Hawthorn Tincture for a healthy heart
hawthorn herbal tincture
Botanical: Crataegus oxyacantha (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Rosaceae
Synonyms---May. Mayblossom. Quick. Thorn. Whitethorn. Haw. Hazels. Gazels. Halves. Hagthorn. Ladies' Meat. Bread and Cheese Tree.
(French) L'épine noble
Part Used---Dried haws or fruits, leaves, flowers
Habitat---Europe, North Africa, Western Asia.
Description---The Hawthorn is the badge of the Ogilvies and gets one of its commonest popular names from blooming in May. Many country villagers believe that Hawthorn flowers still bear the smell of the Great Plague of London. The tree was formerly regarded as sacred, probably from a tradition that it furnished the Crown of Thorns. The device of a Hawthorn bush was chosen by Henry VII because a small crown from the helmet of Richard III was discovered hanging on it after the battle of Bosworth, hence the saying, 'Cleve to thy Crown though it hangs on a bush.' The Hawthorn is called Crataegus Oxyacantha from the Greek kratos, meaning hardness (of the wood), oxcus (sharp), and akantha (a thorn). The German name of Hagedorn, meaning Hedgethorn, shows that from a very early period the Germans divided their land into plots by hedges; the word haw is also an old word for hedge. The name Whitethorn arises from the whiteness of its bark and Quickset from its growing as a quick or living hedge, in contrast to a paling of dead wood.
This familiar tree will attain a height of 30 feet and lives to a great age. It possesses a single seed-vessel to each blossom producing a separate fruit, which when ripe is a brilliant red and this is in miniature a stony apple. In some districts these mealy red fruits are called Pixie Pears, Cuckoo's Beads and Chucky Cheese. The flowers are mostly fertilized by carrion insects, the suggestion of decomposition in the perfume attracts those insects that lay their eggs and hatch out their larvae in decaying animal matter.
Constituents---In common with other members of the Prunus and Pyrus groups of theorder Rosaceae, the Hawthorn contains Amyddalin. The bark contains the alkaloid Crataegin, isolated in greyish-white crystals, bitter in taste, soluble in water, with difficulty in alcohol and not at all in ether. Fruit: saponins, glycosides, flavonoids, cardioactive glycosides, ascorbic acid, condensed tannins. Flowers: cardiotonic amines
Medicinal Action and Uses---Cardiac, diuretic, astringent, tonic. Mainly used as a cardiac tonic in organic and functional heart troubles. Blood pressure - to normalise hypotension or hypertension. Both flowers and berries are astringent and useful in decoction to cure sore throats. A useful diuretic in dropsy and kidney troubles. Further comments: Cardiotonic, coronary and peripheral vasodilator, has a bradycardiac effect on the myocardium, vascular tonic, hypotensive, reputed to dissolve deposits in thickened and sclerotic arteries, relaxant, diuretic, astringent.
Indications: Cardiac failure or earlier myocardial weakness, hypertension, arteriosclerosis, Buerger's disease, paroxysmal tachycardia. Specifically indicated in hypertension with myocardial weakness, angina pectoris.
Therapeutics and Pharmacology: Crataegus is one of the tonics for the heart and circulation, acting upon the heart by either stimulating or depressing its activity depending upon the need. The precise mode of action which results in the dilating of the coronary blood supply and the tendency to slow down or stabilise the contractility of the heart muscle is not yet fully understood, but it is safe to use as a long-term treatment for a weak or failing heart, and has a beneficial effect on cardiac arrhythmias, especially extrasystoles and paroxysmal tachycardia. Crataegus is also a useful diuretic. A clinical study of 80 patients in Japan showed statistically significant improvement in cardiac function, oedema and dyspnoea in those treated with a preparation made from the fruits and leaves. Other clinical observations included a reduction in elevated blood levels of pyruvic and lactic acid, normalisation of prolonged systole and prevention of ECG changes due to hypoxia. As a tonic for the circulatory system Crataegus finds its primary use in the treatment of hypertension, atherosclerosis and angina pectoris. It is also applicable to peripheral circulatory conditions, such as intermittent claudication and Raynaud's disease.
