Homeopathic Hawthorn for Hypertension in Dogs With Early-stage Heart Failure
Hawthorn has been used as a herbal medicine for centuries for its positive effects on cardiac health. It has also been used by homeopaths as a homeopathically prepared and prescribed medicine for people with similar conditions.
One of the arguments against homeopathy is that the material dosage of the original substance is either undetectable – or so minute as to have no effect. Many detractors of homeopathy claim that if there is an effect at all, that it is simply a placebo response.
In this article, we discuss the effect of homeopathically prepared Crataegus (hawthorne) on dogs with myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD). This is the most common cardiopathy in middle-aged dogs.
When the dog is asymptomatic and has an enlarged left atrium, conventional treatment can give some improvement – and extend the asymptomatic phase; however, many allopathic drugs are very costly and may produce unwanted side effects.
To extend the duration of this asymptomatic phase, complementary therapies such as herbal medicine and homeopathy are available. Although herbal therapy with extract of Crataegus oxyacantha is beneficial, there is a risk of adverse reactions – unlike with homeopathy, where the risk is minimised with the administration of ultra-diluted doses.
Objective: This study evaluated the efficacy of Crataegus oxyacantha, as mother tincture (MT) and in 6cH homeopathic formulation, in treating the initial phase of heart failure due to MMVD in a veterinary clinic setting.
Methods: A total of 30 dogs with MMVD, 7 years or older and weighing up to 10 kg, were randomised into three groups as follows: Crataegus 6cH, Crataegus MT, and hydroalcoholic solution (placebo). Animals were evaluated through echocardiography parameters, laboratory blood tests, and systolic blood pressure (SBP) measurements at 30, 60, 90, and 120 days after initiation of therapy, for statistical analysis and monitoring of the blinded study.
Results: Patients who received Crataegus 6cH showed a reduction in SBP 60 days after treatment, while those receiving Crataegus MT exhibited a reduction 90 days after the therapy was initiated. There was a significant linear regression when evaluating the effect of treatment with Crataegus 6cH on SBP measurements over the evaluation intervals (linear equation: SBP = 176.57 mm Hg – 0.21x, where x represents days of treatment). There was an increase in both fractional shortening and isovolumetric relaxation time for those patients receiving the homeopathic formulation.
Conclusions: Therapy with Crataegus was beneficial for hypertensive and cardiopathic dogs with MMVD, extending the duration of the asymptomatic phase. The reduction in SBP occurred more swiftly in the 6cH group than in the MT-treated dogs.
This Random Controlled Trial (RCT) shows that Hawthorn is an effective treatment for hypertensive dogs with MMVD. Importantly, it would be difficult to argue that a placebo response was responsible for the dogs’ improvements.
Balbueno MCS, Peixoto KDC Junior, Coelho CP. Evaluation of the Efficacy of Crataegus oxyacantha in Dogs with Early-Stage Heart Failure. Homeopathy. 2020 Nov;109(4):224-229. doi: 10.1055/s-0040-1710021. Epub 2020 Jul 17. PMID: 32679591.