Herb of the Month: Hawthorn
One of the sacred Ogham trees of Ireland, hawthorn or huath in Irish, representing the letter H, is the tree that symbolises Bealtaine and is a herb of abundant medicine. Hawthorn, or whitethorn, is easily identifiable during this time as her creamy blossoms brighten hedgerows, stone walls, fields and sacred sites. Hawthorn is also known the fairy tree as it is believed, especially a solo tree in a field, that it is a place that fairies would stop to rest (or party!) as they traversed across the land.
When in full bloom, the scent of hawthorn wafting through the summer air is heady and uplifting. In the movie, Dare to Be Wild, about Mary Reynolds, designer of Brigit’s Garden, Mary talks about hawthorn representing hope. She used 200 year old hawthorns in her gold-medal winning Chelsea Garden Show design.
The medicine we need grows right at our back door and hawthorn, with her ubiquitous presence, is a testament to that. Her leaves and flowers, her thorns and stems, her berries, all provide healing to the body and the spirit. Hawthorn is a member of the rose family and offers generously to nourish and protect the heart. She strengthens the heart tissue, eases angina and palpitations due to anxiety or hormonal response. Hawthorn berry tincture warms the heart and softens anger. In tea or tincture, hawthorn lowers blood pressure, brings vitality and efficiency to the circulatory system. Her berries, stems and thorns are high in antioxidants. You can create an infused honey or flower remedy with her flowers.
Hawthorn Flower Infused Honey
1 cup of fresh hawthorn blossoms, a few leaves, a few thorns
1 cup of local, raw honey
Place fresh hawthorn blossoms, leaves and thorns in a clear glass jar and cover with honey procured from your local beekeeper. Place in a sunny window for 30 days. The heat and the sun will extract/ release the constituents from the hawthorn flowers into the honey. Strain after a month and take one tablespoon per day, adding to your hawthorn flower tea, dribble over your summer salad leaves, dip strawberries in it. Medicine is delicious!
Herbal Classes at Brigit's Garden
Join Tonja on 7th May for Herbcraft: Bealtaine to learn more about hawthorn and 3 other native herbs, to create medicine for the season and with the season, and to celebrate community. For more information click here.