Gratitude is the heart’s memory.French Proverb
Hawthorn is likely the best herb to protect and heal the heart. Of the about three hundred species of hawthorn, herbalists use mostly five. Common Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) and Midland Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) are the most important in middle Europe. Cratagus oxyacantha, Crataegus pinnatifida and Crataegus scabrifolia are also important species.
Crataegus belongs to the rose family Rosaceae. It is wildly common throughout Europe where people often grow it as a hedge. If left untrimmed, it grows a tall tree, reaching between 3 and 8 meters (10 to 25 feet). From late April to mid May, it gleams with bright-white flowers attracting butterflies and bees. It is exactly when Crataegus is in its blossom glory that we harvest our medicine.
Herbalists harvest Crataegus when the flowers are in full bloom to assure the highest quantity of active components. They pick the entire stalk with both flowers and leaves and make the preparation as soon as possible.
In Fall, it’s time to harvest the haws (hawthorn fruit). Haws are bright red, mealy and look like mini crab apples. Pick the healthiest, most flawless haws for your preparations.
There are many ways you can enjoy your Crataegus as herbal medicine.
- Teas (on its own or mixed with other herbs)
Medicinal use of Hawthorn
Hawthorn (Crataegus) does its magic slowly. It takes five to six weeks for any preparation to reach its optimum efficacy. Therefore, it is best to take it for at least six weeks. It is a safe herb to take long term. It is a safe herb to take long term. It is the herb of choice for age-related heart weakness.
Hawthorn improves the blood circulation in the heart’s vessels which increases the oxygen supply in the heart. Crataegus is also an antioxidant and protects the heart from the damaging effects of oxygen and free-radicals. It relaxes the vessels in the heart and regulates the blood pressure. It lowers anxiety which benefits the heart. It prevents heart weakening and inflammation after after bacterial, fungal or viral infections like the flu.
Crataegus is good to:
- improve the blood circulation within the heart
- relax the vessels in the heart
- harmonize the blood pressure
- stabilizes the heart rate
- protect the heart from free-radicals
- lowers anxiety
- prevent weakening of the heart caused by infections
- prevent heart inflammation
The flowers and leaves of Crataegus contain flavonoids (antioxidant), procyanidin (a strong antioxidant)acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter in humans and also primitive plants), Phytosterols (plant sterols that help reduce cholesterol).
The haws contain vitamin C, more antioxidant procyanidins than in the flowers and leaves but considerably less flavonoids.
5 g flowers and leaves.