Hawthorn – The flower for the month of May
The Hawthorn is one of the most commonly found plants found in our hedgerows in Ireland. It can be recognised by its white flower in May and its dark red berries in the autumn. Hawthorn (Cratageus) is notable for its long thorns and bright red haws (apple-like berries). The thorns may be used as needles; and hedges of thorny hawthorn grow quickly enough to keep even goats at bay. The tasty crimson haws — called cuckoo’s beads, chucky cheese, and pixie pears — are fermented into wine or baked into little cakes to celebrate the new May.
The leaves, flowers, and ripe berries of Hawthorn taste great and are easily consumed in teas, infusions, and tinctures. Consistent, long-term use of hawthorn is especially recommended for ageing hearts, weak hearts, damaged hearts, and those with hypertension, angina, arrhythmia, heart valve disease, or Reynaud’s disease (arterial spasms).
Hawthorn is a superb heart and circulatory tonic, protects and strengthening the heart muscle and it’s blood supply. It improves blood circulation around the body and can be used to treat a wide range of circulatory problems.
Hawthorn lowers high blood pressure and helps dissolve cholesterol and calcium deposits making it a good tonic for arthiosclerosis or hardening of the arteries
Hawthorn also affects the emotional side of what we think of as ‘heart’ by calming and reducing anxiety, helping with bad dreams and insomnia, and smoothing menopausal mood swings.
Regular uses of hawthorn include:
• Lower blood pressure
• Increase the effectiveness of the heart’s pumping action
• Strengthen the heart muscle
• Slow the heartbeat
• Dilate coronary arteries
• Prevent heart disease, heart attack, and stroke
• Help those healing from heart surgery
• Support the immune system
• Increase longevity
The modern tale of Hawthorn begins with a Dr.Green from Co.Clare, in the late Victorian times. The doctor had singular success in treating heart disease, but refused to divulge the secret of his medicine. When he died, in 1894, his daughter disclosed he had been using a tincture of ripe Hawthorn berries.
Hawthorn is best taken as an infusion or in tincture form. In the autumn delicious Hawthorn berry syrup can be made.
It is important to state that heart disease can be a life-threatening illness and should be treated under the advice of a primary healthcare practitioner. If you are taking beta-blockers, only use Hawthorn under supervision.