Latin Name: Crataegus spp. There are many species including C. douglasii; C. monogyna.
Parts used: Leaf, flower, & fruit
The hawthorn tree, which may be living in your neighborhood, is in full fruit right now. In the spring, Hawthorn has sweet little white to pink ‘perfect’ flowers, typical of the rose family bearing 5 petals and numerous stamen. Now, in the fall, they have cute little red fruits that look a lot like mini apples!
Traditionally, the leaves, flowers, & berries are all taken at the same time for medicine, but since the flowers and fruits are harvested at different times of year, taking them independently is lovely and effective.
The leaves and flowers taste floral and sweet with a mild drying feel due to the tannins, typical of plants in the rose family. The berries make for a rich heart tonic and are flavorful when cooked down or tinctured in brandy.
Rose is the family of the heart and hawthorn is a prime example as it is quite the cardiotonic herb – a true heart tonic. Hawthorn keeps the heart in a healthy condition, reducing the risk for heart disease. This is due to its ability to strengthen and restore the function of the heart.
We include hawthorn leaves & flower in our blend, ‘I Heart Hibiscus’, to serve as a cardiovascular support blend. We suggest this herbal tea be drunk to keep the heart healthy, as a preventative to heart disease, and as a compliment to other therapies if you have heart disease. ‘I Heart Hibiscus’ is a pleasant tea - we believe that medicine can be delicious!
If you find that you have a hawthorn in you or your neighbor’s backyard, here’s a fun recipe for hawthorn berry ketchup! This recipe really brings out the richness of the berries. As Hippocrates said, ‘Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food’.