CFS: Hawthorn for Hearts

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Forebearance, Jan 1, 2007.

  1. Forebearance

    Forebearance Member

    Hi, Everyone,

    I'm thinking seriously about trying some hawthorn extract, because Dr. Cheney recommends it for heart health. So I've been researching it. I thought I'd share what I have found so far with you.

    Please don't just rely on my research. Please do your own research and consult your doctor before trying it.
  2. Forebearance

    Forebearance Member

    Hawthorns are small trees or shrubs that grow in many places in the world. They have long thorns and small red berries, or haws. They have white flowers that are pollinated by flies, so they smell faintly like rotting meat.

    Latin name: Crataegus oxyacanth (there are other varieties, too)

    The first thing I wondered was why Dr. Cheney recommended the leaves and flowers, but not the berries.

    It turns out that there is nothing wrong with the berries. They have a long history of medicinal use. They contain the same active ingredients as the leaves and flowers, but just less of them.

    BUT, the modern clinical studies have been done using extracts of the leaves and flowers, so those extracts are the things that have been proven to have an effect.

    There are many different hawthorn products for sale. However, the only way to be sure that you are getting the kind of hawthorn that has been proven to have an effect is to use one of the three extracts used in the medical studies.

    The three standardized extracts are all made in Europe, using hawthorn trees from England or eastern Europe. They use the flowering leaf tops of the tree.

    The names of the extracts are:
    Crataegutt -- made by the Dr. Wilmar Schwabe company of Karlsruhe, Germany
    Also known as WS 1442
    It's sold as Crataegutt novo 450 (coated tablets)
    or Crataegutt drops

    Cardiplant (80 mg coated tablets) the Schwabe company also makes this

    Faros -- made by the Lichtwer Pharma company in Berlin
    It seems to come as Faros 300 or Faros 600

    You can find these imported products for sale in the US for between 20-30 dollars.

    HOWEVER, there is a product sold in the US called Heart Care by Nature's Way which two alternative doctors say is identical to the European extracts above. It is much cheaper and more readily available. It's a white bottle with a pink heart on it.

    In the clinical studies, participants took anywhere from 160 to 900 mg a day of a hawthorn extract. (I think they used the pills, not the drops)

    So what does hawthorn do?

    Hawthorn does the same things as three separate kinds of prescription heart drugs:

    angiotension converting enzyme inhibitors
    beta-adrenergic receptor blockers

    It is not known if it works in exactly the same way as these drugs, but it gets the same results. So people usually take it instead of prescription heart drugs, not in addition to them.

    It is definitely recommended that one be under a doctor's care while taking it.

    In layperson's terms, hawthorn strengthens the heart and increases its ability to pump blood. It is also credited with these other effects:
    lowers cholesterol
    lowers fibrinogen levels
    stabilizes collagen (strengthens blood vessels)
    chelates heavy metals
    induces SOD (an enzyme we need more of)
    inhibits neutrophil elastase (an enzyme we have too much of, I think)
    cAMP-independent inotropy
    peripheral and coronary vasodilation,

    It's considered safe and effective by the medical establishment. It doesn't seem to have dangerous interactions with other drugs and supplements. Except, of course, it would be unwise to take it with other drugs or herbs that affect the heart.

    The principle active components are flavonoids, which are chemicals present in many fruits and vegetables. The flavonoids in hawthorn are: vitexin, quercetin, hyperoside, and rutin. Other active components are triterpene acid and oligomeric procyanidins.

    In Dr. Cheney's trial with a few of his CFS patients, hawthorn increased cardiac output and stroke volume after using it for 90 days. It sounded like he gave them a higher dose at first, and then reduced it according to how their stomachs could stand it.

    Which leads to the potential side effects:
    nausea (most common one)
    allergic reaction
    increased heart rate (palpitations)
    heart arrhythmia
    mild rash

    If you take a massive overdose, it could cause sedation and central nervous system depression. I just mention this because some of us are very sensitive to drugs and herbs.

    Personally, I plan to begin with a VERY small dose of it. I need to find out if it's okay to cut up the coated pills. I imagine they might taste bitter.

    In fact, I might even begin my experiment with a tea made of hawthorn leaves, flowers, or berries, just to see if I can tolerate hawthorn. Better safe than sorry.

    [This Message was Edited on 01/02/2007]
  3. spacee

    spacee Member

    Yes, indeed better safe than sorry. Thanks for all the info and keep us updated.

  4. cct

    cct Member


    I have been thinking about trying hawthorn, but I just have not had the energy to do the research on the best products or on hawthorn's side effects.

    Thanks for doing all the research for me ! I really appreciate it.
  5. Forebearance

    Forebearance Member

    Dear Spacee and Carron,

    You're so welcome! I'd be interested to hear what you think if you try it, Carron.

    It's interesting that it treats arrhythmia, but can also cause arrhythmia.

    Dr Weil is so good at explaining things to laypeople. On his website, someone asked a question about hawthorn berries and this is part of his answer:

    "Overall, however, hawthorn berry preparations haven't been as well studied as those of hawthorn leaf and flower. As a matter of fact, although hawthorn berry has been shown to be an effective treatment for angina (chest pain that can occur when blood cannot freely pass through narrowed coronary arteries) Germany's Commission E no longer recognizes its use. That commission now approves only preparations of hawthorn leaf with flower.
    Very little research in the United States has been done on hawthorn berry using modern methods. If hawthorn is working for you, use a supplement that contains the leaves and flowers as well. While there is probably no harm in taking it, I wouldn't rely on hawthorn berry extract alone for treatment of any heart-related problems."

