(previously C. oxyacantha
and C. oxyacanthoides)
and C. pinnatifida
English hawthorn, May bush, May tree, Haw, Tree of Chastity,
Huath, quickset, thorn-apple tree, whitethorn; Cockspur;
Cockspur thorn; Washington thorn; red haw; summer haw;
sanzashi (Japanese); sanza (Korean); shan zha or shan zha
Fruits: Fructus Crataegi, Flowers: Flores Crataegi
Dense tree or shrub with small,
Height up to 25 feet.
Flowers: small, white with
5 rose-like petals in clusters of 5-12 in the spring.
Leaves are flat, small,
lobed, maple-like: 2 inches long. Fruit: bright red, round
berries, 1/3 inch in diameter, with one large seed.
with related species in North Africa
and Western Asia. There are many related species which contain
at least some active flavonoids.
A perennial to zone 4.
Germination may take 2-3
years and require scarification with acid.
Stratify about 90 days.
Mostly germinated by
Prefers average, alkaline
garden soil but tolerates most soil conditions.
Good sun or partial shade
in forested areas although shady conditions produce fewer
flowers and fruit.
Propagation from most
species is by self-seed.
Cuttings don't always take
but can be grafted.
although the long tap root makes transplanting tricky.
The berries, or haws,
ripen in early autumn and remain on the trees until winter.
Gather the leaves when
young, throughout the spring, choosing a dry day. Lay the
leaves out in a single layer on trays in a hot cupboard.
After about three days the
leaves should be dry and crisp.
Berries gathered in the
fall when ripe.
Discolored fruits are not
Flavonoids (rutin, quercitin),
triterpenoids; saponins, oligomeric procyanidin,
polyphenols; coumarins; tannins.
flavonoids, amines (trimethylamine).
Berries: vitamins C, B1,
B2, B3, B5, B6,
B9, and B12, choline, inositol, PABA,
flavonoids and sugar, bioflavonoids.
All parts contain the
flavonoid pigments hyperoside and vitexinrhamnoside,
leucoanthocyanidins and the lactone crataeguslactone.
cardiotonic; dilates blood vessels; relaxant; antioxidant
spleen, stomach, liver
sour, sweet, slightly warm
A noted tree throughout the ages.
For the Greeks it was a
symbol of hope and the flowering branches decorated
In England it provided branches for the
flowers are reputed to have magical properties, and are
believed to bring about a death in the family if they are
taken into the home. This may have something to do with the
trimethlamine present in the flowers - this substance is one
of the first products formed when body tissue starts to
named after the tree to symbolize the hope of the pilgrims
in their voyage to America.
Haw is an old
English word for "hedge," so the tree's name means "thorny
Its Latin name,
"hardness" referring to the quality of the wood.
Reputed to have provided
Christ's crown of thorns.
The legend of the
Glastonbury Thorn, a miraculous tree that was said to have
leaves and flowers in the spring and again on Christmas Day,
arose from the belief that Joseph of Arimathea stuck his
hawthorn staff into the hill and it at once put forth leaves
It is said that when
Richard III was slain in battle, Richard’s battle crown was
found by a hawthorn bush and placed on Henry
VII’s head, and thereafter the
hawthorn became one of Henry’s badges.
the tree is also synonymous with the month when its flowers
begin to bloom.
In France, hawthorn has a religious
connotation: Norman peasants for years put sprigs of the
tree in their caps to reflect the belief that Christ’s crown
of thorns was made of hawthorn.
During the First
World War, the young leaves were used as a substitute for
tea and tobacco, and the seeds were ground in place of
coffee. The Hawthorn is the badge of the Ogilvie clan.
Hawthorn was traditionally used in
Europe for kidney and bladder stones and as a
Its current use for
circulatory and cardiac problems stems from an Irish
physician who started using it successfully on his patients
for such conditions toward the end of the 19th
It is used today to treat
angina and coronary artery disease.
Hawthorn normalizes the
heart and circulation, lowering or raising blood pressure
according to need.
It is found in most herbal
preparations for heart weakness, irregular heart beat,
hardening of the arteries, artery spasms, and angina.
In studies the hearts of
those patients taking hawthorn required less oxygen when
under stress as compared to standard treatments.
And in another study it
normalized heart action and efficiency and seemed to
strengthen contractions in almost all the patients with
primary heart disease and even some with more severe
secondary heart disease.
It also improved heart
problems caused by hepatitis or other liver disease.
In vitro increases in
coronary circulation ranging from 20% to 140% have been
observed following the administration of a dose equal to
about 1 mg of the dry extract.
blood pressure by dilating surface blood vessels, as opposed
to directly acting on the heart as does digitalis.
This also means it takes
longer to work but there is also no cumulative effect on the
It does make the body more
sensitive to digitalis, so the prescribed dose of digitalis
may eventually be cut in half.
