Scientific name: Crataegus laevigata
A member of the rose family, hawthorn trees can grow to be 200 years old, and the berries, flower, and leaf are used for a variety of purposes.
- Vitamin B1, B2, C
- Heart health: berries, leaves, and flowers. Must be used regularly as it does not store in the body or work in an accumulative fashion
- Strengthens capillaries
- Normalizes and regulates blood pressure: good for people with high and low blood pressure
- Helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels
- Collagen stabilizer
- Repairs ligaments, tendons, and muscles
- Treats/prevents: heart problems, edema, angina, and heart arrhythmia
CAUTION: Do NOT eat the seeds. They contain a form of cyanide which, when digested, can be deadly. 1-2 may not be deadly for an adult, but could be for a child. You can cook the berries and then remove the seeds after, or if eating raw berries, just spit the seeds out.
Hawthorn berries are used to make wine, and more popularly they are used to make jam and jelly due to their high pectin content. Most do not have much flavor and are better when mixed with other fruits.
Dried or fresh, they can be made into a healthy tea as well.
(consult a doctor if experiencing any serious conditions)
CAUTION: Hawthorn is generally seen as safe to take alongside heart medication, as it works through nourishing and supporting. But it is always best to consult your doctor or at least inform them of what you’re doing.
- Heart support: create a tincture using the whole plant, or dried bought from a reliable store. Take 1 tsp 1-2x daily for 3-4 weeks, take 1 week off, and continue.
- Blood pressure: 2 tsp of leaves or seedless berries made into tea 2x per day can be an effective beta blocker and lowers blood pressure.
How to Grow
Hawthorn grows fairly easily in a decent range of conditions, and it’s good to keep in mind that it’s a slow grower.
Where do you live?
There are many species which have a range of appearances – some look like shrubs, and other become large trees. Each can grow in a different area, so pick the one that grows best where you are.
Put em in the ground
- Full sun or partial shade
- Prefers rich, moist soil with a slightly alkaline pH
- Can easily take a sapling growing around an older tree, or pick one from a nursery
- Very young leaves can be eaten along with flower buds and young flowers
- Avoid mature flowers, or parts of the plant that smell like almonds when crushed
- Prune damaged and dead parts of the tree while dormant in the winter
- Watch for fungus in the spring (eg. leaf blight, anthracnose, or rust) especially if common in the area. Use fire blight treatment in the winter if it has been a problem
- Pests to watch for: caterpillars, borers, and scale