Chinese hawthorn [Crataegus pinnatifida] Health & Wellness

Hawthorn Berry may promote healthy flow of blood

Cardio Hawthorn Berry

Crataegus pinnatifida (also known as Chinese hawthorn, or Hawthorn berry) is a small to mid-size tree with bright red fruits. Crataegus pinnatifida has a long history of use in traditional oriental herbal medicine to stimulating digestion and improving blood circulation as well as improving heart function. However, many of these claims remain mostly untested.

Crataegus Pinnatifida Dosage

A typical recommended dosage by manufacturers is somewhere between 200 mg and up to 3 g daily of Hawthron fruit extract.

Why is Hawthorn Berry (Crataegus Pinnatifida) Extract in Sport Supplements?

Hawthorn berry powder can be found in some fat burners as well as in some pre-workout supplements. It is sometimes backed with claim that it promotes healthy flow of blood throughout the body. It is believed that preparations of leaves or fruits of Crataegus pinnatifida improve the heart function [1]. Some other hawthorn species are also used to strengthen cardiac output [2]. Procyanidins (Proanthocyanidins), extracted from hawthorn berry, exhibit much higher anti-oxidant activity than vitamin E [3,4]. Besides their potent anti-oxidant activity procyanidins also play a role in the stabilization of collagen and maintenance of elastin [4]. Both collagen and elastin are two critical proteins in connective tissue that support organs, joints, blood vessels, and muscle. Procyanidins are vasoactive polyphenols linked to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and to lower overall mortality [5]. Procyanidins also seem to suppress production of a protein endothelin-1 that tightens blood vessels [5].

(Crataegus pinnatifida) Hawthorn berries

Pic. 1 – Chinese Hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida) berries.

Other Uses of Crataegus Pinnatifida

Crataegus pinnatifida extract appears to be one of the few agents that actually promotes hair growth. In animal study by Heon-Sub Shin and others [6] assessed the effect of Crataegus pinnatifida extract on hair growth. Researchers reported increased number and the size of hair follicles, indicating anagen phase induction. It may therefore be a promising remedy for hail loss prevention. Dried fruits from Crataegus pinnatifida are also reported to suppress the elevated total cholesterol and LDL-lipoprotein levels in rodents fed with high-cholesterol diet [7]. Besides that, hawthorn consumption provides overall beneficial effects on reversing high-cholesterol diet associated detrimental changes [7]. Significantly reduced the levels of total cholesterol, triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol were also noted in animal study by Zhang and associates [8].

Crataegus Pinnatifida Side Effects

It is not known whether Chinese hawthorn is safe in the long-term. However, it seems that short-term usage at recommended doses is possibly safe [9]. Some of the common side effects of hawthorn include nausea, stomach upset, fatigue, headache, dizziness, insomnia, and other problems [9].

(Other common names: Chinese Hawthorn, Hawthorn extract (leaf, flower), Hawthorn (berry), Hawthorn Fruit, Crataegus laevigata, Crataegus monogyna, Crataegus oxyacantha, Crataegus pinnatifida, Crataegus rhipidophylla, English Hawthorn, Hagedorn, Harthorne, Haw, Hawthrone, Shānzhā, Oligomeric procyanidins)


  1. Kao, Erl-Shyh, et al. “Anti-inflammatory potential of flavonoid contents from dried fruit of Crataegus pinnatifida in vitro and in vivo.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 53.2 (2005): 430-436.
  2. Al Makdessi, et al. “Myocardial protection by pre-treatment with Crataegus oxyacantha.” Arzneim.- Forsch. Res. 1996, 46, 25-27.
  3. Liu, Tongxun, Yanni Cao, and Mouming Zhao. “Extraction optimization, purification and antioxidant activity of procyanidins from hawthorn (C. pinnatifida Bge. var. major) fruits.” Food Chemistry 119.4 (2010): 1656-1662.
  4. Maffei, Facino R., et al. “Free radicals scavenging action and anti-enzyme activities of procyanidines from Vitis vinifera. A mechanism for their capillary protective action.” Arzneimittel-Forschung 44.5 (1994): 592.
  5. Corder, R., et al. “Oenology: red wine procyanidins and vascular health.” Nature 444.7119 (2006): 566-566.
  6. Shin, Heon‐Sub, et al. “Hair Growth Activity of Crataegus pinnatifida on C57BL/6 Mouse Model.” Phytotherapy Research (2012).
  7. Kwok, Ching-Yee, et al. “Consumption of dried fruit of Crataegus pinnatifida(hawthorn) suppresses high-cholesterol diet-induced hypercholesterolemia in rats.” Journal of Functional Foods 2.3 (2010): 179-186.
  8. Zhang, Jianyong, et al. “Effects of an aqueous extract of Crataegus pinnatifida Bge. var. major NE Br. fruit on experimental atherosclerosis in rats.” Journal of ethnopharmacology (2013).
  9. “Find a Vitamin or Supplement” Retrieved 1. September 2013