Known interactions

Acanthopanax senticosus, Accupril, Acebutolol, Aceon, Acetazolamide, Acetazolamide Injection, Acetazolamide Sustained-Release, Adalat, Adalat CC, Adenocard, Adenoscan, Adenosine Infusion, Adenosine Injection, Afeditab CR, African Pepper, Agoral Liquid, AK-Zol, Aldactazide, Aldactone, Alder Buckthorn, Alder Dogwood, Aldomet, Aldomet Suspension, All Heal, Aloe barbadensis, Aloe species, Aloe vera, Altace, Amber Touch-and-Heal, Amiloride and Hydrochlorothiazide, Amiodarone Injection, Amiodarone Oral, Amlodipine, Amlodipine and Atorvastatin, Apresazide, Apresoline, Apresoline Injection, Aquatensen, Arrow Wood, Asclepias tuberosa, Asian Ginseng, Atacand, Atenolol, Atenolol and Chlorthalidone, Atenolol Injection, Avapro, Benazepril and Hydrochlorothiazide, Benicar HCT, Bepridil, Betaxolol Ophthalmic, Betaxolol Oral, Betimol, Betoptic, Betoptic S, BiDil, Bird Lime, Bird Pepper, Bisoprolol, Bitter Bark, Black Dogwood, Black ginger, Black-Draught, Blocadren, Bottle-brush, Bretylium, Bretylium Tosylate, Brevibloc, Bumetanide, Bumetanide Injection, Bumex, Bumex Injection, Burn Plant, Butterfly Weed, Caduet, Calan, Calan SR, California Buckthorn, Canada Root, Candesartan, Canton ginger, Cape Aloe, Capoten, Capsicum, Capsicum annuum, Capsicum frutescens, Captopril, Cardene, Cardene IV, Cardioquin, Cardizem, Cardizem CD, Cardizem Injection, Cardizem LA, Cardizem SR, Cardura, Cardura XL, Carteolol, Carteolol Ophthalmic, Cartia XT, Cartrol, Carvedilol, Cascara, Cassia acutifolia, Cassia angustifolia, Cassia senna, Catapres, Catapres-TTS, Chili Pepper, Chinese Ginseng, Chinese Knotweed, Chittem Bark, Chlorothiazide, Chlorothiazide Injection, Chlorothiazide Suspension, Chlorthalidone, Ci Wu Jia, Climbing Knotweed, Clonidine, Clonidine injection, Clonidine Patch, Cochin ginger, Common Buckthorn, Common ginger, Cordarone, Cordarone Injection, Coreg, Corgard, Corvert, Corzide, Cosopt, Covera-HS, Cozaar, Daidzein, Demadex Injection, Demadex Oral, Demser, Devil's Bush, Devil's Fuge, Devil's Leaf, Diamox, Diamox Injection, Diamox Sequels, Diazoxide, Diazoxide Injection, Diazoxide Oral Suspension, Dibenzyline, Digitek, Digoxin, Digoxin Injection, Digoxin Liquid, Dilacor XR, Diltia XT, Diltiazem, Diltiazem ER, Diltiazem Injection, Diovan, Disopyramide, Diurigen, Diuril, Diuril Injection, Diuril Suspension, Docusate and Senna, Dofetilide, Dog Wood, Dorzolamide and Timolol Ophthalmic, Doxazosin, Doxazosin extended-release tablets, Duraclon injection, Dutch Rushes, Dyazide, DynaCirc, DynaCirc CR, Dyrenium, Edecrin, Eleuthero, Eleutherococcus senticosus, Enalapril, Enduron, Ephedra, Ephedra sinica, Epitonin, Eprosartan, Esidrix, Esmolol, Ethacrynic Acid, Ethmozine, European Buckthorn, European Mistletoe, Exlax, Exlax Chocolated, Ezide, Felodipine, Flecainide, Flowery Knotweed, Flux Root, Fo-Ti, Fosinopril, Frangula Bark, Furosemide, Furosemide Injection, Furosemide Oral Solution, Gan Cao, Garden ginger, Ge Gen, Gingembre, Ginger, Ginseng, Panax, GlaucTabs, Glossy Buckthorn, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Goat's Pod, Golden Bough, Guanabenz, Guanfacine, Guigai, Hardhay, Hartshorn, He Shou Wu, Herb de la Croix, Herbal Ecstasy, Highwaythorn, Horsetail, Hydra-Zide, Hydralazine, Hydralazine and HCTZ, Hydralazine and Hydrochlorothiazide, Hydralazine and Isosorbide Dinitrate, Hydralazine Injection, Hydrochlorothiazide, HydroDIURIL, Hygroton, Hypericum, Hypericum perforatum, Hyperstat IV, Hytrin, Ibutilide, Imber, Indapamide, Inderal, Inderal IV, Irbesartan, Isoptin, Isoptin Injection, Isoptin SR, Isradipine, Isradipine Extended-Release Tablets, Jamaican