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Hawthorn: Herbal Medications, What Works

Hawthorn (Crataegus species) has long been used as a longevity remedy in China, and has now found favor in Europe and the United States. Hawthorn is presently the plant medicine of choice in Europe for regulating heart functions. It has a long history of use, and a high level of safety, with clinical evidence to support its cardiovascular benefits, especially its cardiotonic activity.

Many German studies document its effectiveness in treating heart disease.

  • From a 1993 RCT by Leuchtgens of 30 patients with stage II heart conditions, patients receiving hawthorn showed significant improvement in exercise tolerance, and also mild reduction in blood pressure.

  • During an intervention by Weikl of 136 patients with stage II cardiac insufficiency, patients receiving hawthorn showed a statistically significant improvement in blood pressure and heart rate output, with improvement in quality of life.

  • Based on an eight-week German study by Schmidt, which used high daily doses of hawthorn (900 mg), the symptoms of heart failure decreased by a mean of 66 percent by the end of treatment, with stage I cardiac insufficiency patients becoming largely symptom-free.

  • Hawthorn has also been shown by Hanack and Bruckel to help combat anginal pain, which results from insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle.

 

With growing public awareness of the benefits of hawthorn in treating heart disease, healthy individuals are also beginning to use the herb as a heart tonic, for prevention, and for minor heart problems. Caution is advised in self-medication of heart problems, since any heart symptoms should receive professional medical attention. Until cardiologists become more familiar with the benefits of this safe botanical remedy, however, it is likely that hawthorn will usually be self-prescribed.

 

 

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From THE BEST ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: WHAT WORKS? WHAT DOES NOT? by Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier.

 

Copyright © 2000 by Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier, Inc.

Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York, New York.

 


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