Hawthorn leaf and flower is the common name for the leaves and flowers of the several Crataegus species. Crataegus species are shrubs or small trees, mostly growing to 5–15 m (16–49 ft) tall, with small pome fruit and (usually) thorny branches. The most common type of bark is smooth grey in young individuals, developing shallow longitudinal fissures with narrow ridges in older trees.
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) is a traditionally used plant and it contains active substances acting as free radical scavengers. The major constituents of hawthorn leaf and flower extract are flavonoids (such as vitexin, rutin, hyperoside), proanthocyanidins and phenolic acids. Berries, leaves, and flowers of hawthorn are phytochemically similar in composition, differing primarily in the ratio of specific flavonoids and procyanidins present.
Hawthorn extract provides safe and effective treatment for the early stages of heart disease, angina, myocarditis, arteriosclerosis, nervous conditions like insomnia, and diarrhea. It also strengthens blood vessels, vascular insufficiency and blood clots, restoring the heart muscle wall, lowering cholesterol and to aid digestion.