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Hearts and Hawthorn

Herbal help for heart disease

For most conditions several herbs are combined depending on the problem and the needs of our four legged patients. But we use hawthorn for most heart problems from the first occurrence of a possibly harmless murmur (Wang 2013) all the way through to supporting severe heart failure alongside drugs (Pittler 2008). Most scientific studies are done with extracts from flowering tops.

Hawthorn flowers

While there are lots of drugs licensed for dogs with heart diseases conventional options for cats are very limited. Hawthorn is safe for cats. For cases with high blood pressure we use a gentle mistletoe tincture as well, commonly combined with valerian to help with stress.

Hawthorn Berries

Berries are commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. We mostly use them for horses for their collagen stabilising effects (Bone 2012) which make a big difference in laminitis and sore feet in general. Hawthorn improves circulation, increases healthy foot growth and reduces pain (Wynn 2007). Triterpenoids isolated from Hawthorn Berries have potent antiproliferative and antioxidant activity and may be responsible for the anticancer activities (Qiao 2015) that are important for horses with Cushing’s disease.

Bone K, Hills S: Principles and Practive of Phytotherapy, Modern Herbal Medicine 2012. Elsevier Health Sciences.
Pittler MH, Guo R, Ernst E. Hawthorn extract for treating chronic heart failure. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Jan 23;(1)
Qiao A, Wang Y, Xiang L, Zhang Z, He X:. Novel triterpenoids isolated from hawthorn berries functioned as antioxidant and antiproliferative activities. Journal of Functional Foods 2015, 13:308-313.
Wang J, Xiong X, Feng B. Effect of crataegus usage in cardiovascular disease prevention: an evidence-based approach. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:149363. doi: 10.1155/2013/149363. Epub 2013 Dec 29. PMID: 24459528; PMCID: PMC3891531.
Wynn SG, Fougere B: Veterinary Herbal Medicine. Elsevier 2006, 24:608-609, 21:424