By Rebecca Potter
Here’s a little Thanksgiving trivia for you. Did you know that the pilgrims named the Mayflower after the wood of the hawthorn tree, which was one of the woods they used to build their ship? Hawthorn is also called ‘mayflower’ because its blossoms appear in May, and it has long been prized for its hard wood and medicinal properties. It has also often been used to decorate maypoles and has been featured in numerous legends and myths over time. Some of hawthorn’s supposed “powers” are that it will keep women young and beautiful, it will give fishermen a good catch, it will protect you from evil, and if you sit underneath it, you will be whisked away to the fairy underworld. And for you Harry Potter fans, hawthorn even keeps bogarts away. No wonder it was such a sacred tree for the Celts and other groups of people.
What is not myth, however, are the effective medicinal powers this wonderful herb possesses. When you think of hawthorn, think ‘heart’. The reason is because this herb is specific for healing the heart and it has held the distinguished honor of being the best cardiotonic for centuries. It’s even listed in Potter’s Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations of 1915 as such. (Harry Potter and I are so proud). Hawthorn works differently than other herbs because it directly affects the cardiac muscle cells and circulatory system. Because of this, it is remarkable for heart failure, post-infarction recovery, heart valve diseases, dyspnea, lesions from previous heart attacks, palpitations, angina, blood pressure, heart inflammation, blood clots, arteriosclerosis, heart wear and tear, and overall heart weakness.
What is hawthorn doing while it’s hard at work on your heart and circulatory system? It moves the blood along keeping the arteries and vessels open and elasticized, allays pain, keeps, promotes excellent circulation throughout the whole body, rebuilds the heart and venous system and fibers, provides vital antioxidants, reduces inflammation, strengthens the heart’s pumping action, lowers cholesterol, removes plaque, steadies the heartbeat, increases the heart’s capability to endure oxygen deficiency, balances heart irregularities, and binds to heart cell receptors for on-site healing. Pretty amazing, right?
Incorporating hawthorn tea or hawthorn berry syrup into your daily regime will strengthen and heal your heart like never before. If you’d like to make your own hawthorn berry syrup, you can learn how to do it here. There are countless stories of people taking this syrup on a daily basis and seeing wonderful results with their heart health.
It also is a diuretic, helps with kidney/bladder stones, sore throats, gout, fever, pleurisy, nervous tension, insomnia, depression, digestion, relaxing the uterus, and water retention.
If you live in Oregon or Washington, you live in a commercial collection area for hawthorn, usually Crataegus laevigata and Crataegus monogyna. You could also grow this hearty, thorny shrub yourself in temperate climates with full sun, but be prepared for a lifelong friend since they are quite tenacious. The berry drupes almost taste good by late fall when they lose their bitterness, and they can be used in jellies and sauces too.
Rebecca Potter, MH, is a lifelong student of herbalism, a lover of herbs and natural healing. She feels passionately about sharing her knowledge and experience with herbs to empower all to achieve the greatest possible health potential. She received her Master Herbalist degree from The School of Natural Healing, and teaches herbal classes in her local area of Salt Lake City. She is a co-author along with Julie Behling-Hovdal and Col. Edward Behling of The Essential Survival Guide to Medical Preparedness. In addition to her herbal classes, Rebecca enjoys doing personalized herbal consultations and performs a variety of key functions at Essential Survival, LLC. Follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone suffering from disease or injury should consult with a physician.