Hawthorn Berry: Herb Spotlight
History of Hawthorn Berries
Hawthorn has been used since the Middle Ages with some accounts going back as far as the first century to Greek herbalist Dioscorides. It’s been used continuously throughout history, especially by the Swiss physician, Paracelsus (1493–1541 CE). Considered to be a particularly symbolic tree with many folktales and magical myths surrounding it, hawthorn was “sacred tree medicine” to the ancient Druids. It was said to house fairies, specifically when growing with oak and ash trees.
Hawthorn twigs and flowers were incorporated in the marriage wreath symbolizing chastity and ensuring prosperity at Greek weddings and were also used to decorate altars worshipping the goddess of marriage, Hymen. In Ireland, couples desiring its blessing would dance around it at marriage ceremonies. The blooming of this tree coincided with the first day of summer, which occurred in May.
Therapeutic Uses of Hawthorn
In the traditional medicine of Europe, all parts of the tree were appreciated and utilized: leaves, berries, flowers, and wood. The blossoms were used as a heart tonic and a diuretic, and the berries and leaves were made into an astringent tea to soothe throats. The bright red sumptuous berries were also made into a tasty brandy cordial.
Hawthorn has been used in traditional Chinese medicine since ancient times, however, most historical uses were related to digestion. Presently, it is used to support the cardiovascular system. It is considered to be a superior heart tonic by many herbalists.
Hawthorn and Equanimity
Many consider hawthorn to be transformational for the emotional or spiritual heart as well. Herbalists suggest that it is specifically helpful for those with “broken hearts” – easing and transforming the feeling of being wounded and hurt to a more uplifting state of being. Often the flowers and leaves are made into floral essences to address these types of emotional issues. The scent and flavor of the red berries enhance the flavor of tinctures.
This herb is celebrated for uplifting and strengthening the emotional and physical aspects of the heart. As such, it is the perfect complement to the other herbs in our Equanimity Tincture; together, they bring about a sense of ease, calm, and peace.