Hawthorn. One of the magical sacred trees. Like Rowan. Hawthorn or Crataegus mollis. Part of the rose family, a “flowering thorn” (from the Greek word). Its astrological correspondence is Mars, the element Fire. Though this thorny shrub flowers in late spring and fruits in the fall, the Hawthorn is also connected with the summer and the heart.
Hawthorn for Heart Health
According to WebMD, “Hawthorn is used for diseases of the heart and blood vessels such as congestive heart failure (CHF), chest pain, and irregular heartbeat. It is also used to treat both low blood pressure and high blood pressure, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), and high cholesterol.” GreenMedInfo cites a study that shows the safety and efficacy of using Hawthorn in reducing cardiac mortality.
The use of Hawthorn for heart health is not new. A shrub native in Asia, North America, and Europe, Hawthorn has been used for centuries as food and medicine. It’s an ingredient in over 200 commercial European herbal formulas, according to herbalist, author, botanist, mycologist, and research scientist Dr Christopher Hobbs. He has a “special affection” for Hawthorn, which has improved his own father’s heart health. Dr Hobbs writes on his website that Hawthorn extract can increase blood flow to the heart muscle, help to improve the pumping action of the heart, reduce the heart’s workload, and increase oxygen deficiency tolerance.
For people who have cardiovascular disease, eat a diet that includes moderate to high levels of dairy products and red meat, or face a lot of stress, Dr Hobbs suggests adding daily doses of Hawthorn and garlic. He summarizes Hawthorn’s clinical effects (from his website) :
- By dilating arteries essential nutrients such as blood and oxygen can be better supplied to the heart, building a stronger heart beat.
- As a powerful free-radical scavenger, Hawthorn extracts can protect the heart when there is lowered oxygen.
- It can help steady the heartbeat.
- Its mild sedative activity can be helpful when nervousness exists with mild heart disease. Combine with lavender or lemon balm.
Hawthorn As Flower Essence
Hawthorn is also energy medicine for the heart. It helps to heal and open the heart to courage, receiving and giving love, and self-acceptance.
Hawthorn is a profound ally in times of heartache and unfathomable loss. This powerful essence helps to regenerate hope and release grief— encircling the heart with comfort and protection, allowing the space and support to begin to heal. No matter where you go, Hawthorn will stay with you—guiding you through unexpected periods of emotional numbness, overwhelming sadness, and the painful trials of loss.One Willow Apothecaries
Hawthorn As Shen Tonic
In Chinese Medicine, the heart is where the spirit – Shen – resides. It manifests as compassion, wisdom, and love. Disturbed Shen can look like dullness in the eyes, anxiety, insomnia, and panic.
Shen is the spark of divinity within each human being. It is the spiritual radiance of a human being and is the ultimate and most refined level of energetics in the universe.Ron Teeguarden, Radiant Health
Hawthorn is also a Shen tonic, a powerful way to restore joy and awaken the spiritual heart. It is calming which is what the heart seeks.
Ways to Use Hawthorn
There are many ways to enjoy Hawthorn, including extracts. Here are some ways you can prepare Hawthorn:
- TINCTURES – Infuse 4 cups of fresh Hawthorn berries (or 2 cups of dried berries), 2 organic Cassia cinnamon sticks, 1 tablespoon of organic cardamom pods, and 2 organic vanilla beans in 1.75 L of brandy. Shake daily and then strain into another jar. Stir in 1 cup of raw honey (or to taste). Full recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs.
- TEAS – Steep flowers, leaves, and de-seeded berries in boiling water for 10 to 20 minutes for strong medicine.
- SYRUPS – Cover Hawthorn with 1 quart of water and boil for about one hour, before straining the berries. Add maple syrup or your choice of sweetener after boiling it down to 1 cup.
- DRINK – Add tincture to sparkling water.
- PASTE – Add Hawthorn berry powder into some honey to make it into a ball.
Hawthorn has long been used as heart medicine, in the West and the East. For the physical, emotional, and spiritual heart. The summer is the season of the Fire Element and the Heart organ function energy. It is a great time to boost your heart health, to create emotional heart space, and to feel more love.
If you are heart medication or have heart conditions, please consult your healthcare practitioner.