“Children learn best through their everyday experiences with the people they love and trust, and when the learning is fun. And the best place for these experiences is outdoors, in the natural world.”
– Center for Families, Communities, Schools and Children’s Learning
Hawthorn has an affinity for the heart and works on all levels of healing. Spiritually, Hawthorn is used to protect and heal the heart as well as open the heart to assist with expression, healing grief and giving and receiving love. Emotionally, Hawthorn promotes a general sense of well-being. Herbalist jim mcdonald speaks of Hawthorn’s heart protection by describing the tree, the berries which are so good for the heart are protected by thorns on the tree, not grabby thorns like we see on Rose or Blackberry but just gentle reminders, surrounding and protecting the berries. Hawthorn’s medicine works in the same way, gently surrounding and protecting the heart without being forceful.
Physically, Hawthorn’s cardiotonic, circulatory stimulant, trophorestorative and rejuvenative properties help to heal from heart attacks, weakness of the heart muscle, degenerative heart disease, irregular heart beats, congestive heart failure, stabilize angina and recuperation from heart surgery. Those with high blood pressure will also benefit from his hypotensive and vasodilator properties which helps to open up circulation and may reduce effects of hardening of the arteries. When taken as a tonic over several months, the benefits received from Hawthorn will be retained, even after you stop taking it.
Further into Hawthorn’s heart medicine are his anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals which in turn protects the heart from disease and other problems associated with free radicals.
Hawthorn is also used as a nervine and sedative. The flowers especially are used for treating insomnia though the berries can be used as well. Hawthorn tea or tincture can be taken long term during periods of stress to help protect the heart and nervous system. For those who have dealt with chronic disease and infections, Hawthorn can also help to protect the heart from pathogens.
Matthew Wood talks of using Hawthorn for children and adults who have attention deficit disorder, can’t focus or sit still and read, and who are restless, irritable and nervous. He has found it to be effective for bringing speech to children with autism.
Hawthorn is also very strengthening and protective of the joint lining, collagen and discs in the back. I found it to be useful for my daughter to take while getting chiropractic adjustments, as her C1 and C2 vertebrae kept slipping out of alignment. Taking Hawthorn helped her to retain the adjustment longer until it was able to hold in place long term.
As a carminative and digestive, Hawthorn helps the body to digest food, especially greasy foods, meat and fats and can help to relieve abdominal pain and distention from poor digestion. Hawthorn has also been used for treating dysentery and watery diarrhea, calling on his astringent properties to help. If the diarrhea is caused by a bacterial infection, his antibacterial properties can be helpful too.
Hawthorn contains aluminum, calcium, chromium, cobalt, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin (B3), phosphorus, potassium, protein, riboflavin (B2), selenium, silicon, sodium, thiamine (B1), tin, vitamins A and C and zinc, making him a great nutritive. His berries can be eaten straight, or cooked into compotes, jellies, fruit leathers and more for gaining this benefit. If you do eat the berries straight, do not chew the seeds, spit them out. Like Apples, they contain a bit of cyanide which can be toxic if too many are consumed. One of favorite ways to consume Hawthorn is in a syrup. We can get our daily dose of medicine while eating pancakes, french toast or even over ice cream! The syrup can also be consumed by the spoonful. Here is our recipe for Hawthorn syrup:
You will need:
2 cups fresh or 1 cup dried Hawthorn berries*
4 cups water
1 cup raw honey
Quart jar or bottle
Place the herbs in a saucepan and add the water. Bring to a boil then slowly simmer until the liquid is reduced to down to 2 cups.
Strain off the haws and return the liquid to the saucepan.
Add half the amount of liquid measurement in honey which should be 1 cup. Turn the heat back on and stir while heating until the honey starts to thin.
Turn off the heat and stir to combine. When cool, pour your syrup into a bottle or jar and label.
Store your syrup in the refrigerator.
If using as medicine, use the following dosages:
Adults: 1 tablespoonful daily
Children 2 – 6: 1 teaspoonful daily
Children 7 – 12: 2 teaspoonsful daily
Want to learn more about Hawthorn and how to incorporate this wonderful herb into your everyday routine? Grab the latest issue of Herbal Roots zine!
*When I can’t find herbs in my area, I rely on Mountain Rose Herbs for the best quality herbs.