Hawthorn is used for diseases of the heart and blood vessels such as congestive heart failure (CHF), chest pain, and irregular heartbeat. It is also used to treat both low blood pressure and high blood pressure, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), and high cholesterol. So far, research suggests that hawthorn might be effective in treating congestive heart failure, but there hasn’t been enough research on other heart-related uses to know if it is effective for them.
Some people use hawthorn for digestive system complaints such as indigestion, diarrhea, and stomach pain. It is also used to reduce anxiety, as a sedative, to increase urine output, and for menstrual problems.
Hawthorn is also used to treat tapeworm and other intestinal infections.
You will find hawthorn among the ingredients in candied fruit slices, jam, jelly, and wine.
Before taking hawthorn, talk with your healthcare professional if you take any medications. It has major interactions with several prescription medications.
Possibly Effective for
- Heart failure. Some specific hawthorn products (Faros 300 by Lichtwer Pharma, Crataegutt forte by Wilmer Schwabe Pharmaceuticals, or HeartCare, Nature’s Way) seem to improve some heart failure symptoms in some people with mild to moderate heart failure. However, other research shows that these products may actually worsen heart failure and increase the risk of death or hospitalization.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Anxiety. There is some evidence that hawthorn, combined with magnesium and California poppy (a product called Sympathyl, which is not available in the U.S.), might be useful in treating mild to moderate anxiety disorders.
- Chest pain ("angina"). Some research suggests that taking hawthorn might reduce chest pain.
- High blood pressure Some research shows that hawthorn might reduce blood pressure, but other research shows no benefit.
- Decreased heart function.
- Blood circulation problems.
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias).
- Low blood pressure.
- High cholesterol.
- Muscle spasms.
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of hawthorn for these uses.