When it comes to cardiovascular problems, hawthorn is the first treatment that comes to mind, as it is considered a pioneer in such ailments and a miracle cure in the vernacular. People have sworn by its effects for many years, but is it really such a magical plant? If you want to learn more about hawthorn and its exact fields of action, you've come to the right place.
Welcome to our big hawthorn extract test 2021. Here you will get all the information you need before buying hawthorn extracts. This includes not only the effect and use of the plant, but also criteria and recommendations.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Summary
- 3 The Best Hawthorn Extract: Our Picks
- 4 Buying and evaluation criteria for hawthorn extract products
- 5 Guide: Frequently asked questions about hawthorn extract products answered in detail
- 5.1 What is hawthorn extract and how does it work?
- 5.2 When and for whom is it useful to take hawthorn extract?
- 5.3 What ingredients are contained in hawthorn extract?
- 5.4 What types of hawthorn extract are there?
- 5.5 How should hawthorn extract be dosed?
- 5.6 How long should I use hawthorn extract?
- 5.7 What are the alternatives to hawthorn extract?
- Hawthorn is a recognised medicinal plant and is used for heart complaints because it has cardioprotective properties.
- Even though it helps to feel better, it cannot replace a complete treatment for moderate to severe diseases and is therefore only intended as a supportive method.
- Hawthorn extracts are not available on prescription and taking them is easy and tolerable. There are many ways to take hawthorn, so there is something for everyone.
The Best Hawthorn Extract: Our Picks
Buying and evaluation criteria for hawthorn extract products
When buying hawthorn extract, you can look at various aspects, such as:
By making the right choice for you, you can save money and also ensure that you don't give your body anything it doesn't need. Quality is especially important when it comes to your health.
This criterion refers to the weight that hawthorn extract can have in its different forms. Within the tablets and capsules, they can be purchased in different weights.
For example, the weights for tablets can be in either 450 mg or 900 mg. Which one you choose depends on the severity of your symptoms and what, if any, advice your doctor gives you.
The daily dose varies from person to person. At 450 mg, you will have minor symptoms, while you will go back to 900 mg if the symptoms are more severe.
If in doubt, if you have 450 mg tablets, you can increase your dose to two a day and not be forced to buy more if they are not enough. This point is closely related to the dosage.
Another important factor in choosing the right hawthorn extract is how it is made. How and where the product is made will give you an indication of the quality of the hawthorn.
A good first indicator is that the hawthorn is produced by regional, organic farms, which then market the product in an organic version. If the hawthorn extract has the organic seal, it is usually trustworthy and you can be sure that it has been processed without artificial additives.
Furthermore, you should pay attention to the naturalness of the product, which defines the nature of the remedy.
As already mentioned, the absence of artificial ingredients speaks for a naturally produced base. Accordingly, they are either vegetarian or vegan, and possibly also lactose-free and gluten-free, or even alcohol-free.
Last but not least, you can also find out about the country of origin. You can trust countries with developed and sustainable agriculture, such as Germany or Italy.
Depending on which hawthorn extract you buy, they will have a certain amount of tablets, capsules, liquid, etc. in the storage package. Basically, there is not much to consider here.
Think about the approximate period of time for which you want or should take the product. Further down in the article you will find the answer to the question of how long you should consume hawthorn on average. You can use this as a guide.
There is also a difference between children and adults. Children need half the recommended daily intake of adults. So if you need it for your child, you can take the smaller amount if available.
For example, if there are 200 tablets on offer, they are enough for about 100 days, i.e. for three months. Otherwise, there are also products that are exactly adjusted for two months, for example.
Quality is the most important factor in choosing hawthorn extracts. This determines the effect and tolerance of this remedy and is therefore of great importance.
As already mentioned, the production is a big factor for the quality. If the points described above apply to the product, it increases confidence in the quality. If the raw materials used are of natural origin, you can use them without hesitation.
Quality is guaranteed if the raw materials are carefully selected and the end products are registered with the Ministry of Health.
Based on this, you can assume that no artificial substances are integrated. Another component is, of course, the hawthorn that gives the product its name. The more of it there is in the preparation, the better.
This is because it is mainly responsible for the heart. So take a look at the hawthorn content per daily dose!
Guide: Frequently asked questions about hawthorn extract products answered in detail
In order to inform you comprehensively about the effectiveness of hawthorn extract and to give you an understanding of the current state of science, we have summarised all the important information in the following sections.
What is hawthorn extract and how does it work?
The plant mainly acts as a remedy for the human heart. In the following, we introduce you to its respective areas of action.
