10 September 2015
Hawthorn: Little Rose for the Heart
When most of us think of love, the flower that comes to mind is Rose. However, the noble Rose has a humble cousin that is such a gentle yet powerful tonic for the heart that perhaps it should be the symbol of love. This little known relative is Hawthorn (Cratageus sp.), a small tree that loves sunny and windy places. It has beautiful pinkish flowers in the spring that turn into dusky red berries by fall. Unfortunately, no one will ever send you a bouquet of Hawthorn because it is covered in thorns even bigger than the ones on roses!
Hawthorn is well known to herbalists as a restorative tonic for the heart, one that is able to revitalize the whole cardiovascular system. It has been used to regulate heart rhythm in cases of arrhythmia and tachycardia, and helps to slowly rebuild the heart in cases of degenerative heart disease. It is also a wonderful tonic for people with high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis. By helping to dilate the arteries it can improve blood flow to all parts of the body. This little shrub is a good friend to people with poor circulation.
Hawthorn can heal not only the physical heart, but the emotional one as well. It can open your heart to give and receive more love. Who couldn’t use a little of that?! This thorny yet gentle-acting plant also helps to soothe a heart filled with sorrow, regret, or grief.
Hawthorn is a very safe plant with no known toxicity. Of course, if you decide to work with this herb, it is always wise to consult with a knowledgeable practitioner. The flowers, leaves and berries of Hawthorn are all used to make medicine. It is best taken as an alcohol extract or strong tea. A typical dosage would be 30 drops of extract three times per day, or as much tea as you enjoy drinking. The effects of Hawthorn build over time, so plan to take it for at least two to six months for optimum results. So next time your heart needs some nurturing, remember this "little rose!"
Jessica Godino, L.Ac., brings us over two decades of experience as an herbalist. The owner of Four Flames Healing and senior instructor at The Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism, she co-founded Red Moon Herbs after apprenticing with Susun Weed. In her work as an acupuncturist and functional medicine practitioner, Jessica specializes in metabolic and endocrine issues.