Chinese Name: Shan zha
Medical Name: Fructus Crataeguz
Latin Name: Crataegus pinnatifida
Origin: Berry
Taste: Sour, sweet

Quotes from Chinese historical sources

TANG DYNASTY NEWLY REVISED MATERIA MEDICA: "Blended into juice, it can be used to arrest dysentery and as a wash to treat the head and body for boils and itching."

SUPPLEMENT TO THE AMPLIFIED MATERIA MEDICA: "Strengthens the stomach and reactivates stagnant qi. It will produce immediate effects in a decoction with added sugar."

THE COMPENDIUM OF MATERIA MEDICA: "Promotes digestion and breaks down retained meat."

Western Research

Am J Chin Med. 2005;33(1):1-10.
Hawthorn: potential roles in cardiovascular disease.
Chang WT, Dao J, Shao ZH.
Emergency Resuscitation Center, Department of Medicine Section of Emergency Medicine, University of Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
Hawthorn (Crataegus) may play a role in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and in particular, congestive heart failure. Evidence is accumulating that hawthorn may induce anti-ischemia/reperfusion-injury, anti-arrhythmic, hypolipidemic and hypotensive effects. These beneficial effects may in part be due to the presence of antioxidant flavonoid components. While a number of studies have been performed to evaluate the clinical efficacy of hawthorn, an international, multicenter, prospective clinical study including a large number of New York Heart Association (NYHA) class II/III heart failure patients is ongoing to test hawthorn's long-term therapeutic effects. Further clinical trials as well as pharmacokinetic and mechanistic studies are needed to explore and confirm its effectiveness, safety and pharmacological mechanism.

Phytomedicine. 2003;10(5):363-9.
A randomised double blind placebo controlled clinical trial of a standardised extract of fresh Crataegus berries (Crataegisan) in the treatment of patients with congestive heart failure NYHA II.
Degenring FH, Suter A, Weber M, Saller R. Bioforce AG, Roggwil, Switzerland.
A placebo controlled, randomised, parallel group, multicentre trial conducted in accordance with the guidelines of Good Clinical Practice (GCP) shows the efficacy and safety of a standardised extract of fresh berries of Crataegus oxyacantha L. and monogyna Jacq. (Crataegisan) in patients with cardiac failureI. A total of 143 patients (72 men, 71 women, mean age of 64.8 (8.0 years) were recruited and treated with 3 times 30 drops of the extract (n = 69) or placebo (n = 74) for 8 weeks. The conclusion is that the recruited NYHA II patients may expect an improvement in their heart failure condition under long term therapy with the standardised extract of fresh Crataegus berries.

Nahrung. 2003 Jun;47(3):191-8.
Phenolic constituents and antioxidant capacities of Crataegus monogyna (Hawthorn) callus extracts.
Bahorun T, Aumjaud E, Ramphul H, Rycha M, Luximon-Ramma A, Trotin F, Aruoma OI. Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius, Reduit.
In this study, the production of polyphenols by ten-year-old Crataegus monogyna calli was studied in relation to growth variation and antioxidant capacity within a subculture period. The polyphenolic rich calli were as effective as butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) in preventing hydroperoxide and conjugated diene formation in a 30% oil-in-water emulsion prepared with stripped sunflower oil, during 7days storage at 30 degrees C. Crataegus monogyna cell culture represents an important alternative source for natural antioxidants.

Am J Med. 2003 Jun 1;114(8):665-74.
Comment in: Am J Med. 2003 Jun 1;114(8):700-1. Hawthorn extract for treating chronic heart failure: meta-analysis of randomized trials.
Pittler MH, Schmidt K, Ernst E. Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, UK.
The aim of this meta-analysis was to assess the evidence from rigorous clinical trials of the use of hawthorn extract to treat patients with chronic heart failure. The results suggest that there is a significant benefit from hawthorn extract as an adjunctive treatment for chronic heart failure.

Phytomedicine 2002 Oct;9(7):581-8
Camphor-Crataegus berry extract combination dose-dependently reduces tilt induced fall in blood pressure in orthostatic hypotension.
Belz GG, Butzer R, Gaus W, Loew D.
Center for Cardiovascular Pharmacology, ZeKaPha GmbH, Mainz, Germany. belz@zekapha.de
Camphor-crataegus berry combination (CCC) decreased the orthostatic fall in blood pressure versus placebo, corroborating the long-term medical experience with CCC and justifying the indication orthostatic hypotension.

Ther Umsch 2002 Jun;59(6):301-6
Phytotherapy in cardiovascular medicine [Article in German]
Zbinden S, Seiler Ch.
Schweizer Herz- und Gefasszentrum Bern, Universitatsspital, Bern.
Crataegus is often used in patients with heart failure because of its positive inotropic effect. Additionally, crataegus acts as an antiarrhythmic substance by prolonging refractory period of the action potential.