“Crataegus is the nearest approach to a positive heart tonic that I know of. It has produced some heart symptoms and has, doubtless, a homeopathic relation, but it is not a heart-poison like Digitalis and has no cumulative action.”
Dr. John H. Clarke, Dictionary of Homeopathic Materia Medica
This article continues the series for Organopathy. More details about the origin of the Organopathy may be found in the acticle about Quercus robur.
Latin: Crataegus oxyacantha; Common: English Hawthorn
The hawthorn leaves are well known herbal remedy for heart palpitation. In homeopathy Crataegus fruits have their place as one of the so called ‘organ’ homeopathic remedies – remedies which act particularly on specific organ or part of human body.
Crataegus oxyacantha has specific action on the heart. In homeopathy it is known for its excellent action in diseases of the heart like chronic dilatation, cardiac failure, angina pectoris, fatty degeneration of the heart, myocarditis, endocarditis, etc.
For the preparation of Crataegus homeopathic remedy were used fresh ripe fruit from the hawthorn, pounded to a pulp and macerated in two times their weight of alcohol. The few provings that have been made show conclusively that Crataegus act directly upon the heart. It excites the heart moderately, to result in lowering the tone of the heart and enfeebling its action.
Indications for Prescription
Crataegus is found beneficial in cases of chronically dilated heart. That means one or more of the cavities of the heart were enlarged or hypertrophied. Factors which cause such disease are heredity, work and mode of life, toxic condition of the organism, renal disease and more.
When such state is prolonged, people face a condition named ‘cardiac insufficiency’. The heart is not strong enough to pomp out the blood throughout the body with the same rhythm as before; and the circulation is slowed down. From the efforts to cope, the heart becomes gradually dilated and the cardiac muscles weaken.
The leading indications for Crataegus are: weak and rapid pulse, dyspnea and oppression on least exertion; retaining fluids in the extremities (dropsy), affection of the valves, anemia and threatening heart failure. The skin is pale, the urine is diminished. Pain is felt in the back of head and neck, extremities cold and edematous; the respiration is irregular, there is excessive perspiration.
People feel weak and suddenly exhausted, irritable and despaired; feel oppression and stitches in the heart region, and sometimes suffer from insomnia. There might be pain under the left clavicle. The pulse is rapid and irregular, and is hardly felt.
They have the feeling that their heart will stop.
As Dr. D. M. Borland writes in his ‘Treatment of Certain Heart Condition’, Crataegus is of the greatest value in myocardial degeneration with a steadily failing heart. When given in low potency it may produce a dramatic effect and a considerable amount of recovery in the apparently irreparably damaged heart.
Crataegus shall diminish giddiness and lower the pulse, and decrease the blood pressure. It shall act as a sedative in cross, irritable patients with cardiac symptoms. They feel better in open fresh air, and when quiet and rest.
The remedy has two principal indications: the weakness and the irregularity of the heart. The pulse is weak, rapid and irregular. Oppression by the least effort with the sensation of craving for air. There is also edema, but less marked than in Digitalis. And sometimes there is insomnia. It has good action on the cardiac muscles, especially in grave infections.
When the heart is weakened from acute infectious diseases, Crataegus will sustain it without interfering with the main course of treatment. In the convalescence after acute diseases when the heart has become weak, Crataegus is also indicated.
One to fifteen drops from the homeopathic mother tincture to be diluted in water and taken four times a day. In chronic heart weakness and dilatation best results were given by the lower potencies, as D3 or Q1. The treatment should continue from 3 to several weeks in order to obtain good results.
The action of Crataegus is mild and steady.