The flavonoids in Crataegus are vasodilatory, as is the condensed tannin phlobaphene. These dilate the peripheral blood vessels and have a specific action on the coronary circulation. The cyanogenic glycosides are sedative and increase the parasympathetic (vagal) tone of the heart, thus slowing it down. Trimethylamine stimulates the pulse rate slightly, and has a peripheral vasoconstrictor effect. The combination of these actions helps to explain the paradoxical effect of exerting a sympathetic action on the coronary circulation and a parasympathetic action on the myocardium. The sedative effects of the cyanogenic glycosides combine with the vasodilatory effects to lower high blood pressure, but the cardiotonic activity actually helps to raise low blood pressure. Crataegus does not contain digitalis-like substances, but is a gentle remedy requiring extended use. It is of benefit in the treatment of middle-aged patients showing the first signs of coronary artery disease, and also in older patients with 'senile' heart. It should also be used in the follow-up therapy of myocardial infarction.
Both the flowers and the berries are astringent and a decoction of these will help ease sore throats.
Combinations: Combined with Ginkgo, Crataegus can enhance poor memory by improving the cerebral circulation and thereby increasing the amount of oxygen to the brain. See our tonics: ForgetLess Tonic, BrainMore, MentalPepTalk Tonic.
Preparation and dosage---Fluid Extract of Berries, 10 to 15 drops. Tincture 1:5 25% Ethanol, 5ml 1-3 times daily. Decoction. Infusion
Herbactive Herbalist used wild crafted flowers, leaves and fruit as a fresh tincture, whenever possible.
Toxicity---Non toxic and non-cumulative. Caution: Should only be used under qualified supervision. Crataegus may increase the effect of other cardioactive drugs taken simultaneously.
The leaves have been used as an adulterant for tea. An excellent liquer is made from Hawthorn berries with brandy.
Formerly the timber, when of sufficient size, was used for making small articles. The root-wood was also used for making boxes and combs; the wood has a fine grain and takes a beautiful polish. It makes excellent fuel, making the hottest wood-fire known and used to be considered more desirable than Oak for oven-heating. Charcoal made from it has been said to melt pig-iron without the aid of a blast.
The stock is employed not only for grafting varieties of its own species, but also for several of the garden fruits closely allied to it, such as the medlar and pear.
C. Aronia is a bushy species giving larger fleshy fruit than C. Oxyacantha. It is indigenous to Southern Europe and Western Asia and is common about Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives, where its fruit is used for preserves.
C. odoratissima is very agreeable also as a fruit.
C. Azarole. Its fruit in the same way is highly esteemed in Southern Europe.
Order Herbactive's Hawthorn tincture
60ml. 120ml. 300ml. 555ml. 1.110L
Our herbal tonic medicines are carefully prepared on a personal and individual basis for your healing by medical herbalist Alan Hopking MA MNIMH FINEH.
Only whole herbs are used in our herbal medicines. Nothing else is added. If you have symptoms which you consider might be helped with herbal medicine please contact herbal practitioner Alan Hopking for a friendly confidential professional consultation. See terms and fees.
Once you have received your herbal prescription you can contact Alan Hopking at any time for more free advice (preferably by email). When you have completed your bottle of herbal medicine and if you want a repeat prescription you are requested to phone or email so that your progress can be assessed and adjustments made if necessary so that there is no break in your treatment. To order or re-order, click here.
HERBACTIVE Centre of Herbal Medicine, England, UK. Freephone 0800 0834436
General advice to consumers on the use of herbal remedies from the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK
• Remember that herbal remedies are medicines. As with any other medicine they are likely to have an effect on the body and should be used with care. • Herbal remedies may sometimes interact with other medicines. This makes it particularly important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking a herbal remedy with other medicines such as prescribed medicines (those provided through your doctor or dentist). • Treat with caution any suggestion that a herbal remedy is '100% safe' or is 'safe because it is natural'. Many plants, trees, fungi and algae can be poisonous to humans. It is worth remembering that many pharmaceuticals have been developed or derived from these sources because of the powerful compounds they contain. Any medicine, including herbal remedies, which have an effect on the body should be used with care. • Treat with caution any herbalist or other person who supplies herbal remedies if they are unwilling or unable to provide written information, in English, listing the ingredients of the herbal remedy they are providing. • If you are due to have a surgical operation you should always remember to tell your doctor about any herbal remedy that you are taking. • Anyone who has previously experienced any liver complaint, or any other serious health complaint is advised not to take any herbal remedy without speaking to their doctor first.
