Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Herbal Remedy, Hawthorn Extract, Can Help The Heart, Review Finds

Date:
January 23, 2008
Source:
Center for the Advancement of Health
Summary:
Adding another twist to the ongoing debate over the value of an herbal treatment for patients with heart failure, a new review of existing research suggests that hawthorn extract "significantly" improves symptoms.

Adding another twist to the ongoing debate over the value of an herbal treatment for patients with heart failure, a new review of existing research suggests that hawthorn extract "significantly" improves symptoms.

Related Articles


A group of Cochrane Researchers looked to see if hawthorn extract was better than placebo for treating patients with chronic heart failure. They identified 14 randomised control trials that compared the effects of adding hawthorn extract or placebo to conventional therapies.

The trials involved a total of 855 patients and the data indicated that hawthorn extract:

  • improved maximal workload,
  • increased exercise tolerance,
  • reduced oxygen consumption by the heart, and
  • reduced shortness of breath and fatigue.
  • A few people reported mild nausea, dizziness and heart and stomach complaints.

"There is good evidence that, when used alongside conventional therapy, hawthorn extract can bring additional benefits," says lead researcher Dr Ruoling Guo, who works in Complementary Medicine at Peninsula Medical School at the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, UK.

"If I had chronic heart failure, I certainly would consider (using) it," said review co-author Dr. Max Pittler, deputy director of complementary medicine at Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, England.

The review does not include results of a large new study -- unpublished to date -- that suggested hawthorn has only a limited affect on lifespan.

At issue is heart failure, a common condition that is both debilitating and deadly. An estimated five million Americans suffer from heart failure, which is often the result of clogged arteries that put stress on the heart by forcing it to work harder.

As a result, the heart becomes larger while failing to effectively move blood around the body. This causes fluids to build up in the legs and lungs, often causing shortness of breath and other symptoms.

Perhaps the most famous heart failure patient is Vice President Dick Cheney, who has suffered from a long history of cardiac problems and has a defibrillator implanted in his chest.

According to the new review, the hawthorn bush produces one of the most commonly used herbal medicines in the United States. Many believe that hawthorn extract improves heart health, lowers cholesterol and boosts antioxidant levels.

To determine whether hawthorn is actually an effective treatment, Pittler and colleagues searched the medical literature for high-quality studies into the use of the herb in chronic heart failure patients.

The review of the studies appears in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews like this one draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.

The researchers found 14 studies that met their criteria, several of which looked at the use of hawthorn as an addition to conventional medications.

The review authors combined the results of 10 studies of 855 patients into a meta-analysis. Compared to placebo, hawthorn extract boosted the maximum level of physiological workload -- a fact that the review authors described as significant, although they acknowledged they based the finding on small numbers of studies and patients.

The analysis found that hawthorn, as compared to placebo, also decreased the "pressure-heart rate product," a measurement of how much oxygen is used by the heart. In addition, the analysis reports that two other measurements -- exercise tolerance, and shortness of breath and fatigue -- improved "significantly" in patients who used hawthorn.

Side effects were reported to be "infrequent, mild and transient," and included nausea, dizziness and heart and gastrointestinal complaints. The studies reviewed did not examine death rates in detail, however.

Overall, the review showed a "significant benefit in symptom control and physiologic outcomes" in patients who took hawthorn, Pittler said. According to him, the extract appears to boost the strength of heart contractions, increase blood flow through arteries and reduce irregular heartbeats.

There are some caveats, however. Only seven of the 14 trials specified that patients were taking conventional drugs. In addition, patients included in the studies had mild-to-moderate heart failure. Pittler said hawthorn might cause greater side effects in patients who must take drugs that are more powerful to control their disease.

Dr. Gregg Fonarow, director of the Heart Failure Program at the University of California at Los Angeles, said the larger hawthorn study whose results were released last year impressed him more. The study, which was not included in the review because it thus far remains unpublished, found only limited benefit.

"It does indeed demonstrate that [hawthorn] is not a harmful therapy, but it's one that is not particularly helpful nor that would be recommended," Fonarow said. "It's naturally attractive to think there is something over the counter or naturally occurring that may help improve outcome. Unfortunately, we've not been able to identify that so far."

Reference: Pittler MH, Guo R, Ernst E. Hawthorn extract for treating chronic heart failure. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 1.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Center for the Advancement of Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Center for the Advancement of Health. "Herbal Remedy, Hawthorn Extract, Can Help The Heart, Review Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080122203321.htm>.
Center for the Advancement of Health. (2008, January 23). Herbal Remedy, Hawthorn Extract, Can Help The Heart, Review Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080122203321.htm
Center for the Advancement of Health. "Herbal Remedy, Hawthorn Extract, Can Help The Heart, Review Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080122203321.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) — Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins