Hawthorn leaf (Crataegi folium)

Published July 19, 1994.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)


Name of Drug

Crataegi folium, hawthorn leaf.

Composition of Drug

Hawthorn leaf consists of the dried leaf of Crataegus monogyna Jaquin emend. Lindman or C. laevigata in a valid pharmacopeia citing Cratageus [Fam. Rosaceae], as well as preparations thereof.

Pharmacological Properties, Pharmacokinetics, Toxicology

There are no scientific data on which to base the pharmacology and toxicology of the herb. Spectrographic analysis of the chemical constituents of the herb distinguishes only quantitative differences between leaf and flower preparations. One may assume pharmacodynamics similar to those shown for preparations from flower.

Clinical Data 1. Claimed Areas of Application Hawthorn leaf preparations may be applied prophylactically to impeded circulation in the coronary artery, for psychogenic disturbances of the heart and circulatory system, to improve the perfusion and nutrition of the myocardium, for simple circulatory disorders of the coronary artery not needing treatment with digitalis, beginnings of diminished cardiac output due to hypertension and pulmonary disease during and after infection, chronic disturbance of heart rhythm, to enhance treatment with cardiac glycosides, for hypotension, for heart trouble in menopause and advanced age as well as unregulated cardiac output in children.

2. Risks

None known.


Since the effectiveness of hawthorn leaf for its claimed applications has not been documented, therapeutic use cannot be recommended.

The herb as a water extract, water-alcohol extract, wine infusion and fresh juice has been utilized traditionally to strengthen and invigorate heart and circulatory function.

These statements are based exclusively on historical record and experience.

[Ed.note: A preparation from Hawthorn leaf with flower is listed in the Approved Herbs section. See Introduction].