Natural order – Rosaceae. Common name – Hawthorn. Habitat – Europe and North America. Preparation – Tincture from the fruit.
GENERAL ANALYSIS AND THERAPEUTICS.
Our knowledge of the action of Crataegus is chiefly from clinical sources. However, the few provings that have been made show conclusively that its action is directly upon the heart which, primarily, it excites moderately, but to such a degree that it becomes quite evident that the long-continued used of the drug would result in lowering the tone of the heart and enfeebling its action. It therefore resembles in its effects both Digitalis and Strophanthus, though its action is milder. It is used in all varieties of chronic heart disease when weakness of that organ is present, and while its tonic effects are not so prompt and energetic as are those of Digitalis and Strophanthus, they appear to be more lasting. It is the verdict of those who have had the most experience in the use of Crataegus that in the same class of cases when the drugs above named, in physiological doses, prove promptly palliative and never curative this drug affords more tardy relief, but its action continues, without harmful result from long-continued use, and finally in many cases results in a permanent cure. This has been my own experience in a number of cases where palliation only was expected, but where a cure has apparently resulted. It may be indicated in valvular disease, with or without dilatation, and in all other forms of cardiac disease where there is a feeble and irregular heart action, irregular and intermittent pulse, dyspnoea, etc., with or without dropsy. Differing from Digitalis it may be beneficial before failing compensation, and in incipient cardiac disease after rheumatism. In moderate doses it seems to soothe the heart action in such cases and promotes a cure.
Crataegus is also a valuable remedy in functional disturbances of the heart, especially when they result from indigestion, and heart failure threatens. Palpitation. Tachycardia. Some observers speak highly of the value of Crataegus in Angina Pectoris and in Arterio-sclerosis of the aged. The apparent value of the drug in cardiac dropsy has led to its successful use in dropsies not of cardiac origin and great results are claimed from its use in albuminuria, Bright’s disease and diabetes. Anaemia of young girls with weak, irregular heart and action. Collapse during typhoid fever.
Mind. Apprehensive, despondent. Very nervous and irritable, with pain in back of head and neck.
Respiratory Organs. Extreme dyspnoea on least exertion. Dry cough. Respiration irregular.
Heart and Pulse. Pain in region of heart, very feeble and irregular heart action. Heart dilated; first sound weak. Mitral regurgitant murmur. Pulse accelerated, irregular and intermittent.
Generalities. General Anasarca. Cold extremities; pallor; irregular pulse and breathing. Indigestion and nervous prostration, with heart failure. Worse in warm room. Better from fresh air, quiet and rest.
Compare Conval., Digitalis, Strophanthus.