable similarities between the actions of tincture of crataegus and tincture of digitalis. Clinically, however, tincture of crataegus has little effect in slowing the heart-rate and does not promote diuresis.

On the other hand it reduces blood pressure, and in 10 cases of hypertension treated with 60 minims of tincture of crataegus 3 times daily, there was a uniform lowering of the systolic and diastolic blood pressure. It is not cumulative and after treatment is stopped the blood pressure returns to its previous level.- J. W. I'. Graham, Brit. med. J., ii/1939, 951. Value in hypertension confirmed.- F. Bodman, ibid., I022.


Potters Cyclopedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations 1988.

HAWTHORN Crataegus oxyacanthoides Thuill. C. monogyna Jacq. Fam. Rosaceae
Haw, May, Whitethorn.
A common British and European hedge plant.

Description: A hairless, thorny, deciduous shrub with 3-5 lobed leaves, bearing white, dense clusters of flowers followed by deep red false fruits containing one seed (in C. monogyna,) or two seeds (in C. oxycanthoides). The flowers appear in early summer and the berries or "haws" in September.

Part Used: Berries, leaves, flowers.

Constituents: (i) Amines; phenethylamine, o-methoxyphenethylamine and tyramine, in the flowers [659] (ii) Flavonoids; vitexin,

Vitexin - 4 - rhamnoside, quercetin and quercetin � 3 - galactoside, in the flowers, leaves and buds [660] (iii) Phenolic acids including chlorogenic, 2 - phenylchromone derivatives in the flowers, leaves and buds [661] (iv) Miscellaneous: tannins, ascorbic acid [2, 37].

Medicinal Use: Cardiac tonic, hypotensive, antisclerotic. Animal studies have shown beneficial effects on coronary blood flow, blood pressure and heart rate [662]; at least some of these properties are thought to be due to the amines present [659].

A recent clinical study of 80 patients in Japan showed statistically significant improvement in cardiac function, oedema and dyspnoea in patients treated with a preparation made from the fruits and leaves [663].

Crataegus species have been described as sedatives [664], however the method of testing for this has been disputed [665] so evidence is not yet available.

Preparations: Liquid Extract, dose: 0.5 - 1 ml. Potter's Products: Cardivallin Tablets, Heart Drops. Regulatory Status: P.

659 Wagner, H. and Grevel, J. (1982) Planta Med. 45, 98
660 Ficarra, P. et al. (1984) Farm. Ed. Prat. 39 (5) 148
661 Ficarra, P. et al. (1984) Farm. Ed. Prat. 39 (10) 342
662 Ammon, H. P. T. and Handel, M. (1981) Planta Med. 43, 105, 209 and 313
663 Iwamoto, M. et al. (1981) Planta Med. 42 (1), 1
664 Rewerski, W. et al. (1971) Arzneim. Forsch. 21, 886
665 Beretz, A. et al. (1980) Planta Med. 39 (3), 241