ginger, Japanese Arrowroot, Japanese Ginseng, Kerlone Oral, Khao Yen, Klamath Weed, Korean Ginseng, Kudzu, Labetalol, Labetalol Injection, Lanoxicaps, Lanoxin, Lanoxin Injection, Lanoxin Liquid, Lasix, Lasix Injection, Lasix Oral Solution, Latanoprost; Timolol eye solution, Leonurus cardiaca, Levatol, Licorice, Lignum Crucis, Lion's Ear, Lion's Tail, Liquorice, Lisinopril, Lisinopril and Hydrochlorothiazide, Lopressor, Lopressor HCT, Lopressor Injection, Losartan, Lotensin HCT, Lozol, Ma Huang, Mahuang, Mavik, Maxiumum Relief Exlax, Maxzide, Methazolamide, Methyclothiazide, Methyldopa, Methyldopa Injection, Methyldopa Oral Suspension, Metolazone, Metolazone extended-release tablets, Metoprolol and Hydrochlorothiazide, Metoprolol ER, Metoprolol Injection, Metoprolol Oral, Metyrosine, Mexican Chillies, Mexiletine, Mexitil, Micardis, Microzide, Millepertuis, Minipress, Mistal, Mistletoe, Moduretic, Moexipril, Monopril, Moricizine, Motherwort, Muzei, Mykrox, Nadolol, Nadolol and Bendroflumethiazide, Neptazane, Nettle, Nettle Tops, Nicardipine, Nicardipine Injection, Nifediac CC, Nifedipine, Nifedipine ER, Ninjin, Nisoldipine, Normodyne, Normodyne Injection, Norpace, Norpace CR, Norvasc, Ocupress, Oleae europaea, Oleae folium, Olive Leaf, Olivier, Olmesartan and Hydrochlorothiazide, Orange Milkweed, Orange Swallow-wort, Oretic, Oriental Ginseng, Pacerone, Paddock-pipes, Panax Ginseng, Panax schinseng, Paprika, Penbutolol, Peri-Colace, Perindopril, Pewterwort, Phenoxybenzamine, Phentolamine Injection, Pindolol, Plendil, Pleurisy root, Polygonum multiflorum, Popptillo, Prazosin, Prinivil, Prinzide, Procainamide ER, Procainamide Injection, Procainamide Oral, Procan SR, Procanbid, Procardia, Procardia XL, Proglycem, Proglycem Oral Suspension, Pronestyl, Pronestyl Injection, Pronestyl-SR, Propafenone, Propafenone ER, Propranolol, Propranolol Injection, Propranolol Oral Solution, Pueraria, Pueraria lobata, Pueraria montana, Pueraria thunbergiana, Purging Buckthorn, Purshiana Bark, Quinaglute Dura-Tabs, Quinapril, Quinidex Extendtabs, Quinidine, Quinidine Extended-Release, Quinidine Injection, Quinora, Ramipril, Ramsthorn, Red Ginseng, Red Pepper, Regitine, Reserpine, Rhamnus cathartica, Rhamnus frangula, Rhamnus purshiana, Rhythmol SR, Roman Nettle, Rosin Rose, Russian Root, Rythmol, Sacred Bark, Sagrada Bark, Sarsa, Sarsaparilla, Scouring Rush, Sectral, Senexon, Seng, Senna, Senna Laxatives, Senna Oral Syrup, Senna Suppositories, Senna-Gen, Senokot, Senokot Suppositories, Senokot Syrup, Senokot XTRA, Senokot-S, Shave-grass, Shigoka, Siberian Ginseng, Silkweed, SJW, Smilace, Smilax, Smilax aristolochiifolia, Smilax officinalis, Smilax regelii, Smilax sarsaparilla, Spironolactone, Spironolactone and Hydrochlorothiazide, St. John's Wort, Stinging Nettle, Sular, Swallow-wort, Sweet Root, Tabasco Pepper, Taiga, Tambocor, Taztia XT, Telmisartan, Tenex, Tenoretic, Tenormin, Tenormin Injection, Terazosin, Teveten, Thalitone, Thorny Pepperbush, Throw-wort, Tiamate, Tiazac, Tikosyn, Timolol Ophthalmic, Timolol Oral, Timoptic, Timoptic-XE, Tipton Weed, Toadpipe, Tocainide, Tonocard, Toprol XL, Torsemide Injection, Torsemide Oral, Touch-Me-Not, Trandate, Trandate Injection, Trandolapril, Triamterene, Triamterene and Hydrochlorothiazide, Tuber Root, Univasc, Urtica species, Valsartan, Vascor, Vasotec, Verapamil, Verapamil Extended-release, Verapamil Injection, Verelan, Verelan PM, Viscum, Viscum album, Visken, Vogelmistel, Waythorn, White Root, Wild Pepper, Wild Root, Wytensin, Xalcom, Yege, Zanzibar Pepper, Zaroxolyn, Zebeta, Zestoretic, Zestril, Zingiber officinale.

