Crataegus oxyacantha is a native of Asia and Europe. In India, it is found in North-Western temperate Himalayas, from Indus to Ravi at an altitude of 6,000-9,000 ft. An ornamental tree, it grows upto 6-9 m in height, with spreading branches and stout spines up to 2.5 cm long. It contains Bioflavonins like rutin, quercitin, triterpinoids, cyanogenic glycoside, trimethylamine, polyphenols, coumarins and tannins. Its homoeopathic tincture is made from the berries. It is covered by Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of India.
High cholesterol and blood pressure
It is a known fact that high cholesterol level and high blood pressure go hand in hand. High cholesterol levels increase the chance to have high blood pressure. Both the conditions need medical intervention. Certain lifestyle modifications along with homoeopathic medications help to manage the deviations. Higher cholesterol, triglycerides and hypertension are clinically important because they are major treatable risk factors for cardio-vascular diseases, fatty liver, gallstones, pancreatitis and allied problems like obesity. Total cholesterol is a measure of the total amount of cholesterol in blood, including low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. LDL cholesterol or “bad” cholesterol is the main source of cholesterol buildup and blockages in the arteries. HDL cholesterol or “good” cholesterol helps remove cholesterol from the arteries. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. A high level of triglycerides in the blood may raise the risk of coronary heart disease.
Of late lifestyle and food habits have changed specially in metros and urban areas in the last few decades. Quantity of high fiber diet like fruits, vegetables, sprouts, etc. has gone down. On the other side quantity of fried foods, fats and carbohydrate rich food has increased. Physical activity has reduced and sedentariness has increased. These may result in increasing number of people having hypercholesterolemia or high levels of cholesterol in the blood. It may increase the risk of heart diseases. Apart from life style problems, genetic factors also play in many cases.
Role of Crataegus oxyacantha 1x, exercise and diet
Crataegus oxyacantha acts on muscles of heart and is a heart tonic. There is no influence on the endocardium. It is used in irregularity of heart and in high arterial tension. It is used as a sedative in cross, irritable patients with cardiac symptoms. It is used in chronic heart disease, with extreme cardiac weakness with very feeble and irregular pulse, general anasarca, pain sensation of pressure in the left side of chest below the clavicle. It is said to have a solvent power upon crustaceous and calcareous deposits in arteries.i Cardiotonic, antioxidant. Research establishes dilation of coronary arteries and better cardiac muscle circulation with antioxidant properties.ii
A large multi-centre observational study has demonstrated that the extract of this drug has significantly improved exercise tolerance and dyspnoea, high blood pressure, fatigue, etc. in 1011 patients with NYHA-II (New York Heart Association) cardiac insufficiency.iii Another study has found that a homoeopathic preparation containing this drug is non-inferior to usual ACE inhibitor/diuretics treatment for mild cardiac insufficiency on all parameters except BP reduction.iv Many studies have confirmed that it lowers or prevents elevation of plasma lipids including total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL and VLDL fractions.Many studies have also proved its role in atherosclerosis.
Along with medication, routine physical activity can lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and raise HDL cholesterol level. People gain health benefits from as little as 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. As per reports, more than 30% of total daily calories should not be from fat, more than 300mg cholesterol should not be eaten in a day, and more than 1500mg of sodium should not be present in diet per day. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can increase important cholesterol-lowering compounds in diet. These compounds, called plant sterols (stearyl alcohol, etc.), work like soluble fiber. Whole-grain cereals such as oatmeal and oat bran, fruits such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and legumes such as kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, and beans are helpful. Too much alcohol will raise blood pressure and triglycerides levels. As stated triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood linked to heart diseases.
Link between cholesterol and hypertension - studies
In a long term study, researchers found a positive association between higher levels of total cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol and total cholesterol-to-HDL cholesterol ratio and an increased risk of hypertension in 3110 men free of hypertension. Those men who had higher levels of HDL cholesterol had a significantly lower risk for developing hypertension than men who had the low levels of HDL cholesterol. When the researchers noticed that men with highest total cholesterol (TC), non-HDL cholesterol, and TC/HDL cholesterol ratio had increased risks of developing hypertension of 23%, 39%, and 54%, respectively. From an interventional standpoint, those with poor lipid profiles may represent an opportunity to address other risk factors for hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, men in the group of highest HDL cholesterol had a 32% decreased risk of developing hypertension compared with those in the lowest group.v
Another study in a population of 8,081 men of 20-54 years old and 7,663 women of 20-49 years old had found that biological interrelations between blood pressure and blood lipids through many parameters. Stratified analyses and multivariable methods were used to control for potential confounding anthropometric and lifestyle variables. Total and non-HDL cholesterol levels increased significantly with increasing systolic or diastolic blood pressure in both sexes. Men 20-29 years old had steeper regression slopes for blood pressure by total cholesterol level than did women of similar age. In men, the association between blood pressure and total cholesterol level decreased with age, whereas in women, it increased with age. Body mass index modified the relation, whereas smoking, physical activity, and alcohol consumption had little influence on the association. Triglyceride levels increased with blood pressure, but this relation was weak in lean subjects. HDL cholesterol level correlated positively with blood pressure in population subgroups having high alcohol consumption.2 In many cases, it is observed that the high cholesterol is related with the activity of the individual.vi
Complementary medicines: Essentia aurea, Crataegus Pentarkan, Viscum Pentarkan, Rauvolfia sepentina 1x.
Dosage: Unless otherwise prescribed, 2-4 tablets 2-3 times a day. Reduce the dose as symptoms improve. If complaints are not relieved, consult a specialist.
Side effects: No side effects of Schwabe’s Crataegus oxyacantha 1x are known.
Contraindications and interactions: No contra-indications and interactions with other drugs for the use of Schwabe’s Crataegus oxyacantha1x are known.
Presentation: Bottle of 20gm.
i W. Boericke, New Manual of Homoeopathic Materia Medica & Repertory [with Relationship of Remedies], Second Re-Augmented & Revised Edition Based on Ninth Edition, Reprint Edition 2002, B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi.
iv Schröder D, Weiser M, Klein P., Efficacy of a homeopathic Crataegus preparation compared with usual therapy for mild (NYHA II) cardiac insufficiency: results of an observational cohort study, Eur J Heart Fail. 2003 Jun;5(3):319-26.
v R. O. Halperin et al., Dyslipidemia and the risk of incident hypertension in men, Hypertension. 2006 Jan;47(1):45-50. Epub 2005 Dec 12.