Hawthorn Berries Or Hawthorn Leaves And Flower – With the arrival of autumn, I am excited that the hawthorn trees are beginning to ripen their fruits to purple, soon ready for harvest. Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) is a member of the Rosaceae family. This botanical family also contains red raspberry (Rubus ideaus) and wild rose (Rosa woodsii), each of which, like hawthorn, protects itself with the thorns it carries. How amazing is it that herbs in the rose family are so easy to love, and yet they know how to protect themselves too? It would seem that they have firm boundaries, and therefore demand respect.
I often find that my clients could use the support of hawthorn in a wellness formula or even as a simple tea or tincture because it offers a variety of actions that lovingly guide us through the modern world. While we may be bombarded with information and opinions, a hawthorn stands still, ready to hold us steady.
Hawthorn Berries Or Hawthorn Leaves And Flower
Hawthorn is so intriguing with its storied past and present. With nearly 300 species of hawthorn, it’s no wonder there’s a lot of interesting information passed down over time. While this lush tree is the subject of various stories, mythology, and interesting facts, hawthorn also provides us with more than just a story—it provides us with a range of supportive actions for the physical and emotional body. The most common of the hawthorn species are Crataegus monogyna, C. oxyacantha, and C. laevigata. All hawthorn species have beneficial benefits (de la Forêt, 2017) and herbalists use them in similar ways. In this article, I will touch on some of the myths, as well as the benefits that hawthorn offers. You’ll also find two easy hawthorn recipes to use during the fall season.
Amazing Meaning And Symbolism Of Hawthorn Tree And Flower
Hawthorn has many colloquial names such as may, maythorn and thorn apple, and it typically produces its white flowers around May 1st. Interestingly, Maypoles are said to be made from hawthorn trees (Masé, 2013) which are very appropriate as those beautiful flowers burst just in time for May Day and Beltane celebrations.
The folklore behind the cutting of hawthorn is quite interesting. Some say that cutting hawthorn branches can bring bad luck, especially if you bring the cut branches indoors. Conversely, leaving cut hawthorn branches lying outside was often thought to prevent witches from entering the home. However, fallen hawthorn branches are believed to have been made into powerful wands and brooms for witches.
Another interesting bit of hawthorn history is that the Mayflower ship is said to have been named after the hawthorn tree because of the sense of hope this flowering tree inspired in England. Hawthorn symbolized not only hope but love, marriage and intimacy.
Hawthorn can often be found in small groves as well as hedgerows – where it has been planted to create a physical barrier between homes and property. This weaving is called a hedge and haw, in fact, translates to a hedge. You can begin to feel how this tree would have good boundaries.
Plant Spotlight: Hawthorn
I remember the first time I consciously spent time with a hawthorn tree. It was autumn, and it was between linden and rose—a spiritual hearty herb garden if ever there was one! I was drawn to the thorns, the lobed leaves and the darkening fruit. It was then that I was told about the playful myth surrounding the history of hawthorn. It is said that the hawthorn is the guardian of the fairy kingdom. If you snooze under a hawthorn tree, you will be escorted to the world of the Fae. Images of lively, childlike images, colorful clothes and lively dance flood my mind. Can this tree connect us to the innermost parts of ourselves—those parts that haven’t forgotten how to experience joy through the lens of wonder?
The hawthorn tree offers many gifts: leaf, flower, berry, and some herbalists even use the thorn. Hawthorn supports the physical heart by acting as a heart tonic (Easley & Horne, 2016), the spiritual heart and personal boundaries. The berries have a sweet and sour flavor profile while the leaf and flower are more astringent (Tilgner, 2009).
Chinese, Native Americans, and European peoples have a long-standing relationship with hawthorn as a heartworm. Its use as a tonic dates back to 1st century Rome, where it was also viewed as a symbol of both love and marriage.
