Crataegus laevigata, C. monogyna
the plant: Hawthorn is a deciduous tree or shrub up to 30 feet tall and can live for a very long time. It has thorns, ribbed stems, gray bark, and leaves with rounded lobes. A member of the rose family, it blossoms in spring with fragrant white five-petalled flowers, looking similar to an apple or cherry tree, and bears bright red berry fruits about 1 cm wide in the fall.
Hawthorn has been a sacred, magical tree in wiccan European tradition for centuries. It is native to temperate regions of Europe, North Africa and western Asia. It can now be found globally in the temperate northern hemisphere, and prefers full or partial sun.
parts used: berry, leaf and flower
preparation: tea, tincture, food, wine
medicinal actions: cardiotonic, diuretic, astringent, carminative, hypotensive
indications: Hawthorn is a powerful heart remedy in every sense of the word 'heart'. It has been used traditionally and studied by modern science and both find it to be a beneficial remedy for most cardiovascular disease. Hawthorn improves cardiovascular circulation, relieves high blood pressure and promotes overall heart health. It helps strengthen the heart's contracting muscles to 'facilitate a gentle but sustained reversal of degenerative, age-related changes,' writes David Hoffmann, or as ancient Ayurvedic language puts it, 'promotes longevity'. Hawthorn can be understood as a stimulating tonic herb for both the circulatory and digestive system.
Hawthorn is sour, sweet and slightly warming according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), who recognizes hawthorn berry primarily as a stimulating digestive remedy to relieve food stagnation, ai assimilation &increase the appetite. TCM also uses Hawthorn as a mild nervous sedative that can relax the heart and calm the spirit. On an emotional/energetic level Hawthorn opens and softens 'walls' and blockages of the heart, helping to relax into love and vulnerability.
contraindications: Hawthorn may enhance the activity of cardioactive digitalis-based medications and of beta-blockers, but not in a toxic way - use with special attention.
note: This information is not a replacement for a trained herbalist. Please consult your medical professional before treating yourself or others with this or any other herbal remedy.