Effect on heart failure
The flowers of the hawthorn contain substances that have a positive effect on the heart. The blossom is also considered to be a remedy for heart weakness (also called cardiac insufficiency).
There are many experiments and studies that investigate whether hawthorn has an effect on heart function and can support a weakening heart.
However, the use and exact effect against heart failure is still controversial. Studies have shown that hawthorn has significantly improved heart function and patients have shown better values than with placebo.
The decisive conclusion, however, is that hawthorn only works as a supportive treatment and should not be used mainly for chronic heart failure. (1, 2, 3)
If you experience symptoms, do not rely on hawthorn alone.
However, a life-prolonging effect has not yet been proven and you should therefore exercise caution when assessing hawthorn.
Instead, consult a doctor who will do an ECG etc. and suggest an adequate treatment.
Effect on cardiovascular function
There is no doubt that hawthorn has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system.
This plant has cardioprotective properties and therefore contributes to the protective functions of the heart. (4, 5) All around, it strengthens the heart and thus the quality of life.
In addition, the medicinal plant has been officially registered due to its positive effects. It is also recommended by the WHO.
So if you experience poor circulation or pressure problems around the heart, hawthorn can help you to suppress these symptoms and thus stabilise your circulation.
Effect on blood circulation
In addition to the positive effects on the heart, hawthorn also helps with blood circulation. It has a blood circulation-promoting and calming effect on the body.
If you have high or low blood pressure, hawthorn can help you to regulate it again. Particularly affected here are nervous fluctuations or insomnia, which need to be combated.
One study showed that hawthorn was able to lower blood pressure in diabetics more than in a placebo group. (6) In this way it counteracts vascular ageing. This is particularly relevant for older people.
When and for whom is it useful to take hawthorn extract?
Taking hawthorn extracts can be helpful for mild heart complaints such as nervous disorders or palpitations, especially since studies have shown that side effects are almost non-existent. (2) Thus, the use is guaranteed without risk.
As already mentioned, it supports the heart function and is therefore suitable for anyone who recognises minor abnormalities in themselves.
However, only a doctor who is able to carry out tests can give you complete certainty. If the symptoms are harmless, you can safely take hawthorn to support your heart.
What ingredients are contained in hawthorn extract?
The most important ingredients of hawthorn include:
- Oligomeric procyanidins
- Phenolic carboxylic acids
These are the main component and contribute to the supporting effect almost single-handedly. (8) When looking at the product descriptions under the composition, make sure that not too many excipients are used, as this increases the likelihood of intolerance and is an indicator of lower quality.
What types of hawthorn extract are there?
|Hawthorn tablets||Easy to administer and the cheapest choice|
|Hawthorn capsules||Coated processing and therefore without their own taste|
|Hawthorn drops||Liquid variant with pleasant taste|
Which type you choose is of little relevance, because the effect is pretty much the same with each of them. Of course, each has its own characteristics, which we would like to introduce to you.
Hawthorn extract tablets
Tablets are the most common dosage form and are very easy to handle. They are usually available in doses for a period of two to three months. You simply swallow them with plenty of water and you are done.
They are time-saving and inexpensive, which makes them perfect to integrate into your daily routine. The practical packaging also makes it easy to take them with you when you are out of the house for a longer period of time.
Hawthorn extract capsules
Capsules are similar to tablets when it comes to taking them. You just have to swallow them with a glass of water. The special feature here is that they are coated, which neutralises the taste.
This is interesting for people who are particularly sensitive to tastes and prefer neutral medicines.
However, the processing is reflected in the price, which is comparatively somewhat higher than for the other types. In addition, they are larger than tablets and it is therefore somewhat more unusual to swallow them. If you have problems with this, you should rather take tablets.
Hawthorn extract drops
Drops are the liquid version, but there is no difference in their effect. To take them, mix a certain amount in water so that the drops dissolve in it.
They are undoubtedly the most pleasant form, as you practically only drink water to take them and it is therefore beneficial for people with swallowing reflex problems.
However, the variant is a little more time-consuming and there is also an inherent taste. However, this is not a great difference in taste and is a matter of personal taste. Drops are also less suitable to take with you, as they are a little more time-consuming to take.
How should hawthorn extract be dosed?
You take the tablets unchewed with liquid in the morning and/or evening. It does not matter if you eat something before or after.
Any effects of an overdose are not known.
According to one study, it is unnecessary to take more than the recommended daily dose, as the 900 mg is perfectly sufficient. Increasing the dose does not change the effect, so the results are no more positive than if you stay at the daily dose. (9)
Of course, you are still free to take more or less, as hawthorn is well tolerated and only serves as a support.