Hawthorn also helps keep
the heart beating properly and decreases peripheral vascular
Originally only the
berries were used, but higher concentrations of active
flavonoids have been discovered in the flowers and leaves
when hawthorn is in full bloom.
One study found spring
shoots to be the most active.
The flavonoids dilate
coronary and external arteries while procyanidines, which
are most prevalent in the leaves around August, apparently
slow the heart beat and are antibiotic.
Combined with ginkgo,
hawthorn is used to enhance poor memory by improving the
circulation of blood to the head which increases the amount
of oxygen to the brain.
At one time unripe
berries were used for diarrhea and hawthorn-flower tea as a
A decoction of the ripe
berries is also used for sore throats, skin diseases,
diarrhea and abdominal distention.
The berries also
strengthen the appetite and digestion.
Tincture of flowering tops or
berries; Decoction of flowering tops.
powdered flowering tops; Infusion made from the flowers or
leaves helps to restore blood pressure levels to normal.
Dosage: German physicians
prescribe 1 teaspoon of hawthorn tincture upon waking and
before bed for periods of up to several weeks.
To mask its bitter taste,
mix it with sugar, honey, or lemon or mix it into an herbal
Decoction: use 30g berries
to 500 ml water and decoct for 15 minutes only.
Take for diarrhea or with
ju hua and gou qi zi for hypertension.
Use juice from the fresh
berries as a cardiac tonic; also for diarrhea, poor
digestion, or as a general digestive tonic.
1/2 oz each hawthorn berries and
flowers, ginkgo leaves and butcher's broom; hot water
(enough to cover herbs).
Cover with hot water and
steep for 5 minutes.
Strain and drink.
The same herbs can also be
used to make a tincture.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE TEA
1 quart boiling
water; 1 tsp each hawthorn berries and flowers, ginger
rhizome, valerian root and motherwort leaves.
Pour boiling water over
the herbs and steep for 20 minutes.
at least 2 cups a day.
You can also make these
herbs into a tincture using the same proportions.
Use hawthorn as a heart tonic for irregular heartbeat,
myocarditis, insomnia, edema, arteriosclerosis and juvenile
TCM: The fruit of
C. pinnatifida used.
Reduces and guides out
food stagnation: for accumulation due to meat or greasy
foods with accompanying symptoms of abdominal distention,
pain, or diarrhea.
Transforms blood stasis
and dissipates clumps: for post partum abdominal pain and
clumps due to blood stasis.
Also for hernial
Stops diarrhea: the
partially charred herb is used for the diarrhea of chronic
Also used recently for
hypertension, coronary artery disease and elevated serum
Use raw for blood stasis,
and dry-fried for food stagnation.
When used alone the dosage
may be as high as 30g.
In man low doses of hawthorn are
usually devoid of adverse effects.
Higher doses have the
potential to induce hypotension and sedation.
The health professional
and user must be aware of the potential of hawthorn to
affect cardiac rate and blood pressure.
Gender: Hot; Planet: Mars;
Element: Fire; Associated Deity: Cardea; Parts Used: leaves,
wood; Basic Power: protection.
Make a lightning charm of
Tie up leaves in
Carry to ensure good
Birthday flower for
Language of Flowers:
The thorns can be used as a can opener on a camping trip
Berries are eaten both raw
and cooked and can be turned into jams, jelly, wine and
Quality varies, but all
varieties taste a little like mealy apples.
Some are good raw, but
others are better cooked, with the seeds strained out, like
They contain pectin, so
the fruit sauce is self-thickening.
Early in the spring, you
can gather hawthorn leafbuds before they unfurl.
They're good cooked 10-20
minutes, tasting a little lima beans and can be added to
chili and soups.
Add the flowers to salads
or use them to make wine.
Hawthorn Blossom Wine
lbs hawthorn berries
5 quarts boiling water
juice and thinly peeled rind of 1
juice and thinly peeled rind of 2
5 cups sugar, brown or white
1 pint cold water
1 packet general-purpose yeast
Put the berries in
a large bowl and pour the boiling water over them.
Let them stand, covered
with a cloth, for a week.
Then put the lemon and
orange rinds and juices in a bucket and strain the berries
Make a sugar syrup by
putting the sugar and cold water into a saucepan and heating
until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Stir thoroughly, then cool
for 5 minutes.
Add to the bucket.
Activate the yeast, add it
to the bucket, cover with a cloth, and leave for 24 hours.
Then transfer the mixture
to a fermentation jar and ferment to finish.
4 pints hawthorn blossom
3 lb sugar
7 pints water
yeast and nutrient
Grate the thinly
peeled rind of both lemons and extract the juice from one of
Add both rind and juice to
the sugar and water and boil the mixture for 30 minutes,
Allow to cool to room
temperature before adding the tannin, yeast and nutrient.
