Published : 2019-05-24 - Categories : Plants description index , PLANTS WORLD


Latin Name Crataegus laevigata (syn. Crataegus oxyacantha); Crataegus monogyna; Crataegus pinnatifida ….

Family Rosaceae

Known As (synonyms)
Hawthorn, Haw, May, May blossom and May flower


Continental Europe

Parts Used:

Flowers, leaves and fruits

Active ingredients :

The most important pharmacologically active constituents of hawthorn are the flavonoids (vitexin, quercetin, hyperoxide, rutin, apigenin) found in the leaves and flowers, and the procyanidins in the fruits. Other constituents include triterpene acids, aromatic amines, essential oils and phenolic acids. The antioxidant activity can be attributed to the polyphenolic contents.

Traditional use :

Ancient civilizations have used the flower of Hawthorn as a remedy for gout, pleurisy and leucorrhea. Later the hawthorn parts have been used for the treatment of some diseases including irritability, insomnia, migraines, confusion, and memory loss. Hawthorn was prescribed by the Ancient Greek physician Dioscórides in the first century AD as a remedy for heart problems. In China, the leaves and flowers have been used for stagnant digestion. In both Europe and China, hawthorn fruit is commonly used to prepare various food recipes, including jam, jelly, beverages and wine.

Benefits :

Hawthorn leaves, flowers and fruits have been used for hundreds of years to treat cardiovascular diseases and to lower cholesterol levels by increasing the excretion of the bile.

Hawthorn fruit possesses tonic effects on the heart due to its rich antioxidant composition [1]. Several studies have shown that it could reduce irregular heartbeat and could be used to prevent angina, congestive heart failure, atherosclerosis and hypercholesterolemia due to its cardiotonic and antihypertensive effects.

1. Lower blood pressure – many studies revealed that hawthorn can reduce the blood pressure naturally [2]

2. Congestive heart failure - Hawthorn extract may be used as oral treatment for chronic heart failure, single or in addition to conventional treatments [3].

3. Angina and atherosclerosis - The organic combination of hawthorn, onion and garlic in different concentrations shows anti-calcification effects and may dissolve hydroxyapatite crystals associated with arteriosclerosis [4].

4. Anticoagulant activity - Polyphenolic-polysaccharide compounds from fruits and flowers have anticoagulant activity [5]. 

5. Antioxidant capacity belongs to bioflavonoids and procyanidins constituents. Crataegus represents an important alternative source of natural antioxidants. [1].

6. Digestive Health - Hawthorn berries contain organic compounds that interact with gut flora or will stimulate bile and gastric secretions, improving the digestion of stagnant rich food. Hawthorn extract exerts gastroprotective activity, anti-inflammatory effect and moderate bacterial activity [6].

7. Lower cholesterol - Some studies using Chinese berry extract revealed that the high cholesterol levels are reduced, and the LDL cholesterol is notably decreased [7]. 

How to add hawthorn to your diet :

Supplements. Hawthorn berries, leaves and flowers in powder, pills or liquid forms.

Raw. Raw Hawthorn berries have a tart flavour and slightly sweet taste.

Tea. The dry flowers, leaves and berries can be found either separately or in various combinations in ready-made tea bags. 

I kindly recommend my “Red cardiotonic tea” made with:

o 1 part Hawthorn dry flowers and leaves
o 2 parts Hawthorn dry berries,
o 1 part Hibiscus,
o 1 part Melissa,
o Optionally, spices could be added: cinnamon, cloves, mint leaves, lemon wedges, 1/4 vanilla bean or ginger depending on your taste,
o Honey or stevia for sweetness.

Jams and desserts. The berries are commonly made into jam, pie filling, hawthorn honey and syrup.

Vinegar and wine. The berries can be used to prepare a light vinegar dressing for tasty salads (Fill a glass jar with fresh berries. Cover the berries with apple cider vinegar. Let it sit for 6 weeks, giving it a shake every other day.) Can also be fermented into a tasty wine.

Precautions :

Hawthorn is very well tolerated, but can interact with other medications such as antiarrhythmics, antihypertensives, digoxin, and antihyperlipidemic agents. The most common adverse effects are vertigo and dizziness which have been associated only with very high doses [8].

Curiosity – There is a supposition that the tree of Hawthorn was the source of Jesus's crown of thorns [9].


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12866623
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27655074
[3] https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005312.pub2/full
[4] http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/hawthorn-onion-and-garlic-may-dissolve-hydroxapatite-crystals-associated-arter
[5] http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/polyphenolic-polysaccharide-conjugates-flowers-and-fruits-hawthorn-have-antico
[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18698794
[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26825354
[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20148500
[9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crataegus


All the information provided on this article is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. It’s important to remember that this content doesn’t provide dosage information, formal recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. This information should be used under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner. Ensure that you won’t be complicating any ongoing treatments.

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