As August gives way to September autumn beckons, and our fruits are ripening. In the hills and the hedgerows here in Wales the hawthorn too bears fruit. Its berries are a blaze of bright red at this time of year. Red is of course the colour of love, and the blood pumped though us by the muscle we associate with love, the heart. (Interesting then that homeopathic Hawthorn has underlying emotional issues of grief or sorrow in its symptom picture.) The plant, whose young leaves, flower buds and berries are all edible, is best known as a heart remedy, both within the herbal community and amongst homeopaths.
In herbal form, drops of hawthorn tincture are given as a heart tonic, and are understood to balance high or low blood pressure. Its flavonoid molecules are known to strengthen capillaries and expand blood vessels.
In homeopathic form, hawthorn (Crataegus) is also well-suited to those suffering from heart conditions. Some of the symptoms in those who may benefit from Crataegus are sharp, darting or shooting pains, palpitations and dyspnoea. Accompanying the heart symptoms may be congestion to the head, pain under the left clavicle, a disordered stomach, and high anxiety. There may be enlargement of the heart from over-exertion, alcohol or other excesses.
Hawthorn patients are often cold, the face is pale, and hands can become cold from excitement. They can become chilled after exertion or excitement. Other mental symptoms are an underlying grief or sorrow, and irritability during heart symptoms. They desire rest and tranquillity, free from noise.
Of course you should seek professional advise before using hawthorn in any form if you are already on heart medication. It is however one of nature’s super medicinal foods, beloved of foragers, herbalists and homeopaths.
You could even make your own hawthorn jelly or jam, ketchup or wine.