Medicinal Properties Hawthorn Berries – “His thorns are like nails; inches long and strong; to traction And yet, it is unlikely that a milder and more nutritious medicinal plant will be found. – Jim McDonald
For today’s article I am sharing excerpts from Alchemy of Herbs about the many healing gifts of hawthorn. I’m also including one of my all-time favorite recipes: Hawthorn Cordial.
Medicinal Properties Hawthorn Berries
Hawthorn from Alchemy of Herbs: Transforming Everyday Ingredients into Foods and Remedies That Heal by Rosalee de la Forêt (Hay House, 2017)
Hawthorn Herbal Ally For The Heart And Mind
Since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, it’s surprising to me that more people don’t know about hawthorn. Before I start sounding like a snake oil salesman, I need to note that people get heart disease for numerous reasons, and hawthorn is not a silver bullet cure that you can take without considering the main foundations of wellness, such as a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.
European culture has long been fascinated by hawthorn, and many myths and bits of folklore surround this thorny tree. In addition to being used for medicine, the tree’s hardwood was made into tools, and the tree’s thick, thorny nature made it a popular choice as a hedge or natural fence. Several species of hawthorn are native to North America, where First Nations used it to treat a variety of ailments, including wounds and digestive problems. People in China also have a well-developed relationship with hawthorn, often using it for stagnant digestion.
In the spring, hawthorns produce a plethora of beautiful white to pink flowers. After pollination, the tree begins to form many clusters of berries that ripen in late summer. These red berries are dry and mealy and can range from bitter to sweet, depending on the species.
Hawthorn is a tree in the rose family that grows throughout the northern hemisphere. There are over 280 species, and herbalists use them all in similar ways. The most studied species in science were
The History, Mythology, And Offerings Of Hawthorn
The current Western medicine paradigm for treating chronic disease relies heavily on suppressing symptoms rather than addressing the factors that cause the problem. For example, if you have seasonal allergies, a doctor may give you something to block your body’s attempt to create histamine, but doctors often don’t give anything to modulate your immune system and prevent allergy symptoms in the first place. This paradigm can be seen in the range of pharmaceuticals used by Western medicine to treat the symptoms of heart disease. While this attempted Band-Aid may save lives in the short term, it does not address why the person has heart disease in the first place.
In fact, many commonly prescribed medications actually deplete the body of nutrients needed for heart health. Statins, commonly prescribed to lower cholesterol, deplete the body of CQ10, an enzyme important for a healthy heart. Diuretics, commonly prescribed for high blood pressure, deplete the body of potassium. Potassium deficiency leads to an irregular heartbeat. Hawthorn, by nourishing and strengthening the heart, does something that no other pharmaceutical product can claim.
How does hawthorn work? Like most herbs, hawthorn works in many complex ways, many of which we do not yet understand. However, an important factor is the high flavonoid content of sea buckthorn. Heart disease is often linked to inflammation, and regularly eating herbs and foods rich in flavonoids has been shown to decrease inflammation and oxidative stress.
From the 1950s until recently, we mistakenly believed that eating cholesterol-rich foods led to high cholesterol levels. An updated perspective on high cholesterol levels is their relationship to systemic inflammation, which hawthorn, with its high flavonoid content, helps reduce.
Hawthorn Berry Tincture
Scientists have studied hawthorn in relation to various symptoms of heart disease for decades. In one study, researchers gave people with diabetes and coronary heart disease 1,200 mg of hawthorn leaf and flower every day for six months. After that time, those who took hawthorn showed a greater tendency to lower LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) and neutrophil elastase (an enzyme that, when elevated, is linked to heart disease) than those who took a placebo.
The dose used in this study was relatively low compared to herbalist standards, and it would be interesting to see the effects of the larger doses more commonly used by herbalists.
For herbalists, one of the most common indications for hawthorn is high blood pressure. Some herbalists use hawthorn alone, others combine it with other herbs, and herbalists often recommend it along with a healthy diet and regular exercise. After centuries of use, it remains a favorite for lowering hypertension.
