Hawthorn health benefits and therapeutic value

Health benefits of hawthorn, three berries on a branch.

Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) is a small thorny tree belonging to the Rosaceae family. This hardy medicinal plant, with very hard wood, was used by witches to ward off evil spirits

Today, hawthorn is celebrated for its health benefits and therapeutic value.

Health benefits of hawthorn and impact on the body

Hawthorn flowers are what is most used from the tree, but the leaves and fruits can also be put to good use in infusions, tincture, capsules, tabs and drops prepared from extracts.

  • Hawthorn is an excellent treatment against tachycardia. It is a heart regulator that helps space heartbeats while reducing heart palpitations.
  • In case of light cardiac deficiency, hawthorn will increase heart oxygenation and increases the capacity to exert physical efforts. It acts in a manner that fortifies the heart.
  • An antispasmodic, hawthorn reduces the excitation threshold of the nervous system. Hawthorn infusions (0.7 oz (20 g) flowers for 1 quart (1 liter) boiling water), several mugs of which can be drunk daily as part of a one or two week course, are very effective in cases of insomnia and anxiety.
  • It is also recommended against disorders resulting from menopause (heart palpitations, heat surges, insomnia, etc.) and to balance arterial blood pressure.
  • Hawthorn fruits are astringent, they’re used for gargling (⅓ oz (10 g) fruits for 1 quart (1 liter) water with a little honey added) to soothe sore throat.
  • Topical use in the form of hawthorn decoction (boil 0.7 oz (20 g) flowers or berries in half a quart (half a liter) water) to cleanse your face. Satisfaction guaranteed against red blemishes and pimples.

Growing hawthorn for its health benefits

  • Well-drained, cool and rich soil is perfectly suited to growing hawthorn. Plant it in full sun or light part sun.
  • Hawthorn resists extreme climate conditions quite well. It can cope with temperature swings and wind.
  • Unless you wish to grow it as a bonsai and prune its roots and stems very often, hawthorn will quickly find that living in a pot is too restrictive.
  • Keep an eye on your shrub which easily is invaded by red spider mites, aphids and caterpillars (but they usually don’t do much harm).

Hawthorn in cooking for its health benefits

Hawthorn berriesThe bright green very young leaves of hawthorn are very tender. Feel free to add them to your greens or snack on them in passing.

Berries from the hawthorn bush don’t really stand out in cooking, especially when raw because they feel mealy to the mouth. However, you can use them to prepare jelly or jam that will surely be surprising.