Crataegus monogyna is a small tree in the rose family often seen in hedgerows. Commonly known as hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna has been used as a medicinal herb by various cultures to treat similar disorders. Crataegus monogyna is used mainly to treat heart ailments such as angina and to improve circulation. It has a history of treating other afflictions as well, including indigestion and anxiety. The medicinal properties are contained in the flowers, leaves, and berries, with the berries containing the highest concentration of healing constituents.
Hawthorn is a recognized tonic for the heart and is beneficial in treating many cardiac disorders, including tachycardia, arrhythmia, congestive heart failure, and degenerative heart disease. Medical studies have proven the effectiveness of Crataegus monogyna in restoring a weakened cardiovascular system and regulating the heartbeat. The herb mildly stimulates the heart to pump slightly faster, which decreases the amount of stress placed on the heart.
It also dilates the arteries to improve blood flow throughout the body, and strengthens the heart muscle. These activities aid in the treatment of atherosclerosis and regulate blood pressure. Crataegus monogyna can increase low blood pressure to a normal rate and lower high blood pressure to eliminate hypertension. The herb can relieve angina by reducing the lactic acid which is responsible for pain in the heart muscle. It also decreases the amount of cholesterol believed to be responsible for heart disease.
Crataegus monogyna is often combined with gingko biloba to improve memory. Hawthorn’s ability to improve the circulation of blood in the brain boosts the power of gingko to enhance the thinking process. Both herbs contain powerful antioxidants which stimulate this activity.
Hawthorn has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat digestive difficulties such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea as well as cardiovascular disorders. Crataegus monogyna is believed to help the digestion of meat and fats by stimulating the production of the enzymes and bile required to digest them. When used in traditional Chinese medicine, the herb is generally taken as an extract or ground into a powder and ingested in pill form.
The herb has also been used to treat insomnia. Its astringent properties make it beneficial in the treatment of edema, kidney disorders, and sore throats. When taking Crataegus monogyna, it is important to remember that it doesn’t act immediately. Hawthorn should be taken regularly and given time to build up in the system, since several months may pass before seeing any results.