Health Guide


What is it?

Hawthorn is an herbal medicine used to treat heart failure, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis (hardening and blocking of the arteries). It may also be used to treat inflammation (in-flah-MAY-shun) or to treat a heart that is not beating normally. Hawthorn may be used to improve joint health.

Other names for hawthorn include: Crataegus , Chinese hawthorn, Maybush, and Whitethorn.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease


Talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse about how much hawthorn you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking hawthorn. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more hawthorn or take it more often than what is written on the directions.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions:

Do not take hawthorn without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Blood thinning medicines (examples: aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix(R)))
  • Heart medicine (example: digoxin (Lanoxin®))


  • Before taking hawthorn, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Children under 12 years should not use hawthorn

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects.

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing, or rash.

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Large amounts of hawthorn can cause irregular or extra heart beats
  • Nausea (upset stomach)
  • Tiredness, sweating, or a hand rash
  • Dizziness, hot flashes, or a headache


1. Anon: Hawthorn monograph. In: Olin BR (ed): The Lawrence Review of Natural Products. Facts and Comparisons Inc, St. Louis, MO; 1994.

2. Anon: Review of Natural Products. In: Facts and Comparisons. Wolters Klewer, St. Louis, MO, 1994a.

3. Chen JD, WU YZ, Tao ZL et al: Hawthorn (shan zha) drink and its lowering effect on blood lipid levels in humans and rats. World Rev Nutr Diet 1995; 77:147-154.

4. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R et al: Botanical Safety Handbook. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL; 1997.

5. Newall CA, Anderson LA & Phillipson JD: Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. The Pharmaceutical Press, London, UK; 1996.

6. Pittler MH, Schmidt K & Ernst E: Hawthorn extract for treating chronic heart failure: meta-analysis of randomized trials. Am J Med 2003; 114(8):665-674.

7. Steinman H, Lovell C & Cronin E: Immediate-type hypersensitivity to crataegus monogyna (hawthorn). Contact Dermatitis 1984; 11(5):321-323.

8. Tankanow R, Tamer HR & Streetman DS: Interaction study between digoxin and a preparation of hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha). J Clin Pharmacol 2003; 43(6):637-642.

9. Tauchert M, Ploch M & Huebner W-D: Wirksamkeit des weissdorn-extraktes li 132 Im vergleich mit captopril. Muench Med Woshenschr 1994; (suppl 1):S27-S33.

10. Vibes J, Lasserre B, Gleye J et al: Inhibition of thromboxane A2 biosynthesis in vitro by the main components of Crataegus oxyacantha (Hawthorn) flower heads. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 1994; 50:173-175.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.

All rights reserved