Hawthorn was regarded as a valuable heart remedy as far back as the Middle Ages. The Hawthorn was considered sacred in early times and believed to furnish the Crown of Thorns. The Celts used Hawthorn in May celebrations using it to dress maypoles and symbolic effigies, and associated it with fertility. The leaves are shiny and dark green with a bluish tint to the undersides. Hawthorne trees produce white flowers and bright red berries that hang in clusters.
Hawthorn berries are widely used for heart problems and its medicinal value for blood and heart related illness is thought to be both effective and safer than other drugs with similar qualities. Hawthorne is used for irregular heart beat, to lessen the plaque build up in arteries and increase blood flow and oxygen in the blood to the heart and brain. It is known as a high blood pressure regulator.
It is also believed to encourage concentration and memory function as it improves circulation of blood and oxygen to the brain!
Hawthorn tea is prepared by steeping 1 – 2 teaspoons dried leaf and flower or 2 – 3 teaspoons of the dried crushed berry in 8 ounces of boiling water for 15 – 20 minutes. Hawthorne extract can also be added to other herbal teas for additional effects.
Dosage of Hawthorn
It is preferable to use a mixture of flowers and leaves. If berries are used it is better to decoct than diffuse. Use 2 teaspoons of herb per cup of boiling water. Infuse for 20mins. Drink 2-3 cups daily.
Tincture: (1:5) 50-100 drops 3 x daily in 45% alcohol, 1-2ml
Fluid Extract: (1:1) 10-20 drops 3 x daily in 25% alcohol, 0.5-1ml
Capsules: (min 325mg) 1-2 capsules 3-6 x daily. Or follow the instructions on any proprietary pack of Hawthorn being used.
Fruit: Dried fruits: 0.3-1g or by infusion.
The fruit of Hawthorn, called haws, are edible, but are commonly made into jellies, jams, and syrups, used to make wine, or to add flavour to brandy, rather than eaten fresh. Botanically they are pomes, but they look similar to berries. A haw is small and oblong, similar in size and shape to a small olive or grape, and red when ripe. Haws develop in groups of 2-3 along smaller branches. They are pulpy and delicate in taste. In this species (C. monogyna) they have only one seed, but in other species of hawthorn there may be up to 5 seeds.
The leaf bud of the Hawthorn can be cooked and eaten, the leaf can be chewed to nourish and relieve hunger, the berries can be used to make jellies and fruit sauces and the flowers can be added to salads. An excellent liquer is made from Hawthorn berries with brandy.
Hawthorne is considered a safe herb; however, caution should be made in excessive use of it.
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