Hawthorn / Aubépine
Crataegus spp. – Hawthorn is also known as may, hedgethorn, whitethorn, hogberry wickens, maybush, redhaw, quickset, bread and cheese.
Parts used: The herb consists of the leaves and flowers – harvested together in the spring; or the berries – harvested late July or early August. The action of the berries is milder and more tonic than that of the leaves and flowers.
Habitat: Perennial. The tree prefers open fields and transition areas. There are forty-four species that grow in Ontario, 43 native and 1 alien. These species readily hybridize. Herb books commonly refer to two European species – C. laevigata and C. monogyna. While differing species are not well researched they are believed to have similar properties.
Properties: Anti-arrhythmic, anti-cardiotoxic, anti-spasmodic, astringent, demulcent, blood pressure normalizer, cardiac, vascular tonic, relaxant and tranquilizer.
Uses: An herb well known for its action on the heart and circulatory system. This herb improves circulation within the heart. Used for conditions associated with heart weakness, palpitations, and arrhythmia. The herb is helpful in cases of hypo/hypertension, arteriosclerosis and other conditions of the blood vessels. A mild nervine hawthorn has some secondary uses for anxiety and nervousness. All traditional uses of this herb have been demonstrated experimentally.
Preparation/Dosage: Generally used as a decoction/tea or as a tincture. Take 2 tsp of herb per cup of water 3 times a day or 2.5 ml tincture 3 times a day.
Safety Considerations: While very tonic and safe for long term use hawthorn enhances the activity of cardioactive drugs. Modification of drug dosage may be required. As with all herbs, discuss with your health care provider.