Blessed Beltaine to you all!
Nothing says the first of May like hawthorn, whose blooms bear their chests to the sky this time of year. For a small window of time, soft white tufts of blossom bedazzle this thorny tree inviting us closer. It’s this time of year that the Celts adorned the *outer* entrances to their homes and stables with the blossoming branches of hawthorn, welcoming in the warmer months and summer-time.
One of the best cardiac tonics we have in Western Herbalism, hawthorn wins almost anyone over as any preparation from berries and flowers tastes *really good*! Whether your heart needs a stronger electric charge or blood pressure needs to be regulated or the grieving hearts needs to be restored and protected, hawthorn is there for you.
The leaves and twigs are an elegant astringent, tightening up the intestinal lining for those dealing with IBS, Leaky Gut, or recovering from a water-borne illness. As well, many with acid reflux find relief by taking the tincture or drinking a tea of the leaves and twigs.
Are hawthorn trees native to North America? Yes indeed. The genus is Crataegus and there are a number of species that are native or a naturalized hybrid as this genus tends to hybridize easily. There were definitely some species brought over from Europe that intermixed with the native species here. One area where I harvest the flowers has three different species in one area. So, to me, that speaks to its variability.
Hawthorn is also a rather sturdy plant. You can find it from the warm marshes of coastal Mississippi to the crisp, cold climate of mountain ranges and areas further north. She has a feisty grandmother kind of presence, one that provides for us and draws us close (berries) and yet sets good boundaries (thorns). We could all use a lesson or two from her (smile).
At the apothecary, you’ll find hawthorn berry and flower in our Heart’s Ease Formula and the leaves and twigs in our Total Tummy Tincture. Gratitude to hawthorn!