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Hawthorn - Herb Blurb

cardiacherbs hawthornberry herbblurbs herbsfortheheart

In these challenging times of stress and worry, our hearts can take a lot of abuse. Emotionally, absolutely, but those stress hormones can take a big toll on the physical body of our hearts as well. Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) is a cardiac tonic that can do so much to protect this most vital organ.

A lovely dense tree or shrub that grows throughout the northern hemisphere, Hawthorn has small, sharp thorns, white or white/pink flowers and red berries. These tenacious plants can grow up to 25 feet and are native to North America, Europe, and Asia. In both the East and West, hawthorn has been used for millennia as both a food and a medicine.

"The current use of hawthorn for heart conditions dates back to the 17th century, according to the French doctor, Leclerc. Green, an Irish doctor, is known to have used it extensively—though secretly—for heart ailments. After his death in 1894, his daughter revealed the famous cure to be a tincture of the ripe berries of Crataegus oxycanthus. In Europe, both homeopathic and allopathic doctors used the herb for various heart and cardiovascular ailments from the late 19th through the early 20th centuries—and with great clinical success. Hawthorn had entered American clinical practice by 1896—only to fade from use in the 1930s.
Hawthorn works slowly, like all herbal tonics. It should be taken for at least 3 months, up to several years or longer, if needed. It is safe to use concurrently with allopathic drugs such as digoxin and may even allow a person to reduce the dose of this commonly prescribed, but highly toxic medicine.

With long-term use, hawthorn can safely help to strengthen and nourish the heart. Here is a summary of the important clinical effects of hawthorn:

It dilates the arteries that supply the heart muscle itself with blood, oxygen, and fuel, providing a better supply of these essential nutrients. This results, with continued use, in a stronger, more efficient heart beat.
It acts as a powerful free-radical scavenger, protecting the heart against the harmful effects of lessened oxygen—a common result of vascular disease, such as atherosclerosis.
It can help steady the heartbeat, if it is irregular and does not lead to dependence.
It has mild sedative activity, which may be useful where mild heart disease is combined with nervousness, hypochondria, etc., in which case it can be combined with lavender or lemon balm.
In this modern age with its times of stress and anxiety, it is reassuring that nature has provided such a gentle yet effective cardiovascular protector as hawthorn."

© 1998 Christopher Hobbs

Method & Dosage:
Hawthorn works best in combination with the berries, leaf and flowers as a daily tonic used over time (at least 3 months). Tincture appears to be the most favored method with a very general dosage of about 30 drops taken 2-4 times per day.
**Caution: Although Hawthorn is time-tested and is generally considered a safe herb to take, there may be side effects for some people. Read here for more on contraindications/side effects.**

Hawthorn Jelly by Robin Harford
We're at the wrong time of year to pick the fresh berries, but save this recipe for next Fall/Early Winter!
1.5 lbs Fresh Hawthorn berries
1.5 pints (24oz) of water
1 muslin or jelly bag
1 fresh lemon
1ish lbs sugar (or equivalent of sugar substitute)

Pick, wash, drain and destalk your Hawthorn berries. Place in a large pot and cover with the water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour, mashing every 20 minutes. Strain the mash through your muslin/jelly bag overnight. It will be clearer the less you squeeze. After the juice is completely strained out, measure out 1lb sugar for every pint (16oz) of liquid. Return juice/sugar mixture to pot and add the juice of 1 lemon. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring often to make sure the sugar dissolves completely. Then rapid boil until the mixture has reached a setting point. Skim any foam off the top and pour into clean, warm jars. Place lids on and label and your done!

Hawthorn Cordial
Recipe reprinted from Wild Drinks & Cocktails by Emily Han

THE WORD “CORDIAL” COMES FROM THE MEDIEVAL LATIN TERM CORDIALIS, meaning “of the heart,” and hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna, C. laevigata) has been used for thousands of years in Asia and Europe to protect and strengthen the physical and emotional heart, improving blood circulation, and healing anxiety and sadness. So, how could I resist making a cordial that literally warms the heart?

Hawthorn’s red berries, or haws, are gently sweet and sour with an appley sort of flavor. I like to warm up my Hawthorn Cordial with a little ginger, which complements the haws’ flavor and improves blood circulation to boot.

2 cups (400 g) fresh hawthorn berries (or 1 cup [120 g] dried)
1-inch (2.5 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly-sliced
3 cups (705 ml) water
1 cup (340 g) honey or (200 g) sugar

Combine the hawthorn berries, ginger, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Lightly crush the berries with a potato masher or another mashing tool, and continue simmering for another 10 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids. Measure the liquid; you should have about 1 cup (235 ml). Return the liquid to the saucepan and add the honey or sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

You can find dried Hawthorn berries here:

#moonriseherbs #hawthorn #heartherbs #cardiacherbs

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