The safety and efficacy Hawthorne Berry has not been established. There is no clear evidence that use of Hawthorne Berry is beneficial. Conventional treatments such as ACE inhibitors or digoxin offer better data to support their use.
Hawthorne Berry does appear to have fewer side effects, but these side effects could act cumulatively with other cardioactive agents, so combination therapy with Hawthorne berry should not be recommended.
Hawthorne Berry (Craaegus oxyacantha), is a small fruit bearing plant that is found in North America, parts of Asia and Europe and is a member of the Rosaceae family. Hawthorne Berry has a long history, and was first used in the thirteenth century for the treatment of nausea and vomiting. The Chinese used the berries for the treatment of digestive aliments. Hawthorne Berry was then used in the eighteenth century for the treatment of kidney disorders. In 1896 the herb was first used in the United States for the treatment of cardiovascular disorder such as; angina, hypertension, arrhythmia, hyperlipidemia and congestive heart failure. Since that time it as been shown that Hawthorne Berry can be part of an effective drug therapy treatment plan in patients with congestive heart failure and other cardiac disorders.
Hawthorne Berry grows as a shrub or a small tree in sunny wooded areas. Its defining characteristics are its shiny green leaves, grayish bark and clustered white flowers. The fruit of plant is a bright red when ripe or sometime black.
Precautions and Possible Complications
Hawthorne Berry is not approved by the FDA and is listed as an herbal supplement with unknown safety or efficacy. Hawthorne Berry contains chemicals that may increase the force of heart beats as well as decrease their rates. It also works same manner as the heart medication digoxin thus, taking these two medications together is not recommend. In addition, Hawthorne Berry may relax the muscles of the uterus, and should not be taken by women who are pregnant or breast feeding.
Due to ’s ability to change the force and rate of heart beats, it may increase the side of effects of the following medications:
Albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin, Accuneb, others)
Clonidine (Catapres, Catapres TTS, Combipres)
Phenylephrine (Various OTC products)
Theophylline (Theo-Dur, Theodrine, Quibron T, others)
Comparison to Conventional Treatments:
There are several FDA approved medications to treat cardiovascular disorders, for our purposes we will focus on Digoxin, and ACE-inhibitors for the treatment of congestive heart failure. In the following table efficacy, adverse effects, treatment, safety, and cost are compared.
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