Herb of the Day
Dedicated to Hymen, the god of marriage, the hawthorn was used as a symbol of hope at weddings in Greece; bridal attendants wore its blossoms while the bride carried an entire bough. Also, in both Greece and Rome, torches carried in wedding processions were made of hawthorn. The Romans put hawthorn leaves in the cradles of newborn babies to ward off evil spirits.
Medicinal Uses: Hawthorn is effective for curing insomnia. Hawthorn is used to prevent miscarriage and for treating nervousness. Hawthorn has been used for centuries in treating heart disease, as regular use strengthens the heart muscles, and to prevent arteriosclerosis, angina, and poor heart action. Hawthorn normalizes blood pressure by regulating heart action; extended use will usually lower blood pressure. It is good for heart muscle weakened by age, for inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis), for softening the arteries in arteriosclerosis, helps strengthen blood
vessels, cures giddiness, reduces palpitations, angina pectoris, weak heart, vascular insufficiency, blood clots (embolism, phlebitis), and for nervous heart problems.
People under stress and strain from pressures of the job can benefit from hawthorn tea, aids in digestion. The tea is also a good remedy for other nervous conditions, particularly insomnia. Dilates coronary vessels, to restore the heart muscle wall, and to lower cholesterol levels. Used to treat skin sores. Relieves abdominal distention and diarrhea, food stagnation, abdominal tumors, and is good for dropsy, drives out splinters and thorns.
Magickal uses: The leaves are used to make protection sachets. They are also carried to ensure good fishing. In Europe, Hawthorn was used to repel witchcraft spells. Bringing branches of it into the home is supposed to portend death. It is incorporated into spells and rituals for fertility. It will protect the home from damaging storms. Hawthorn branches carried at weddings ensure fertility. Place the leaves under a mattress or around the bedroom to ensure chastity. Place in a bassinette to protect a baby from evil. Druid sacred tree and Fairy tree. Wands of the wood have power. Used in marriage rituals to promote fertility. Hawthorn is the seat of Wild Magic and decorated May Poles.
Properties: Astringent, antispasmodic, cardiac tonic, carminative, diuretic, sedative, stimulant, vasodilator. Contains anthocyanin-type pigments, choline, citric acid, cratagolic acid, rich in bioflavonoids, flavonoid glycosides, tannins, glavone, glycosides, inositol, PABA, purines, saponins, sugar, tartaric acid, minerals and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12, and C.
Growth: Hawthorn, a compact, deciduous tree, grows as either a shrub or a tree, to 15 feet; its trunk or stems have hard wood, smooth and ash-gray bark, and thorny branches. The small, shiny leaves are dark green on top, light bluish-green underneath, and have 3 irregularly toothed lobes. The frail white flowers, known as “may”, have 5 round petals and grow in terminal corymbs, spreading clusters, during May and June. In some varieties the blossoms may be pink or deep red. The fruit, or haw, is 2-3 seeded, egg-shaped, freshly pome, scarlet on the outside, yellowish and pulpy on the inside. The berries or fruit hang in small bunches from the thorny shrub, each berry has 1-5 seeds. Berries remain on the tree after the leaves fall off in autumn. Found in England and continental Europe; in England it is widely grown as a hedge plant. Found by the roadside or in the meadows, along streams, in bottomlands and open woods from Nova Scotia to North Dakota and south to Alabama and Texas. Native to Asia, Africa and Europe. Naturalized to the United States.
Website: The Whispering Woods