Description of Whitethorn

Scientific Name: Hawthorn

Other Names: Crataegus laevigata, Crataegus monogyna, Crataegus oxyacantha, Hagedorn, Haw, Hedgethorn, Mayblossom, Maybush, Mayflower, Whitethorn

Who is this for?

Mainly, hawthorn is taken orally to relieve chronic heart conditions — primarily congestive heart failure, but also angina and arrhythmias. Chemicals in hawthorn may act directly on the heart muscle to increase the force of heartbeats and on the blood vessels to relax the arteries around the heart. It may also lengthen the time that the heart rests between beats. Hawthorn may also work indirectly by widening blood vessels close to the surface of the skin. As a result, it may also help to lower blood pressure. Due to its multiple effects on the heart, hawthorn should not be taken before its use has been discussed with a doctor.

Chemicals in hawthorn may have other effects, as well. Based on the observation that hawthorn produces a mild soothing effect, it may be used occasionally to treat anxiety and insomnia. No clinical studies have been published to prove or disprove hawthorn's soothing effect, however. In animal studies, hawthorn has also appeared to lower cholesterol levels both by reducing the production of cholesterol and by increasing the breakdown of cholesterol by the body. One small study conducted in humans seemed to show similar cholesterol-lowering results, but further research is needed to verify these results.

When should I be careful taking it?

Hawthorn may relax the muscles in the uterus. This loss of uterine muscle tone may lead to a miscarriage. Therefore, pregnant women are advised to avoid taking hawthorn.


Chemicals in hawthorn have been shown to increase the force and decrease the rate of heartbeats. Because either effect could worsen heart conditions, individuals with heart disease should take hawthorn only with the approval of their healthcare providers.

Very little information is available on how hawthorn might affect an infant or a small child. Therefore, its use is not recommended while breast-feeding or during early childhood.

What side effects should I watch for?

In rare cases, hawthorn has been reported to cause rapid or erratic heartbeat. While no major consequences due to these effects have been reported in medical literature, heart conditions possibly may be worsened by taking hawthorn.

