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bandhuka - Crataegus oxycantha Linn.

bandhuka :

bandhuka  : Crataegus oxycantha Linn. Crataegus oxyacantha Linn., commonly known as Hawthorn, is one of the most widely used herbal plant with diverse pharmacological actions.It possess antioxidant and collagen stabilizing action. Hawthorn is used to treat a wide variety of inflammatory conditions, but primary use is treat hypertension, ischemic heart disease, congestive heart failure and arrhythmia. The chemical composition of Hawthorn includes vitamin C, Flavonoids, Glycosides, Saponins and Tannins,Cratategen, cardiotonic amines, Amygdalin ,pectins etc.


Hawthorn was regarded as a valuable heart remedy as far back as the middle Ages. It was considered sacred in early times and believed to furnish the Crown of Thorns. Legend reveals that during AD30-63 Joseph of Aramathea came to England and planted his hawthorn staff in Glastonbury soil. Thus came to known as Glastonbury Thorn; grew and blossomed at Christmas and Easter as if in celebration of the Christian Year. The Celts used Hawthorn in May celebrations using it to dress maypoles and symbolic effigies, and associated it with fertility

Taxonomical Classification

Family: Rosaceae


English: hawthorn (berry)


Crimson Cloud - A form with red flowers that are single and contain a white region in the center. The fruit is shiny red, and the plant is supposedly more resistant to leaf blight than Pauls Scarlet.

Pauls Scarlet (also known as Paulii) - This common cultivar features double flowers that are dark rose to red. Its stunning in flower, but very susceptible to hawthorn leaf spot and blight. Grows to 20 tall.

Snowbird (C. x mordenensis) - This plant is a Canadian selection of a hybrid with C. succulenta. The flowers are white and double, but fruit set is reportedly less than other forms. Also may be hardier than Toba, but disease resistance accounts vary widely, with some observers claiming severe leaf spot defoliation.

Toba (C. x mordenensis) - This plant is a Canadian selection of a hybrid with C. succulenta. It features double white blooms that age to pink and red fruit. The 12-15 tall plants are marketed as being leaf spot-resistant, but reports vary on this account.


Synonyms in Ayurveda: bandhuka, arkavallabha, baandhujivaka

The Genus name Crataegus is derived from the Greek word “Kratos”, which means “hard wood”
Rasa: Amla Madhura
Guna: Picchila
Veerya: Ushna
Vipaka: Amla
Karma: Vatahara

Cardiotonic, increases the force of contraction of the heart muscle, increases the efficiency of oxygen utilization by the heart, antiarrhythmic, improves cardiac metabolism, have protective action on blood vessel walls, coronary and peripheral vasodilator, sedative, anti-oxidant, diuretic, antihypertensive.


It prefers sandy clay-loam soil and subhumid, temperate climate. It can grow well in low rainfall areas.


Planting material is seed. It has two years dormancy. Seed germination is difficult and time consuming.Therefore vegetative propagation by stem cutting is preferred for raising saplings of C.oxyacantha. Further, vegetatively propagated plants produce better growth than that of raised from seeds.


C. oxyacantha comes to bearing after 5-6 years from planting in the field. Flowering and fruiting occur during April-May and fruits ripen during JulyAugust. Fruits are harvested when it is fully ripe.


Most of the availablehawthorn preparations have been standardized to 2%vitexin and/or 20% procyanidins per dose. Europeanproducts are standardized to 2.2% flavonoids. Mostof the preparations are available as dietarysupplements.


1 Vitamin C.2 Flavonoids : Quercetin, Hyperoside, Rutin,Flavonoglycosyls,Vitexin-4-rhamnoside.3 Glycosides.4 Oligomeric procyanidins (OPC) - epicatechol.5 Anthocyanidins and Proanthocyanidins (biflavans)6 Saponins and Tannins.7 Cratetegin (most prevelant in flowers > leaves >berries).8 Other chemical constituents: a) Cardiotonic amines: Phenylethylamine, Tyramine, Isobutylamine, O-methoxy phenylethylamine; b) Choline andacetylcholine; c) Purine derivatives : Adenosine,Adenine, Guanine, Caffeic acid; d) Amygdalin; e)Pectins; f) Triterpene acids : Ursolic acid, Oleonicacid, Crategolic acid


Hawthorn Berry Extract Capsules

Parts used for medicinal purpose

Flower, Fruit, Leaves, ,


1. Standardized extract - 250 mg three times a day.
2. Berry - 300 mg three times a day
.3. Tincture - 1 ml three times a day.
4. Crude - 200 mg daily.
5. Leaf and flower extract - 160 mg = 3.5 mg flavonoids daily.


Crataegus (C. monogyna and C. pentagyna) havesimilar pharmacological activities and may be suitablealternatives


no adulterant known


controversy result showed that hawthorn provides no symptomatic or functional benefit when given with standard medical therapy to patients with heart failure.


It is deciduous small tree growing up to nine m in ht. Branches are grayish and spine scent. Leaves are 3.0-3.5 cm long, broadly ovate or rhombic, cuneate at base, deeply and sharply cut to two-thirds their width, coarsely-toothed, pubescent or glabrescent beneath. Petioles are almost equal to blade.