    Some good articles I've found about hawthorn:

    There's a good one at
    and at
    and there's a good one by Amy Bigus, Deanna Massengil, and Christy Walker at geocities (search for hawthorn and their names)
    and there's a really good one by Christa Dierking at (search for "Faros hawthorn")

    I hope that is enough info to allow you to find them, if you are interested.

    Love, Forebearance
  6. Denamay

    Denamay New Member

    I have heard good things about hawthorn.

    It happens that I have a lovely hawthorn tree in my yard.

    I take a small handfull of berries about every day or so when they are ripe.

    I also freeze some for the winter. I did'nt know flowers and leaves were good to use as well.

    I know that I am not taking a meassured amount but my doctor says its OK.

    Thanks for the heads up about hawthorn.
    Best Wishes, Denamay
  7. JazzieS

    JazzieS New Member

    Really appreciate your lengthy info on hawthorn......

    I'm going to bring all of it to my natural med. doc. this week. Thanks very much again.

  8. cherylsue

    cherylsue Member

    Thank you so much for the research on Hawthorn. I just started taking it yesterday. It is Hawthorn phytosome by Enzymatic Therapy. I will try to see if I can get the Nature's Way brand you suggested.

    After seeing Dr. Cheney's video, I think I will proceed to follow much of his protocol that I can.

    I appreciate your warnings of the side effects, as well.

    You should start a thread of those taking hawthorn.

    Thanks again.

  9. Forebearance

    Forebearance Member

    That's cool, Denamay, that you have a hawthorn tree in your yard!

    Good luck with your doctor, Jazzie!

    I agree, CherylSue, that I am going to try taking as much of Dr. Cheney's protocol as I can, also. I'm already doing a lot of it. I want to get an impedance cardiogram, so I can have a "before" picture of what my heart is like now, and then I'll start with the hawthorn.

    I really trust the Enzymatic Therapy company to make good products, and I use a lot of them. But this is one case where I think I want to take the product that's equivalent to the one used in clinical studies.

    That's a good idea to start a thread for experiences with hawthorn. If anyone else wants to start one, be my guest. I'll be able to contribute to it in a week or two, if all goes well. Otherwise, I'll start one when I start taking it!

    Thanks for the bump, Jolie!

    Love, Forebearance
    [This Message was Edited on 01/03/2007]
  10. Denamay

    Denamay New Member

  11. Kombucha

    Kombucha New Member


    I bought Jarrow Hawthorne 5:1 concentrate (1.8% vitexin 4'-rhamnoside).

    I had a bad reaction with this.

    I took it the day before and felt weak, and woozy, like a blood pressure drop. Took much of the day to get rid of with plenty of salt.

    Skipped a day (yesterday) because I always will see if symptoms abate, and then of course try it again.

    Today I tried it again--same reaction, with additional nausea.

    I am really glad I didn't start out trying the Nature way Heart Care--which is more like a DRUG then an herb because it is very concentrated.

    Proceed with care Hawthorne testers!

  12. Forebearance

    Forebearance Member

    Thanks for the report, Linda!
    What happens when you take a smaller dose?

  13. Kombucha

    Kombucha New Member


    It is 500 milligrams, and the one in the study is super powerful druglike the Natures Way Heart Care, which would be the right one to use, so I don't see any need to try a smaller dose of an already weaker concentration. I don't want to feel that way again.

    It would be interesting to see if those that cannot tolerate ribose (I am one) can also not tolerate Hawthorne.

  14. Forebearance

    Forebearance Member

    Hey, Linda!

    I don't blame you for not wanting to feel that way again.

    I'm sure there are other things you can take that will be helpful for your heart.

    It's an interesting question you pose about intolerance to d-ribose and to hawthorn being related. Maybe we'll get some answers as more people try both things.

    Forebearance[This Message was Edited on 01/05/2007]
  15. cherylsue

    cherylsue Member

  16. Forebearance

    Forebearance Member

    bumpity bump
  17. Banka8

    Banka8 New Member

    I tried Hawthorne about 7 years ago and it gave me heart palpitations and skipped beats.

  18. terrilynnb

    terrilynnb New Member

    If hawthorne does infact have diaretic properties, it could be a real problem for anyone who already has a low blood pressure, low blood volume issue like dehydration form DI. Also, if it does dialate the peripheral artieries, it will definitely exacerbate the issues of orhtostatic intolerance or neurally mediated hypotension. Can we agree hear that spelling will be ignored because I was never a great speller and the brain fog makes it tough to find the correct word, let alone spell it right. If I take the time to go back and correct my typos, I forget what I was talking about. That would sure be a relief. thanks!
  19. cherylsue

    cherylsue Member

    Dr. Cheney recommended Hawthorn leaf and flower, not the Hawthron berry. Big difference.

  20. Forebearance

    Forebearance Member

    That's too bad, Judy.

    I hope you figure out what amount of d-ribose is right for you, Spacee. I've heard others here talk about taking smaller amounts of it.

    Good points, Terrilynnb and CherylSue. After doing the research, my understanding is that the hawthorn berry is just weaker and unproven in clinical tests, but contains the same substances. So of course my goal is to work up to the leaves and flowers product.


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