Latin name: Crataegus spp.
Spp. Includes oxyacanthoides, monogyna, douglasii, laevigata. These species (spp.) appear to exhibit similar medicinal properties.
Botanical Family: Rosaceae
Common Name(s): Hawthorn, May Tree, Mayflower, Quickset, Whitethorn, Maybush, Mayblossom
Parts Used: Berries and Flowers
Plant type: Deciduous tree
Habitat: Most open places, forest edges, thickets, shorelines, stream side areas, roadsides, coastal bluffs; low to mid elevations.
Taste Berries/Fruit: sweet, sour - astringent (makes spaces between cells tighter because of the presence of tannins).
Coronary and Peripheral Vasodilator
Improves the structure and the function of the heart muscle. When treating heart health there are two areas to focus on: structure, the actual muscle, valves, chambers and physical structures of the heart. Then, the interconnected nerves, and the extended circulatory system. Hawthorn has a wide scope of function in that it tonifies the heart muscle and has an effect on the neural impulses; bringing them into alignment with each other. The berries antioxidant content also has an effect on peripheral vessels and reduces inflammation and oxidation.
Hawthorn is most widely used for hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina (chest pain due to low oxygenation). There are documented cases of Hawthorn treating arrhythmias and congestive heart failure. This herb is also helpful for treating atherosclerosis due to high cholesterol, as it has a protective effect on the blood vessels and improves circulation.
We love Hawthorn for its protective effects to the physical heart; but its powers also lend themselves to the energetic heart. This is a useful remedy for anxiety, especially when accompanied by quickened breath and a fast heart beat. We love using this herb to get in touch with our hearts desire, and our true selves; to help guide us into alignment with our purpose in this world. Her thorns give us a protective barrier; protecting us from energies that do not serve us, to help keep us strong and impenetrable.
Our Favorite Way to Use: In our "Kinection Elixir" (aka our very own House of Origins love potion). We have blended Hawthorn berries and flowers with Rose, Damiana, Schisandra, Licorice and Vanilla. Try it!
Planetary Association: Mars & Sun
Folklore / History: Faeries thorny home, Guardian of the Underworld, Heart protector.
The Hawthorn flowers are also said to have magical properties that have been believed to bring about a death in the family if they are taken into the home. This may have something to do with the trimethlamine present in
the flowers . When the body starts to decay, this substance is one of the first products formed . Historically the deceased were kept in the houme prior to burial, and people would have been familiar with the smell of death and decay.
Hawthorn is said to have been the source of Christs crown of thorns.
During WWI a substitute for tea and tobacco was made from Hawthorn's young leaves and the seeds were ground in place of coffee.
Sustainability Notes: Always leave ⅓ or more of a stand when harvesting. Keep in mind that the flowers you harvest will not have the chance to turn into berries (which are the seeds of new plants!). When harvesting the berries make sure to leave some for the birds and the bears.
Contraindications! Hawthorn has a synergistic effect with cardiac glycosides (digoxin), beta blockers, or other blood pressure medication. This can often lead to less of a need for these medications; but you must be monitored closely and have drug doses adjusted as needed. Please advise your doctor if you wish to do this.
Keeper of the unseen
Connected to messengers who act on behalf of those passed
from this world to the next:
Like dried things, bone things, fossilized things
and fallen feather things
Feeding the courage to look into the shadows of the heart
As the protector of the heart: the rhythm-resetter
Hawthorn will tend to your circulation with a flame from the Pheonix Fire
Helping you know when to let go
So you can easily flow
Pojar and MacKinnon, Plants of Coastal British Columbia, 1994
Maciocia, The Foundations of Chinese Medicine, 1989
Zalewski, C. L. Herbs in Magic and Alchemy: Techniques from Ancient Herbal Lore. Unity Press, 1991.