Med Plant Data Base


Moldo-german project 10.820.09.09GA
«Evaluation of the pharmaceutic potential
of medicinal plants from natural habitats from Republic of Moldova


Crataegus monogyna

KINGDOM: Plantae » Class: Magnoliopsida » Order:Rosales » Family: Rosaceae

Crataegus monogyna


Crataegus monogyna



Class: Magnoliopsida

Order: Rosales

Family: Rosaceae

Genus: Crataegus

Species: C. monogyna

Plant description

Crataegus monogyna, known as
Common Hawthorn, is a species of hawthorn native to Europe, northwest Africa
and western Asia. Other common names include may, mayblossom, maythorn,
quickthorn, whitethorn, motherdie, and haw. This species is one of several that
have been referred to as Crataegus oxyacantha, a name that has been rejected
by the botanical community as too ambiguous.

It is a broadly spreading shrub or small tree 5–14 m tall, with a dense
crown. The bark is dull brown with vertical orange cracks. The younger stems
bear sharp thorns, 1 to 1.5 cm long. The leaves are 2–4 cm long, obovate and
deeply lobed, sometimes almost to the midrib, with the lobes spreading at a
wide angle. The upper surface is dark green above and paler underneath.

The hermaphrodite flowers are produced in late spring (May to early June in
its native area) in corymbs of 5-25 together; each flower is about 1 cm
diameter, and has five white petals, numerous red stamens, and a single
style; they are moderately fragrant. They are pollinated by midges and later
in the year bear numerous haws. The haw is a small, oval dark red fruit about
1 cm long, berry-like, but structurally a pome containing a single seed. Haws
are important for wildlife in winter, particularly thrushes and waxwings;
these birds eat the haws and disperse the seeds in their droppings.

It is distinguished from the related but less widespread Midland Hawthorn
(C. laevigata) in the leaves being deeply lobed, with spreading lobes, and in
the flowers having just one style, not two or three. However they are
inter-fertile and hybrids occur frequently; they are only entirely distinct
in their more typical forms.

Common Hawthorn is extensively planted as a hedge plant, especially for
agricultural use. Its spines and close branching habit render it effectively
stock and human proof with some basic maintenance. The traditional practice
of hedge laying is most commonly practiced with this species.

Numerous hybrids exist, some of which are used as garden shrubs. The most
widely used hybrid is C. × media (C. monogyna × C. laevigata) ,
of which several cultivars are known, including the very popular 'Paul's
Scarlet' with dark pink double flowers. Other garden shrubs that have
sometimes been suggested as possible hybrids involving the Common
Hawthorn[citation needed], include the Various-leaved Hawthorn of the
Caucasus, which is only very occasionally found in parks and gardens.

Diffusion area

North America, Eurasia


This plant grows in rhe forests,
glades, bushes, accompanying the oak, hoenbeam and linden-ash-oak forests; on
the deforested lands, among bushes. Common in the entire country.

Therapeutic actions

Crataegus does not contain any
single active constituent that phytopharmacologists get excited about. No
'super compounds' that can be developed into new drugs. Instead it is the
unique synergy of its compounds that create its marvellous effects - something
that so far has defied replication in the laboratories.

Hawthorn's most valuable medicinal properties are its beneficial action on
the heart - it has undisputed regulatory or tonic effect on the heart that
provides an immensely useful and safe remedy for beginning cardio-vascular
disease - which is still the leading cause of death, particularly in
developed countries. Considering the abundance of Hawthorn it is a shame that
not more people make use of it.

Hawthorn flowers, leaves, berries and seeds are all active and work well in
combination. They regulate the blood-pressure by a dual action on the
coronary arteries and the heart muscle itself. They dilate and relax the
blood vessels, thus lowering blood pressure, yet gently stimulate the heart
muscle to increase the pulse rate. This takes pressure off the heart muscle,
improving the overall efficiency of its action.

