Effect of hawthorn on brain function.
Pub Date: 12/22/2008
Publication: Name: Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism Publisher: National Herbalists Association of Australia Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 National Herbalists Association of Australia ISSN: 1033-8330
Issue: Date: Winter, 2008 Source Volume: 20 Source Issue: 4
Accession Number: 200247356
Full Text: Schandry R, Duschek S. 2008. The effect of Camphor--Crataegus berry extract combination on blood pressure and mental functions in chronic hypotension--A randomized placebo controlled double blind design. Phytomed 15:11;914-22. (TF)

According to the World Health Organisation, readings below 110 mmHg (in males) or 100 mmHg (in females) for systolic measurement signify hypotension, irrespective of a diastolic reading. Such chronically low blood pressure (BP) can cause reduced cognitive performance, particularly prominent in the area of attention. This seems to occur due to deficient tissue perfusion in a large area of the brain.

The Biological Psychology Unit of the University of Munich recently undertook studies to assess whether such cognitive deficit can be ameliorated by an elevation of blood pressure. They measured the effects of a rapid onset Camphor-Crataegus berry extract combination (Korodin[R]) on blood pressure and cognition in two groups of 40 and 48 hypotensive (systolic BP under 100 mmHg) women. One hundred grams of the extract Korodin[R] contains:

Participants in the randomised placebo controlled double blind trials were given 25 drops of Korodin[R] or placebo, and blood pressure was then repeatedly measured as participants were presented with a number of tasks assessing cognition and attention. Compared to placebo the extract produced substantial differential effects on both blood pressure and cognitive performance. For two of the four given tasks the improvement in cognition could be linked directly to the rise in blood pressure.

Following acute single dose administration the effects were visible within 2 to 5 minutes and blood pressure was elevated almost immediately by 5-8 mmHg systolic and 2-5 mmHg diastolic, signifying a strong effect size. The rapid action is believed to be due to the camphor component, while Crataegus berries principally exert effects in chronic dosing.

The authors conclude that such results provide support for the hypothesis that raising blood pressure may alleviate hypotensive cognitive deficit. The Camphor-Crataegus berry extract Korodin[R] is a useful combination to address such problems.
Fluid extract 97.3 g from fresh Crataegus berries
   (drug extract ratio 1:1.3-1.5; extraction solvent
   ethanol 93 vol%, final ethanol concentration 60
   vol%); and

   Natural D-camphor 2.5 g, menthol 0.2 g as an
   aromatic ingredient (1 drop = 1 mg D-camphor
   and 38.62 mg Crataegus berry extract):
   procyanidine concentration at least 0.3%.
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