Hawthorn / Crataegus spp.
February is American Heart Month, and there’s no better herb to talk about for the heart than Hawthorn!
Hawthorn grows as a thorny, shrub-like tree with little red berries. It’s not generally seen in the south, as it is native to the northern hemispheres of North America, Europe, and Asia. In Western herbalism, it is known as one of the primary heart tonics. The leaf, flower, and berry of the Hawthorn tree are revered and utilized by ancient healing traditions across the globe.
Hawthorn berries are what we most commonly see in herbal preparations, either alone or in blends with other cardio tonics. It has many supportive actions for the body, the most significant being that it’s a superfood for the heart. Like all dark berries, Hawthorn is full of flavonoids–antioxidants that scavenge free radicals in the body to help reduce cellular oxidation and negative effects of inflammation.
Hawthorn can also be used to prevent blood vessel damage, regulate blood pressure, and improve overall circulation while strengthening the heart muscle itself. As a tonic, it is restorative to the tissues of the entire cardiovascular system. There have been extensive clinical studies out of Europe on Hawthorn, showing everything from lowering serum cholesterol, to support for congestive heart failure. If you or a family member have heart issues or a history of heart disease, it’s worth considering adding Hawthorn to your daily supplement regimen.
In addition to it being a powerhouse for the cardiovascular system, Hawthorn is also a wonderful tonic for the nervous system! It is calming and relaxing, and can be used throughout the day without making you feel tired or low in energy. Regular use can benefit the mood, and help smooth out the rough edges of an overactive nervous system. It works well with other herbs like Motherwort, Passionflower, and Cacao.
All Peoples Rx stores carry Hawthorn berry in a variety of preparations, from capsule of the berry alone to cardiovascular blends, and tincture blends for stress support. My favorite to suggest to customers is Gaia’s Hawthorn capsules or WishGarden’s Liquid Bliss tincture, which is a lovely blend to help nourish the nervous system. Stop in your favorite Peoples Rx location and chat with a Wellness Specialist to see how Hawthorn might benefit you!
Laurène Elliott-Deyris is an Herbalist and Wellness Specialist at Peoples Rx. She received her training at The Wildflower School of Botanical Medicine in Austin and is furthering her clinical studies with the Eclectic School of Herbal Medicine program out of North Carolina.
Photo credit: Laurène Elliott-Deyris
**This article is not intended to be medical advice. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before use.**
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