Leave for a day before
adding the flowers; cover and leave for a further week in a
warm place, stirring daily.
Strain through a fine
nylon sieve into a fermenting jar and fit an air-lock. Rack
when the wine clears and it should be ready fore bottling
3-4 months later.
(Nature’s Wild Harvest)
Hawthorn Leaf Tea
Measure equal quantities of dried hawthorn leaves and Indian
tea into the pot and allow to infuse for a few minutes as
Hawthorn Berry Chutney
1 pint cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 cup mixed dried fruit or
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
freshly milled black pepper
Snip the berries
from their stalks and wash them thoroughly.
Put the berries in a large
saucepan with the vinegar and salt, bring to the boil, cover
and simmer steadily for 1 hour.
Rub the contents of the
pan through a sieve into a clean saucepan.
You should have about 1
Add the rest of
the ingredients, using a
good grinding of black pepper, and bring to the boil,
stirring all the time.
Then cook in the uncovered
pan for 15-20 minutes until the mixture is fairly thick.
Pour into warm dry jars
and cover with circles of waxed paper while hot, seal with
cellophane covers when cold.
(All Good Things Around
and Bacon Pudding
For the pastry:
8 oz self-raising flour
1 tsp salt
4 oz shredded beef suet
water to mix
For the filling:
2 oz young hawthorn buds
3 rashers streaky bacon
Sift the flour and
salt into a bowl.
Mix suet with some of the
flour and chop until fine, then add rest of the flour and
Add 6-7 Tbsp of water and
mix to a soft dough.
Knead lightly until
smooth, then roll out thinly on a floured board into an
Cover with the buds,
pressing them lightly in.
Cut the de-rinded bacon
rashers up very finely and spread over the buds.
Damp the crust edges with
water and roll up as for jam roly-poly.
Wrap in greaseproof paper
and steam for 1-1½ hours until cooked.
Serve with a rich brown
(Food from the
lbs haws (to yield 3 cups of pulp)
7 cups sugar
Cook Haws in the water until soft. Press through a sieve.
Cook the strained sauce with sugar. Soon after boiling, it
will flake rather than coat the spoon. Jar and seal. Process
in boiling water 10 minutes.
1 lb haws
1 lb cooking apples
3 Tbsp fresh grapefruit juice
plus the grated rind of one grapefruit
½ pint water
8 oz sugar
4 oz butter
Have ready some
small jars, washed in boiling water and placed in a low oven
Cook the haws in the water
with the apples, grapefruit juice and rind until soft and
pulpy (the apples should be cut up, but there is no need to
peel or core them).
Press through a sieve and
return to a clean pan.
Put back on a low heat,
add the sugar and butter and stir until dissolved.
Beat the eggs lightly and
gradually ad to the pan, stirring all the time and being
careful the mixture does not boil.
When incorporated and the
mixture has thickened, ladle into the heated jars, cover and
Should be eaten within two
or three weeks unless stored in a refrigerator where it will
keep a little longer.
(Food from the
1 lb cooked potatoes
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
salt and pepper
3 Tbsp hawthorn buds
Dice the potatoes
while still warm and mix with the mayonnaise.
Season to taste, and when
cool add the hawthorn buds.
Fold in well and chill
before serving (Food from the Countryside)
All Good Things Around Us,
Pamela Michael, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1980,
Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica,
Dan Bensky & Andrew Gamble, Eastland Press, 1993;
The Complete Medicinal Herbal,
Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, 1993; 1-56458-187-X
Druid's Herbal, Ellen Evert Hopman, Destiny, 1995,
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants,
Andrew Chevallier, Dorling Kindersley, 1996; 0-7894-1067-2
Food from the Countryside,
Avril Rodway, Grange Books, 1992; ISBN: 1-85627-276-1
Herbal Medicine, Rudolf Fritz
Weiss, ABArcanum 1988; 0-906584-19-1.
This book has an extensive
section on hawthorn and how to use it in cardiac cases
Herbs for Health and Healing,
Kathi Keville, Rodale Press, 1997, 0-87596-293-9
Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants,
Steve Brill with Evelyn Dean, Hearst Books, 1994;
The Illustrated Herb Encyclopedia,
Kathi Keville, Mallard Press, 1991; 0-7924-5307-7
Magical Herbalism, Scott Cunningham, Llewellyn, 1982;
Nature’s Wild Harvest,
Eric Soothill & Michael J. Thomas, 1990, Blanford, ISBN:
The Review of Natural Products,
Facts and Comparisons, January 1994
Wild Food, Roger Phillips, Little
Brown, 1986; 0-316-70611-6
seeds, plants, dried root
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