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Crataegus, the World’s Oldest Cure for Heart Disease

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

Crataegus, the World’s Oldest Cure for Heart Disease

Crataegus, also known as hawthorn, Mayflower, or Shan zha in traditional Chinese medicine, has been used for hundreds of years as a treatment for heart disease. Crataegus forms part of the rose family and originated in northern Europe, Eastern Asia, and North America, but is grown all around the world today.

Crataegus in traditional Chinese medicine was first mentioned in 659 AD in Tang Ben Cao, the first known pharmacopeia in the world. It is used to treat dysentery, blood circulation, digestive issues, and heart issues such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Benefits of Crataegus

Crataegus isn’t only a popular treatment in traditional Chinese medicine; it is also the oldest known medicinal plant in European herbal medicine. The fruits, leaves, flowers, and berries all contain chemicals called flavonoids, which have antioxidant effects, and each part of the plant is used to treat a different ailment.

Benefits of Crataegus

Crataegus berries have been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat heart conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as to improve digestion and blood circulation. The dried berries used for better digestion can be made into jams, candies, or even wine.

The berries are rich in polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants found in certain plants. Polyphenols may be extremely beneficial in treating heart problems, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and asthma. This is further supported due to their anti-inflammatory properties.

In a 2006 study, researchers found that hawthorn extract helped improve diabetes symptoms in 79 patients with type 2 diabetes. A higher improvement in blood pressure was also observed in those taking the extract compared to those taking a placebo.

Some studies have also indicated that crataegus extract may improve blood cholesterol levels, because of its flavonoid and pectin content. When your body has an imbalance of cholesterol, the cholesterol can block the walls of your blood vessels. The buildup is called “plaque,” and it increases your risk of heart diseases and strokes.

Perhaps the most impressive quality of crataegus is its potential to treat patients suffering from heart failure. Various studies have suggested that crataegus berries may be beneficial to people with heart failure by improving heart function and lessening the symptoms of heart failure.

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The berry is not the only part of the Crataegus plant that’s beneficial to your health; the leaves and flowers are also excellent for heart wellness. They have shown to improve not only physical heart function, but also to heal emotional issues like stress and anxiety. Traditionally, it was used to treat those who had experienced heartbreak or the loss of a loved one.

There are other benefits of crataegus that are not related to heart disease. The high concentration of antioxidants makes it an excellent anti-aging supplement, and the herb has shown to be excellent in aiding some digestive issues as well. In addition to preventing constipation, the fiber content in these berries aid digestion by acting as a prebiotic. Healthy gut bacteria are nourished and promoted by prebiotic foods, which are essential for a healthy digestive system.

How Can I Add Crataegus to My Diet?

Crataegus will likely not be sold at your local grocery store, so it’s best to source this herb from a herbalist or an experienced practitioner of alternative medicine.

The berries can be eaten raw, but be sure to avoid eating the pips; similar to apple seeds, they contain small amounts of a form of cyanide. They can be added to smoothies, fruit salads, muesli or eaten as is.

Another popular form of the Crataegus herb is a tea made from the flowers, leaves, and dried berries. You can make your own tea by drying the herb, crushing it into a powder, and adding hot water.

How Can I Add Crataegus to My Diet?

A common practice in Northern America is to make jams, jellies, and pie fillings from Crataegus berries, which can be a delicious and easy way to add this herb to your diet. Some people will also ferment the berries to create wine or balsamic vinegar to sprinkle over salads.

Supplements are also available from some retailers and practitioners of herbal medicine. They may be found in pill form, as a powder inside a capsule, or even as a liquid.

Final Thoughts on Crataegus for Heart Disease

The herb Crataegus is nothing short of a miracle cure. As one of the oldest and most valuable herbal medicines in history, it’s no wonder that it’s still such a popular treatment today.

If you feel as if this herb can help you, please contact me or book an appointment online for an evaluation to see if it is right for your symptoms.

Book a traditional Chinese medicine consultation with Yair Danon, our natural health specialist and learn about the benefits of Crataegus.


This blog is intended to provide general information regarding health and related topics. The information and other materials offered in this blog, website, or any other linked materials are not meant to be used in place of professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be regarded as such. Please consult with a medical doctor or natural health specialist before starting a new medication, treatment, or natural supplement.


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