Hawthorn and the Heart ~ September 21 2015

Herb Class ~ Saturday September 26th, 2015 from Noon to 3pm ~ $25 cost

Deepen your relationship with hawthorn....Delve into the medicine, science and folklore of this beloved heart medicine....Experience Plant Spirit Medicine journey....Taste hawthorn tea, syrup and oxymel. Share medicine making recipes, stories, and of course, harvest some berries while you’re there!

All levels of herbal experience will find something to learn, share, and enjoy.

 

Contact Heather Luna to register and receive class location:                                                                               530-798-3140 call, text or email                                                                                                                 Heather.herb@yahoo.com

Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) is a hearty shrub offering strength, protection and nourishment. The genus name Crataegus, comes from the Greek word kratos, which means strength. As a true heart medicine and classic cardio tonic herb there are a few things worth mentioning about the heart as it pertains to the hawthorn tree.

The heart is at the very center of our nervous system. Placed at the middle of our chest and directly in connection with our lungs (and source of breath). The heart is quite literally an organ from which we feel as its interstitial matrix is three quarters nervous tissue, by weight. Making the heart, not just a muscle, but a giant bundle of nerves. Nerves are how we feel the world around us. It is the nervous system that allows us to experience pleasure, pain, and each of our five senses. Touch, taste, sight, sound, smell and even that sixth sense are all expressions of our nerve fibers in response to our environment. The ability to embrace our feelings is a signature of the hawthorn tree. To feel is to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is true strength. Vulnerability allows us to fully open our hearts. This is one of the teachings of hawthorn.

When we have become closed down due to grief, heartache, and depression, the entire chest cavity tightens and becomes restricted, as it does with many lung conditions. Hawthorn protects us and makes us stronger, allowing our hearts and chest to open again so that we may breathe more deeply. Hawthorn berry syrup is indicated with coughs, lowered immune function, and respiratory conditions in this way.

Our dear friend, hawthorn, is a nervous system tonic. Relaxing the nerves is one mechanism by which it strengthens the beat of the heart. When the nerves are relaxed and blood vessels toned they can more fully contract and retract allowing a firm pulsation with each heartbeat.  Many herbalists use the flowering branches (with the blossoms, bark, leaves and thorns included) specifically for this nervine tonic effect. Sometimes taken as an extract, but often as a tea. It is quite powerful in reducing nervous tension and anxiety, especially when there is an emotional upset at the root. However this nervine property can also be found to lesser degree in the fruit as well, and it is primarily the berries that are such a rich source of bioflavonoids, antioxidants and nourishing food. The berries are also a known remedy for aiding in digestion, building blood and strengthening the immune system. With fresh berries such things as jam, wine, and cordials are made.

Below are photos of hawthorn berry syrup and oxymel processing~

Deeply restorative on so many levels, hawthorn is known best as a long term tonic to protect against cardiovascular and degenerative diseases, as well as having numerous other health benefits, including: lowering LDL cholesterol levels, reducing platelet aggregation, increasing the strength and elasticity of blood vessels, helping collagen repair itself, reducing edema and inflammation, relieving functional problems associated with varicose veins, lessening the tendency toward diabetic retinopathy, and improving skin health. These are all marks of the powerfully antioxidant properties in hawthorn, and are associated with high content of oligomeric proanthocyanidins, rutin, quercetin and vitamin C. 

This nourishing food-like medicine is optimal for long term use, and benefits seem to get even better after three months of daily consumption. I find it quite safe and supportive to use during all stages of pregnancy.

There are hundreds of species of hawthorn trees found across the globe. Native varieties are found in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America.  Herbalists use the many different species interchangeably. Most of the ones we see in gardens and hedgerows come from Europe.  North American native hawthorn species have a variety of leaf shapes including some with purplish- black colored berries known as Black Hawthorn as well as some that have bright orange to very large red berries. The European species are sometimes known by a few other names, such as thornapple, hawberry, whitethorn, May-tree, or Queen of the May. These names indicate the time when hawthorn’s ruffled white flowers come into their full expression during the month of May. There is also a notably clear representation of thorns within these names, as thorns are a prominently featured aspect to this botanical wonder. There is a great deal of magic and medicine in those thorns.

The word Haw comes from the Middle- English term for hedge. As you can see in many areas the small tree was often used in hedgerows to create a secure and protective boundary around large estates. This construct of land protection, along with its great thorns, depicts hawthorn’s energetic principle of keeping healthy boundaries.  Hawthorne is often known for its red berries that ripen like jewels around the time of the fall equinox, and I hope you will come to gather these with me, as we touch upon the many ways to use them for food and medicine. This little tree is etched into European Folklore with a vast history in herbal medicine. There are many stories of magic and faye folk associated with this thorn shrub. Hopefully I've said enough to peak your interest for now. *wink*

Further these insights, and so much more, in a gathering of hearts and berries this Saturday 9/26/15…                          I hope it touches your heart to join me and sit among our local hawthorn trees!                        heather.herb@yahoo.com

 

Hawthorn tea is my most favorite of all teas. Hawthorn leaf and flower are harvested in the Spring and then the berries are picked in the Fall. Then I grind the berries into powder and mix all the parts together to create what I call SimpliciTEA, simply a great hawthorn experience!

In honor of the hawthorn berry harvest season I am offering a discount on our SimpliciTEA, hawthorn tea blend.  I would like to encourage its use as a fall tonic and facilitator for maintaining winter wellness by giving 15% off of all orders of SimpliciTEA placed online before November 1st. Simply click here and enter the sale code HAWTHORN15 when you checkout to receive this offer.

Have a Berry Happy Hawthorn Season!