Considered “heart food” by herbalists from many traditions around the world, the shrub Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) is a powerful ally in supporting the heart and circulation of blood.
Under the direction of the heart, the rhythm of blood and breath allows the flow and circulation of life. From the deepest interior, the heart communicates with the rest of the body without ever being disturbed, even though its effect, animation of the entire being, is felt everywhere. Hawthorn is helpful for a condition called ‘disturbed Shen.’ Shen in this sense is the spirit that resides in the heart. This condition can manifest on the exterior as anxiety, insomnia, panic, fear, nightmares, and what can feel like a broken heart. The calming and protective Hawthorn leads the displaced Shen back to its familiar home inside the heart. Here, heart and spirit are in proper alignment. The vital force of the body is restored. Shen regains balance and strength. Light from the heart once again shines in the eyes.
An astringent and tonic herb, Hawthorn helps to tighten, tone, and strengthen tissues to improve circulation throughout the body. The berries are full of anti-inflammatory flavonoids, minerals, and other nutrients that are nourishing to the heart. Hawthorn helps to strengthen the contraction of the heart muscle, normalize blood pressure, and prevent cholesterol from oxidizing and sticking to blood vessels.
There are many ways to enjoy and get to know Hawthorn. Below are a few suggestions.
Add a teaspoon of tincture to sparkling water for a thirst quenching beverage.
Blend the extract with olive oil for a delicious salad dressing (drizzled over roasted beets and walnuts is my favorite).
Mix the berry’s syrup with fruit salad to brighten flavors.
Combine with raw honey and yogurt for pure deliciousness.
Take the flowers, leaves, and berries daily in capsule, tincture, or solid extract for optimal therapeutic effect.
Gather the berries in September and October when they are at their peak. Hawthorn is so generous, she grows in abundance most everywhere.