Hawthorn has been used in Europe, Asia and North America for thousands of years to treat heart ailments. Since the 17th century, European herbalists have suggested the use of the herb for the treatment of heart failure and other cardiovascular conditions, such as angina, hypertension and atherosclerosis. Hawthorn contains flavonoids and proanthocyanidins that increase the heart’s ability to circulate blood and oxygen. It also strengthens the heart muscle. Another way that hawthorn keeps the heart healthy is by blocking the production of angiotensin-converting-enzyme or ACE. This enzyme is the one responsible for high blood pressure. Hawthorn contains phytochemicals that protect the blood vessels and other tissues from damage due to oxidation and it has astringent properties that make it effective against sore throats.
Common Name of the Herb: Hawthorn
Latin Name: Crataegus monogyna
Parts Used: Leaves, flowers and berries.
Actions: Cardiovascular effects, antioxidant, lipid-lowering, antiviral, astringent, and anti-inflammatory.
Preparations and Use: For tea, dry the leaves and fruits of hawthorn and crush them. Add about two teaspoons of the crushed fruit or leaves to one cup of boiling water. Drink it twice a day. Hawthorn tincture may be taken alone or added to tea.
Cautions and Limitations of Use:
- Hawthorn is a relatively safe herb that can be taken daily. but if your heart problem persists you should consult a doctor immediately.
- Caution for all herbs and foods: Stop using if you experience symptoms of allergy. Seek emergency medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives. People who are allergic to other foods in the ericaceae family may be allergic to uva ursi. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking prescription medications, regarding possible interactions.
- · If in doubt about the safety of any herb, consult a doctor with special knowledge and experience with herbs.
- Extra Information:
· Constituents: Flavonoids, chlorogenic acid, and oligomeric procyanidins.
· Growing the Herb: Hawthorn grows in most soils, even alkaline ones, with or without direct sunlight. It doesn’t have a large root system. It can grow up to 30 feet tall and eight feet wide. Plant bushes five feet apart for best results.
· How to Gather: Harvest the flowers, leaves, and berries. Leaf buds must be harvested in early spring. The flowers may be gathered in spring. The berries ripen in fall.
· Other English Common Names: Haw, mayflower, mayblossom
· How to Identify: The hawthorn’s flowers are white and the plant has small red fruit clusters. See the plant in the video here.