Clinical trials have supported this traditional use. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted in Iran, 92 men and women with mild hypertension ingested an extract of a local hawthorn species for four months. Blood pressure was measured every month and the results showed a significant decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure after three months.
Hawthorn Cordial Recipe: Hawthorn For The Heart
Another study gave hawthorn to patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and showed that the herb reduced diastolic blood pressure.
Herbalist Charles Kane says, “As a medicine for the heart, there is no other herb with such a positive yet gentle influence as hawthorn.”
In addition to helping reduce particular heart problems, such as high blood pressure and hyperlipidemia, hawthorn has been shown to improve overall heart function in people with mild to moderate heart disease.
One study looked at 1,011 people diagnosed with stage 2 heart disease who were taking a high dose of a proprietary hawthorn product. After 24 weeks, the researchers observed a significant improvement in symptoms, including decreased ankle edema, improved cardiac output, and reduced blood pressure.
Hawthorn, May, Maythorn, Whitethorn, Crataegus Monogyna/laevigata
Another trial used the same hawthorn product but studied patients for two years. After that time, those who took the hawthorn had significant improvements in the three main symptoms of heart disease, including fatigue, pain with increased exertion and palpitations, compared to the control group. The researchers concluded that hawthorn had a clear benefit for patients with mild to moderate heart failure.
Western herbalists tend to use the berries more often; however, research studies have given more attention to the flower and leaf in recent years.
You can eat the berries as food and enjoy them in a number of ways, including infusing them in alcohol or vinegar or turning them into honeys, jams or even ketchup. I recommend regularly enjoying hawthorn in large quantities; taking it daily keeps hearts nourished and strong!
Hawthorn berries are a food-like herb that people can consume in large quantities, as they would a food. For best results with berries, leaves or flowers, use daily and long term.
Hawthorn: Properties And Side Effects Of This Herb!
Tea: up to 30 grams of berries and up to 30 grams of leaves and flowers per day
This hearty hawthorn recipe combines the nutritious qualities of hawthorn with delicious spices that aid digestion. Enjoy in small amounts after a dinner. (I think it helps me unwind from the day).
I recently brought this to a meal and served 1-3 teaspoons of cordial in about 1 cup sparkling water for a low alcohol cocktail. It was a hit, and several people asked me to buy a bottle (I gave them the recipe instead).
Do you need herbs or organic materials? Get them here! This post is sponsored by our friends at Mountain Rose Herbs.
Hawthorn: The Heart Healer
Hawthorn Cordial recipe from Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients into Foods and Remedies That Heal by Rosalee de la Forêt (Hay House, 2017)
She is a registered herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild and teaches students around the world to confidently use medicinal plants. Explore more herbs with Rosalee on her website, Herbs with Rosalee, where you can get her free course, How to Choose the Best Herb for You.
HerbMentor hosts many courses, including Getting Started with Herbs, Herb Basics, Wildcrafter’s Toolkit, and Cultivating Wellness… our community forum… Herb Walks, Exclusive Herb Monographs, and more. Hawthorn is a notorious heart tonic that acts on the heart both physically and energetically. Hawthorn’s abundant medicine comes in the form of leaves, flowers and berries. Known to have supportive and protective qualities, his name,
Which means strength. With cardiovascular disease and heart failure on the rise in Canada, let’s make hawthorn a household name! Read on to find out how you can keep your heart and your loved ones healthy with hawthorn medicine. Also, check out the recipe for a delicious hawthorn berry syrup.
Hawthorne Berry As Herbal Medicine For Healing Your Heart
Hawthorn is a deciduous and thorny tree belonging to the rose family (Rosaceae). There are 280 species under the genus Crataegus but C. laevigata and C. monogyna are the most used in phytomedicine. Hawthorn produces five-petaled white or pink flowers in spring that give way to bright red berries or “haws” in early fall. The berries are blood red with white floury flesh and a large stone. With a slightly sour-sweet taste, they are used both as food and as medicine. The berries are prized by small birds and animals that nest within the tree’s thorny, protective branches.
As one of the oldest recorded medicinal plants used in Europe, the health benefits of hawthorn have been tried and tested. The herb has long been associated with heart health and research has proven it