Few conventional medicines have been established as safe to take during pregnancy and it is generally recognised that no medicine should be taken unless the benefit to the mother outweighs any possible risk to the foetus. This rule should also be applied to herbal medicinal products. However, herbal products are often promoted to the public as being “natural” and completely “safe” alternatives to conventional medicines. Some herbal ingredients that specifically should be avoided or used with caution during pregnancy. As with conventional medicines, no herbal products should be taken during pregnancy unless the benefit outweighs the potential risk.
Many herbs are traditionally reputed to be abortifacient and for some this reputation can be attributed to their volatile oil component.(6) A number of volatile oils are irritant to the genito-urinary tract if ingested and may induce uterine contractions. Herbs that contain irritant volatile oils include ground ivy, juniper, parsley, pennyroyal, sage, tansy and yarrow. Some of these oils contain the terpenoid constituent, thujone, which is known to be abortifacient. Pennyroyal oil also contains the hepatotoxic terpenoid constituent, pulegone. A case of liver failure in a woman who ingested pennyroyal oil as an abortifacient has been documented.
A stimulant or spasmolytic action on uterine muscle has been documented for some herbal ingredients including blue cohosh, burdock, fenugreek, golden seal, hawthorn, jamaica dogwood, motherwort, nettle, raspberry, and vervain. Herbal Teas Increased awareness of the harmful effects associated with excessive tea and coffee consumption has prompted many individuals to switch to herbal teas. Whilst some herbal teas may offer pleasant alternatives to tea and coffee, some contain pharmacologically active herbal ingredients, which may have unpredictable effects depending on the quantity of tea consumed and strength of the brew. Some herbal teas contain laxative herbal ingredients such as senna, frangula, and cascara. In general stimulant laxative preparations are not recommended during pregnancy and the use of unstandardised laxative preparations is particularly unsuitable. A case of hepatotoxicity in a newborn baby has been documented in which the mother consumed a herbal tea during pregnancy as an expectorant. Following analysis the herbal tea was reported to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are known to be hepatotoxic.
A drug substance taken by a breast-feeding mother presents a hazard if it is transferred to the breast milk in pharmacologically or toxicologically significant amounts. Limited information is available regarding the safety of conventional medicines taken during breast-feeding. Much less information exists for herbal ingredients, and generally the use of herbal remedies is not recommended during lactation.
Herbal remedies have traditionally been used to treat both adults and children. Herbal remedies may offer a milder alternative to some conventional medicines, although the suitability of a herbal remedy needs to be considered with respect to quality, safety and efficacy. Herbal remedies should be used with caution in children and medical advice should be sought if in doubt. Chamomile is a popular remedy used to treat teething pains in babies. However, chamomile is known to contain allergenic sesquiterpene lactones and should therefore be used with caution. The administration of herbal teas to children needs to be considered carefully and professional advice may be needed.
The need for patients to discontinue herbal medicinal products prior to surgery has recently been proposed. The authors considered eight commonly used herbal medicinal products (echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St John’s Wort, valerian). On the evidence available they concluded that the potential existed for direct pharmacological effects, pharmacodynamic interactions and pharmacokinetic interactions. The need for physicians to have a clear understanding of the herbal medicinal products being used by patients and to take a detailed history was highlighted. The American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) has advised patients to tell their doctor if they are taking herbal products before surgery and has reported that a number of anaesthesiologists have reported significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure in some patients who have been taking herbal medicinal products including St John’s Wort, ginkgo and ginseng. MCA is currently investigating a serious adverse reaction associated with the use of ginkgo prior to surgery. In this case, the patient who was undergoing hip replacement experienced uncontrolled bleeding thought to be related to the use of ginkgo.
From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK
To make a donation to Herbactive, click here and enter an amount in GBP. Any amount will be gratefully appreciated, and we will send you a surprise FREE gift with your order. Your donation will be added to your order total when you check out.