How long should I use hawthorn extract?
If after these six weeks nothing has changed or your suffering has not decreased, you should consult your doctor, who will then prescribe the further course of action. Set these few weeks as a minimum and do not self-medicate if there is no improvement!
What are the alternatives to hawthorn extract?
|Olive oil||This oil is preferably consumed in Mediterranean countries, but it is also produced. Olive oil in particular is said to help people in these countries have a lower tendency to heart problems than others. It consists almost exclusively of simple unsaturated fatty acids, which has a positive effect on the values. An analysis of studies shows that olive oil has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and vasodilatory effects, thus strengthening the heart. (10)|
|Foxglove||Fingerhut - This is a rather double-edged sword. Foxglove, like hawthorn, is a plant but can contribute to poisoning if too much is taken by one person. The dosage must therefore be exact. Therefore, only the substances digoxin and digitoxin contained are extracted and precisely processed into tablets. Only a doctor is allowed to prescribe this medicine. The substance dixogin cannot reduce the mortality rate, but it can reduce hospital admissions for heart failure. (11)|
If olive oil and hawthorn do not require a prescription and can be consumed at any time without hesitation, foxglove must be approved by a doctor due to its nature.
Image source: Hawthorn extract / 123rf
Tauchert M. Efficacy and safety of crataegus extract WS 1442 in comparison with placebo in patients with chronic stable New York Heart Association class-III heart failure. Am Heart J. 2002 May;143(5):910-5. doi: 10.1067/mhj.2002.121463. PMID: 12040357.
Pittler MH, Schmidt K, Ernst E. Hawthorn extract for treating chronic heart failure: meta-analysis of randomized trials. Am J Med. 2003 Jun 1;114(8):665-74. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9343(03)00131-1 Titel anhand dieser DOI in Citavi-Projekt übernehmen. PMID: 12798455 Titel anhand dieser Pubmed-ID in Citavi-Projekt übernehmen.
Habs M. Prospective, comparative cohort studies and their contribution to the benefit assessments of therapeutic options: heart failure treatment with and without Hawthorn special extract WS 1442. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2004 Aug;11 Suppl 1:36-9. doi: 10.1159/000080574 Titel anhand dieser DOI in Citavi-Projekt übernehmen. PMID: 15353901 Titel anhand dieser Pubmed-ID in Citavi-Projekt übernehmen.
Veveris M, Koch E, Chatterjee SS. Crataegus special extract WS 1442 improves cardiac function and reduces infarct size in a rat model of prolonged coronary ischemia and reperfusion. Life Sci. 2004 Feb 27;74(15):1945-55. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2003.09.050. PMID: 14761675.
Koch E, Malek FA. Standardized extracts from hawthorn leaves and flowers in the treatment of cardiovascular disorders--preclinical and clinical studies. Planta Med. 2011 Jul;77(11):1123-8. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1270849. Epub 2011 Mar 7. PMID: 21384315.
Walker AF, Marakis G, Simpson E, Hope JL, Robinson PA, Hassanein M, Simpson HC. Hypotensive effects of hawthorn for patients with diabetes taking prescription drugs: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Gen Pract. 2006 Jun;56(527):437-43.
Celano CM, Daunis DJ, Lokko HN, Campbell KA, Huffman JC. Anxiety Disorders and Cardiovascular Disease. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2016;18(11):101. doi:10.1007/s11920-016-0739-5
Frank Petereit Dr., Adolf Nahrstedt Prof. Dr. Inhaltsstoffe offizineller Weißdorn‐Drogen: Crataegus aus analytischer Sicht. https://doi.org/10.1002/pauz.200400100
Zick SM, Vautaw BM, Gillespie B, Aaronson KD. Hawthorn Extract Randomized Blinded Chronic Heart Failure (HERB CHF) trial. Eur J Heart Fail. 2009;11(10):990-999. doi:10.1093/eurjhf/hfp116
Nocella C, Cammisotto V, Fianchini L, D'Amico A, Novo M, Castellani V, Stefanini L, Violi F, Carnevale R. Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Cardiovascular Diseases: Benefits for Human Health. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2018;18(1):4-13. doi: 10.2174/1871530317666171114121533 Titel anhand dieser DOI in Citavi-Projekt übernehmen. PMID: 29141571
The Digitalis Investigation Group. The Effect of Digoxin on Mortality and Morbidity in Patients with Heart Failure. DOI: 10.1056/NEJM199702203360801