For me, there is something very uplifting about seeing the Hawthorn in flower, her boughs laden and almost bending under the weight of the blossoms, I find it truly heart warming which is interesting as the keynote of the medicine gift of hawthorn is of course the heart.
The Hawthorn tree or May Tree/White Thorn is extremely common sight across the UK as both Tree and Hedgerow, bursting into flower in May. Remember the saying’ Don’t shed a clout till May is Out?’ This pertains not to the month of May but to the May Flower herself!
Hawthorn has a place of note in our history and folklore.
As a member of the Rose family Hawthorn is a symbol of love and is sacred to Beltane or Mayday; a wonderful day to be married and for couples to declare their love..
Possibly the most famous Hawthorn is the Glastonbury Thorn found on Wearyall Hill, Glastonbury. Cuttings were planted in the Abbey and in Chalice Gardens. This Hawthorn flowers at Christmas and is thought to originate from the middle east which gives some weight to the legend that Joesph of Arimathea planted his Staff made of Hawthorn on Wearyall Hill, when he landed in Glastonbury after fleeing with members of Christ’s family after the crucifixion.
The Flowers and Berries are both active medicinal parts of the plant and I often use a tinctured combination of both together.
I use the tincture for high blood pressure, and as a heart tonic maybe mixed with Lime flowers, Valerian and Yarrow.
The flowers make a pleasant tea; with yarrow for menopausal sweating; the sedative action will help here to calm the nervous system. With lime flowers for high blood pressure, or for anxiety with heart palpitations use it with Motherwort.
Please do not treat yourself for high blood pressure or for palpitations – see a Medical Herbalist for this, just to be sure you are not missing any underlying health conditions.
It is a mild yet effective herb, quite safe to use long term but I do not use it in conjunction with Beta Blockers as it can potentiate the effect of the drug.
The actions are as follows: Cardio-tonic, anti-spsmodic, sedative, vasodilator and hypo-tensive.
The Flavonoids in the flower are responsible for improving the circulation in the heart itself, the vasodilatory action acts on the coronary vessels and increases enzyme metabolism in the heart muscle and increases the hearts ability to utilise oxygen. The term trophorestorative which means to increase the health of the organ itself, is often used to describe the action of Hawthorn.
Harvest the flower just before blooming, in the ball stage as this is when the flavonoids are highest.
Energetically Hawthorn can be used where the heart energy is ‘stuck’ to assist the flow of giving and receiving love.
This year I have been moved to make a flower essence of Hawthorn – all I need is a free day where the sun shines.. if I manage it I will post photo’s………