Recipes For Using Hawthorn Berries In Cooking – “His thorns are like nails; inches long and strong; tensile. And yet, a gentler, more nutritious medicinal plant is unlikely to 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.
Recipes For Using Hawthorn Berries In Cooking
The Alchemy of Herbs Hawthorn: Transform Everyday Ingredients into Foods and Medicines That Heal by Rosalee de la Forêt (Hay House, 2017)
Foraging Hawthorn & Cordial Recipe
With heart disease being the number one cause of death in the United States, I’m surprised more people don’t know about hawthorn. Before I start sounding like a snake oil salesman, I should mention that people get heart disease for a number of reasons, and hawthorn is not a cure you can take and ignore the main foundations of good health such as a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.
European culture has long been fascinated by the hawthorn, and many myths and bits of folklore surround this thorny tree. In addition to its medicinal uses, the tree’s hardwood was used to make tools, and the wood’s dense, prickly nature made it a popular choice for natural hedges or fences. The various 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 indigestion.
In the spring, hawthorn trees produce a multitude 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 fluffy and can range from bitter to sweet, depending on the variety.
Hawthorn is a tree from the rose family that grows throughout the northern hemisphere. There are more than 280 species, and herbalists use them all in similar ways. The species most studied in science were
How To Make Hawthorn Vinegar
The current paradigm of Western medicine for treating chronic diseases relies heavily on suppressing symptoms rather than addressing the factors that cause the problem. For example, if you have seasonal allergies, a practitioner might give you something to block your body’s attempt to make histamine, but practitioners often don’t give anything to modulate your immune system and prevent allergy symptoms. This paradigm can be seen in the range of drugs that Western medicine uses to address the symptoms of heart disease. While this band-aid attempt may save lives in the short term, it doesn’t solve why a person has heart disease at all.
In fact, many commonly prescribed medications actually deplete the body of nutrients necessary for heart health. Statins, commonly prescribed to lower cholesterol, deplete the body of CQ10, an important enzyme for a healthy heart. Diuretics, commonly prescribed for high blood pressure, deplete the body of potassium. Lack of potassium leads to irregular heart function. Hawthorn, by nourishing and strengthening the heart, does something that no other medicine can claim.
How does hawthorn work? Like most plants, hawthorn works in numerous and complex ways, many of which we do not yet understand. However, one important factor is the high content of flavonoids in hawthorn. Heart disease is often associated with inflammation, and regular consumption of herbs and foods rich in flavonoids has been shown to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
From the 1950s until fairly recently, we mistakenly believed that eating cholesterol-rich foods caused high cholesterol levels. A new look at high cholesterol is its relationship to systemic inflammation, which hawthorn, high in flavonoids, helps reduce.
Hawthorn Berries: Identify, Harvest, And Make An Extract |
For decades, scientists have studied hawthorn in relation to various symptoms of heart disease. 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 taking hawthorn showed a greater trend toward lower LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) and reduced neutrophil elastase (an enzyme that, when elevated, is associated with heart disease) than those taking a placebo.
The dose used in this study was relatively low compared to herbalists’ standards, and it would be interesting to see the effects of higher 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 usually suggest it along with a healthy diet and regular exercise. After centuries of use, it remains a favorite for reducing 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 took an extract of a local species of hawthorn for four months. Blood pressure was measured every month, and the results showed a significant reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure after three months.
Hawthorn Berries: Nature’s Restaurant: A Complete Wild Food Guide
Another study gave hawthorn to patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and found that the herb reduced diastolic blood pressure.
Herbalist Charles Kane says, “As a heart remedy, there is no other plant with such a positive yet gentle influence than hawthorn.
In addition to helping reduce certain 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 took a high dose of a proprietary hawthorn product. After 24 weeks, the researchers observed a significant improvement in symptoms, including a reduction in ankle edema, improved cardiac performance and reduced blood pressure.
Haw Berry And Star Anise Jam Recipe
Another trial used the same hawthorn product but studied patients for two years. After that time, those taking hawthorn had significant improvements in the three main symptoms of heart disease – including fatigue, pain on 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 use the berries more often; however, research studies have paid more attention to the flower and foliage in recent years.
You can eat the berries as food and enjoy them in a variety of ways, including adding alcohol or vinegar or turning them into honey, jams or even ketchup. I recommend regular consumption of hawthorn in large quantities; Daily intake keeps hearts nourished and strong!
Hawthorn berries are a food-like plant that humans can consume in large quantities, just as you would food. For best results with berries, leaves or flowers, use daily and long-term.
The History, Mythology, And Offerings Of Hawthorn
Tea: up to 30 grams of berries and up to 30 grams of leaves and flowers, daily
This hearty hawthorn recipe combines the nutritious properties of hawthorn with delicious spices that aid digestion. Enjoy in small amounts after your evening meal. (I find it helps me wind down from the day.)
I recently brought this to the pot and served 1 to 3 teaspoons of cordial in about 1 cup of sparkling water for a low-alcohol cocktail. It was a hit, and several people asked to buy a bottle from me (I made the recipe for them).
Need organic herbs or supplies? Bring them here! This post is sponsored by our friends at Mountain Rose Herbs.
Simple Ways To Harness The Healing Power Of Hawthorn
Hawthorn Heart Recipe from The Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients into Foods and Medicines That Heal by Rosalee de la Forêt (Hay House, 2017)
She is a registered herbalist with the American Herbalists Association and teaches students from around the world how 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, The Wildcrafter’s Handbook & Cultivating Wellness… Our Community Forum… Herb Walks, Exclusive Herb Monographs and more. This herbal syrup of hawthorn berries and rose buds contains ingredients often used in traditional Chinese medicine. I wanted to make an herbal syrup that would be quite versatile — something that would suit a busy modern Singaporean household with young children (meaning pancakes for breakfast, chicken rice for lunch) while still allowing me to inject some health and care into the family home diet. This special combination of dried Chinese herbs – hawthorn berries, licorice root and schisandra fruit – is ideal for hot weather as it nourishes yin and improves appetite.
Taste was key for me in trying to combine the benefits of traditional Chinese medicine with palatability and utility as well as enjoyment. This herbal syrup gets its sweetness from licorice root (this is subtle and complex even though it’s considered sweeter than sugar!), Chinese dates (which are rich in nutrients) and hawthorn berries (some of that nostalgic flavor from the flake candy we ate growing up here in Singapore). The schisandra fruits give it an appealing acidity and a hint of bitterness, I suppose, along with licorice (think Negroni).
Homemade Hawthorn Berry Ketchup
I feel the rosebuds add balance to the blend. Soaked rather than cooked, the slightly floral qualities of the dried buds round out the sweetness and tartness of this herbal syrup. But you can leave them out if you don’t
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