Hawthorn, (Crataegeus monogyna, C. laevigata) is a large shrub, or tree that is in the Rosaceae (rose) family. It makes great hedgerows and is found in abundance in the British Isles. Dense, thorny foliage is great for living borders that are both edible and medicinal. Hawthorn has clusters of white or pink flowers in spring (around May) followed by red berries in the fall. Native to Europe but now found in North America and Australia. US Zones 5-8.
Hawthorn trees can be propagated from seeds, but they take 18 months to germinate, so the trees are usually cultivated from cuttings.
As far as I know, Indian Hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis indica) is not the same, although related. If anyone knows if it can be used medicinally let me know. It is also in the rose family, but the scientific name is completely different. It is what I found locally and would love to know if it is worth getting or not. I haven’t found anything in the herbalism department over it as of yet.
Hawthorn is one of the best plants for heart health, and is ranked alongside garlic and cayenne. It boosts the performance of the heart and the circulatory system in general. Vasodilatory action can be induced with the flowers, leaves and berries of Hawthorn.
Berries are usually used, but the flowers and leaves can also be used when making tinctures.
- contains flavonoids that are highly antioxidant
- reduces levels of fat in the blood
- improves heart muscle functions and strength (aka contractile force)
- dilates/widens veins and arteries to decrease blood pressure and stress that can cause heart failure, heart attack, or stroke
- acts as a natural ACE Inhibitor, which are drugs used to lower blood pressure
- helps regulate body’s stress response by lowering cortisol levels to regulate blood pressure (this addresses the psychological side of blood pressure, which is not addressed by pharmaceuticals)
The great value of hawthorn is that, although it can have profound healing effects, it achieves these in a gentle and supportive way.-Conway (2001)
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Caution: Speak to your herbal or medical practitioner if you are on beta-blockers or other cardiovascular drugs before using Hawthorn.
Hawthorn works with the body’s process, so improvement takes time, like with most herbs, but it actually helps the underlying problems, rather than simply suppressing them like modern pharmaceuticals do.
Thanks for reading! Leave a comment if you have ever used hawthorn medicinally and let us know what your results were.
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