Floral Characteristics Ÿ Flowers are 5.0-5.7 mm long, white terminal corymbose cymes. Calyx is woolly-hairy at base having 5-lobbed. Lobes are sub-acute. Petals are 5 in number and orbicular. Stamens are many. Carpels are adnate to the calyx tube, tips pubescent. Styles are 1 or 2 in number, slender and globose. Fruits are glabrous,scarlet red and fleshy.

Geographical distribution:

It is a temperate shrub or a small tree of forests, scrubs, foothills, wastelands etc. of north-west Himalaya from Indus to Ravi, at an altitude of 2000-3000 m msl


Woods, hedges, thickets etc on clays and heavy loams
Where found in hedges it is often as a relict of ancient woodland

Plant conservation:

Least Concern

General Use:

Traditionally, fruit is used as home remedy for arteriosclerosis, hypertension, and sore throat in folk medicine. It is considered useful in congestive heart failure, coronary circulation problems, angina, and arrhythmias. It is used to increase cardiac output reduced by pulmonary disease and to treat hypo- and hyper-tension, atherosclerosis, hyperlipidemia, and Buergers disease. It is also used as a sedative, anxiolytic, antispasmodic, astringent, and diuretic. Hawthorn preparations are used as a wash for sores, itching, and frost-bite. Fresh fruit is effective in treatment of cardiac disorders of nervine origin. Extract of C. oxyacantha shoot possesses strong negative chronotropic, positive inotropic and coronary dilatory effects. Leaf is used to treat hypertension. C. oxyacantha also possesses antioxidant properties. Phenolic extract of its flower has antioxidative properties.

Therapeutic Uses:

With the availableexperimental work and clinical research Crataegus’sprimary use has been recommended in the followingcardiovascular conditions:1. Hypertension2. Angina3. Arrhythmias4. Congestive Heart Failure (NYHA class I & II)5. Peripheral vascular disorders6. Antioxidant and lipid regulating agent

Systemic Use:

  • Fresh fruit is effective in treatment of cardiac disorders of nervine origin.
  • Extract of C. oxyacantha shoot possesses strong negative chronotropic, positive inotropic and coronary dilatory effects. Leaf is used to treat hypertension.
  • C. oxyacantha also possesses antioxidant properties.
  • Phenolic extract of its flower has antioxidative properties.


Hawthorn berries causes reduction in elevated blood levels of pyruvic and lactic acid, normalization of prolonged systole and prevention of ECG changes due to hypoxia. It is a valuable herb for a strong and healthy heart due to its powerful antioxidant, antiinflammatory and lipid-lowering properties.


The drug fromflowers has anti-spasmodic, hypotensive, cardiotonic,diuretic and nervine-sedative properties. Hawthornis most valuable remedy for cardiovascular systemand considered to be one of the best cardiac tonicfound in plant kingdom. It dilates peripheral bloodvessels, increases metabolism in the heart muscle,dilates coronary vessels and improves blood supplyto the heart and thereby help in treating heart diseaseand mitigating symptoms in early stage of heartfailure

Clinical trials:

1. Ethnomedicinal and phytopharmacological potential of Crataegus oxyacantha Linn. – A review


1. Crataegus oxyacantha-A cardioprotective herb by S.K.Verma, Vartika Jain , D Verma, Khamesra


Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of hawthorn during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Heart disease: Hawthorn can interact with many prescription drugs used to treat heart disease. If you have a heart condition, dont use hawthorn without the recommendation of your healthcare provider.

Surgery: Hawthorn might slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using hawthorn at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Toxicity studies:

Hawthorn is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when used at recommended doses short-term (up to 16 weeks). It is not known whether hawthorn is safe when used long-term.

In some people, hawthorn can cause nausea, stomach upset, fatigue, sweating, headache, dizziness, palpitations, nosebleeds, insomnia, agitation, and other problems.

Use in other system of medicine:

The fruits and flowers constitute a drug which is official used in many pharmacopoeias including theHomeopathic Pharmacopoeia of India.

The Crataegus species most familiar to practitionersof traditional Chinese medicine and traditional Chineseveterinary medicine is Shan Zha (Crataegus), which isthe fruit of the species Crataegus pinnatifida , alsoknown as Chinese Hawthorn.
Shan Zha(Crataegus)was first mentioned as a medicinal herb in the Tang-Ben-Cao, a Chinese herbal pharmacopoeia dating to 659 AD.
Shan Zha (Crataegus) is commonly used to reduce Food Stagnation, invigorate blood flow and alleviatedysentery and diarrhea.
Clinical studies in China haveshown that Shan Zha (Crataegus) also lowers blood pressure, affects systemic vasodilation, lowers serumcholesterol levels and is useful in the prevention andtreatment of arteriosclerosis.

A popular Chinese drink containing the active ingredients of  Shan Zha (Crataegus) has been used to lower blood lipid levels inhumans and rats.


Hawthorn, also known as Haw, Hedgethorn, Maybush, May blossom, May Day Flower, Ban-sangli(Hindi) and White Thorn; all these names correspondto the genus Crataegus (Gr. kratos = hardness ofwood), a member of Rosaceae family. It is a spinytree or shrub, may reach a height of 30 feet, but isoften grown as a hedge plant in Europe[1]. In India,it is found in the temperate Himalayas, Kashmir andHimachal Pradesh, at an altitude of 1800-3000meters

KEY WORDS: Crataegus oxyacantha, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant,bandhuka

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