Less Severe Side Effects

Hawthorn has also been reported to cause:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Sweating

If it is applied to the skin, hawthorn may cause a rash at the site of application.

What interactions should I watch for?

Prescription Drugs

Hawthorn has an effect on the heart that is similar to the effect of digoxin, a drug used to increase the force and reduce the rate of heartbeats. If hawthorn and digoxin are taken together, heartbeats may become too forceful or too slow, possibly causing dangerous changes in heart rhythm.

Some drugs used for asthma, heart conditions, or other reasons can affect heart rhythm. Because hawthorn can change the force and rate of heart beats, it may increase the risk of side effects from drugs such as:

  • albuterol
  • clonidine (Catapres)
  • theophylline and related drugs for asthma
  • Viagra

Herbal Products

If hawthorn is taken at the same time as other herbs that also affect the heart, potentially dangerous changes in heart function may result. Herbal products with heart effects include:

  • European mistletoe
  • Ginger (in large doses)
  • Motherwort
  • Panax ginseng
  • Pleurisy root
  • Squill

Some interactions between herbal products and medications can be more severe than others. The best way for you to avoid harmful interactions is to tell your doctor and/or pharmacist what medications you are currently taking, including any over-the-counter products, vitamins, and herbals.

Should I take it?

Several species of hawthorn grow as bushy shrubs or small trees that were often planted as fences or hedgerows in northern Europe. Now found growing throughout mild climate areas of North Africa, West Asia, Europe, and North America; hawthorn adapts to a wide range of growing conditions. A member of the rose family of plants, hawthorn has fragrant white or pink blooms that are sometimes called mayflowers. Its blossoms are followed by fruits, resembling cherries, that may be eaten fresh or dried, used in cooking, made into jam, or brewed into wine. The wood of hawthorn, known for its durability, is often used to make handles for tools.

For use in medicine, hawthorn leaves and flowers are collected, dried, and powdered. The powder is then made into capsules or tablets or added to beverages or soft foods. Occasionally, hawthorn fruits are used topically to relieve itching. In the past, a poultice of hawthorn leaves was applied to skin sores and a wash was made from hawthorn fruits because it was thought to treat frostbite. Currently, hawthorn is rarely used topically.

Hawthorn is much more accepted as a medicine in Europe than it is in the United States. In Germany, hawthorn is approved for the treatment of heart failure by the German Commission E, the German governmental agency that evaluates the safety and effectiveness of herbal products. The United States does not have a comparable agency to evaluate herbal products.

Dosage and Administration

Hawthorn products are often standardized for their content of chemicals known as bioflavonoids or oligomeric procyanidins. Standardization by the manufacturer should assure the same amount of active ingredient in every batch of the commercial preparation. Standardized hawthorn should have 2.2% bioflavonoids or 18.75% oligomeric procyanidins.

Recommended dosing for hawthorn varies depending on the condition being treated and the product being used. If you decide to take hawthorn, follow the directions on the package you purchase. Taking hawthorn for 2 months or longer may be necessary before maximum effects are seen.


The main current use of hawthorn is to treat congestive heart failure, but it may have some effectiveness for other chronic heart conditions, as well. Preliminary evidence from animal studies seems to show that hawthorn may also help to lower cholesterol levels.


Due to possible effects on the uterus, pregnant women should not take hawthorn. Small children and women who are breast-feeding should also avoid taking it. Individuals with heart conditions should use hawthorn only with the supervision of a medical professional.

Side Effects

Oral hawthorn products may cause fast or irregular heartbeats. Oral products have also been associated with dizziness, headaches, insomnia, and nausea. If it is used topically, hawthorn may cause a rash where it is applied.


Hawthorn may increase the risk of changes in heart function if it is taken with:

  • albuterol
  • caffeine
  • digoxin
  • drugs and herbals that affect the heart
  • theophylline and related drugs for asthma
  • Viagra


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(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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