As mentioned above, Hawthorn can provide nourishment to the spiritual heart (emotional body), but it also acts on the physical body as well. The berry is full of vitamin C and flavonoids, thus making a nutrient-rich, antioxidant herbal infusion. Flavonoids can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress (de la Forêt, 2016), and taken regularly, hawthorn berry is known as a tonic herb for the cardiovascular system (Tilgner, 2009). The leaves and flowers of hawthorn can also provide a calming, nervine quality. Combine all three plant parts – leaf, flower and berry – and you have a delicious and nutritious relaxing tea.
Benefits Of Hawthorn Flowers
Hawthorn is known as an herb for the physical heart. Hawthorn use can improve the oxygen utilization of the heart as well as improve circulation and energize the cells of the heart (Easley & Horne, 2016). It is known to tone and strengthen the heart muscle (Easley & Horne, 2016) acting as a cardiovascular over-stimulator (Tilgner, 2009).
With supportive nutrition and exercise, the addition of hawthorn has been used by many herbalists to support the maintenance of healthy blood pressure (Easley & Horne, 2016).
Hawthorn does more than just support the physical heart. Hawthorn berries can be a mild digestive aid (Easley & Horne, 2016). When taken as a cordial after meals, hawthorn can calm digestion and open the heart.
The energy of hawthorn cools and mixes in moisture depending on the plant part used. (Easley & Horne, 2016). The berries tend to be moist and have a slightly sweet and sour taste, and the flowers and leaves tend to be astringent (Tilgner 2009) which can have a total drying quality.
Hawthorn As An Herbal Remedy
Hawthorn is a beautiful and generous plant to use in times of tenderness, especially when sadness is present. It can soften our hearts and also promote forgiveness of self and others. When you feel the need for a hug, turn to hawthorn. I think of hawthorn as being able to help us honor the innate strength and connection to who we really are at our core. It matches both strength and softness enabling the ability to cultivate healthy boundaries as well as gentleness. It also helps support stress through its nervous actions (Easley & Horne, 2016). Navigating through grief and heartbreak is nerve-wracking and stressful. As a nervine, it can support an overworked nervous system as well as alleviate disturbed sleep patterns. It is not uncommon to close ourselves off as we try to protect our tender heart in times of transition and pain. Again, reach for hawthorn when you need that hug or feel lonely. Hawthorn has your back and your heart when you need extra care.
There are some cautions when considering using hawthorn, especially for those with chronic heart conditions. People taking beta blockers or other heart medications should consult an experienced physician, such as their primary care physician, before taking hawthorn, and those with congestive heart failure are advised not to take hawthorn (Gardner & McGuffin, 2013).
Hawthorn berries are similar to commonly eaten berries that you can find in the market and are of similar safety (Gardner & McGuffin, 2013). Because hawthorn berries are food, they can be taken in large quantities over time as a tonic (Easley & Horne, 2016). Hawthorn berries can be used in a variety of ways, from vinegars, jams, syrups and other flavonoid recipes to herbal tinctures and teas.
Tincture is also an accessible way to take the gifts of hawthorn. The berry can be dyed fresh or dried. When life gets busy and tea seems like too much to add to your day, taking a tincture of hawthorn is delicious and easy. Throw the tincture in your bag or your pocket and reach for it a few times a day when you feel drawn to it.
Watercolor Illustration Of Hawthorn Red Berries And Green Leaves On Branches. Botanical Art. Hand Drawn Clipart Stock Photo
As you will see below, taking hawthorn as a tea is an easy way to benefit from its actions. Teas can be made from the dried berry, leaf and flower of hawthorn.
Hawthorn infusion is nutritious and flavonoid. During the fall months, it’s a good idea to load up on nutritious herbs to keep us well as we transition into cooler weather.
A delicious after-dinner meal to ease the stomach, open the heart and connect with friends and family during the harvest season. Share this delicious drink with those you love.
1 cup organic dried hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) berries 1 chopped organic McIntosh apple, seeds removed 1 teaspoon fresh organic ginger (Zingiber officinalis) root, chopped 3 cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) pods, crushed 1 teaspoon organic orange sinelsis (C) 1/2 cup organic dried rose hips (Rosa canina) 1 organic cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.) stick 2 tablespoons dried organic hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) cups 1/3 cup organic 100% unsweetened blueberry juice 1/2