- Hawthorn is a flowering shrub or tree of the rose family. It grows in temperate regions throughout the world.
- Historically, hawthorn has been used for heart disease as well as for digestive and kidney problems. It is now promoted for these uses as well as for anxiety, high or low blood pressure, and other conditions.
- Hawthorn has been studied for heart failure in people. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can’t pump as much blood as it should.
- Not much is known about hawthorn for any other health conditions as there is little or no evidence.
- There is conflicting evidence about the effects of hawthorn in people with heart failure. Although some older, short-term studies suggested that hawthorn may have benefits in patients with heart failure, other, more recent, studies did not confirm these benefits. In these studies, unlike some of the older ones, patients were given hawthorn in addition to the recommended conventional treatments for heart failure. One of the studies suggested possible harm in people taking hawthorn as it appears to increase the early risk of heart failure progression.
- In most studies of hawthorn for heart failure, no serious safety problems have been reported. However, in one study, patients taking hawthorn were more likely than those taking a placebo (an inactive substance) to have their heart failure get worse soon after the study started. The reason for this is not clear, but one possibility is that hawthorn might have interacted with drugs the patients were taking.
- Side effects of hawthorn can include dizziness, nausea, and digestive symptoms.
- Hawthorn may interact in harmful ways with drugs, including some heart medications. If you’re taking medication and you’re considering using hawthorn, consult your health care provider.
- Little is known about whether it’s safe to use hawthorn during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
- Talk to your health care providers about any complementary health approaches before you use. It may be contraindicated with any medications you are currently taking.