Hawthorn's positive, relaxing effect on the nerves that supply the heart is
very helpful for relieving symptoms of stress, tightness in the chest, and
angina. It also regulates irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) and palpitations.
It can be used as a supportive long-term remedy for general heart weakness
that is caused by infectious diseases such as diphtheria or scarlet fever as
well as to improve the overall function of an old and tired heart muscle. It
can be used preventatively, especially recommended for people who are under
constant pressure and stress, or remedially, for those recovering from a
heart attack.

According to Chinese and Japanese studies, Hawthorn clearly shows a
positive effect on the whole coronary system and also helps to reduce 'bad'
cholesterol, one of the most significant contributing factors of heart

Hawthorn improves the peripheral blood flow, thus aiding oxygen supply to
the limbs and the head. In combination with Gingko it is particularly useful
for improving memory.

Hawthorn has also been used for nervousness and as a digestive tonic to
help 'move' stagnant food (Chinese medicine) and aid digestion of fatty
foods. It is also considered quite a useful diuretic and urinary tonic.
Especially the old herbalists seemed to value this aspect of Hawthorn's
palate of healing virtues.

Hawthorn is the best overall heart tonic available in the herbal
pharmacopeia and is even recognized by allopathic medicine for its healing
virtues, and is included in the 'Commission E' list of medicinally useful
plants. It is a singularly safe remedy that can be used over extended periods
of time, as it contains no digitalis-like compounds or other cardio-active
constituents that build up in the body over time

Several species of hawthorn grow as bushy shrubs or small trees that were
often planted as fences or hedgerows in northern Europe. Now found growing
throughout mild climate areas of North Africa, West Asia, Europe, and North
America; hawthorn adapts to a wide range of growing conditions. A member of
the rose family of plants, hawthorn has fragrant white or pink blooms that
are sometimes called mayflowers. Its blossoms are followed by fruits,
resembling cherries, that may be eaten fresh or dried, used in cooking, made
into jam, or brewed into wine. The wood of hawthorn, known for its
durability, is often used to make handles for tools.

 For use in medicine, hawthorn leaves
and flowers are collected, dried, and powdered. The powder is then made into
capsules or tablets or added to beverages or soft foods. Occasionally,
hawthorn fruits are used topically to relieve itching. In the past, a
poultice of hawthorn leaves was applied to skin sores and a wash was made
from hawthorn fruits because it was thought to treat frostbite. Currently,
hawthorn is rarely used topically.

 Hawthorn is much more accepted as a
medicine in Europe than it is in the United States. In Germany, hawthorn is
approved for the treatment of heart failure, the German governmental agency
that evaluates the safety and effectiveness of herbal products. The United
States does not have a comparable agency to evaluate herbal products.

Biologically active substances

Parts used: Flowering tops,
dried ripe fruits, leaves

Collection: The flowering tops are harvested in May.

Dry quickly in the shade to avoid discolouration. The berries are collected
in the autumn.

Again, dry quickly and thoroughly in the shade to avoid mould


Fruit: saponins, glycosides, flavonoids, cardioactive glycosides,

ascorbic acid, condensed tannins.

Flowers: cardiotonic amines

Indigenous medicinal plants in databases

Talpa gastii – Leonurus cardiaca

 Tataneasa – Symphytum

officinale Lepech.

 Tei – Tilia cordata L.

 Traista ciobanului – Capsella bur

pastoris L.

 Trei frati patati – Viola tricolor L.

 Troscot – Polygonum aviculare L

 Turita – Agrimonia eupatoria L.

 Tintaura – Centaurium

umbellatum Gilib.

 Urzica – Urtica dioica L.

 Verigar – Rhamnus cathartica L.

 Vetrice – Tanacetum vulgare L.

 Vasc – Viscum album L.

 Vinarita – Asperula odorata L.

 Volbura – Convolvulus

arvensis L.

 Zmeur – Rubus idaeus L.

Centers, institutes, research labs of medicinal plants


Catalog of Life

electronic Plant Information Centre


The International Plant Names Index

Catalog of Life

Integrated Taxonomic Information System


Encyclopedia of life


Vascular Tropicos


Genetic characteristics

2n = 34

Gathering place (figure should be increased)

Crataegus monogyna
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