Common name: Hawthorn, Maytree
Family: Roseaceae Parts
Used: Leaves, berries, flowers
A prime cardiac tonic to strengthen and restore the blood and heart muscle.
Hawthorn can be a thorny shrub or a small tree that will vary in size depending upon its location. It can reach heights of 5m and is often found growing in hedgerows, scrub, copses and wood margins. The leaves are a dark green with 5-7 lobes and the flowers are small, delicate and white with a distinctive scent. The hawthorn produces characteristic bright red bunches of spherical berries that contain a single seed each. The plant flowers in May and bears fruit in September. Medicinally, the parts of the plant used are the flowers and the berries.
How it Works
Hawthorn is rich in flavonoids which help to reduce arterial stiffening and fatty deposits. The flavonoids that have been identified as having the most profound effect upon the heart are flavonoglycosyls, hyperoside, rutin and oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs). OPCs found in hawthorn will scavenge free radicals and inhibit an enzyme known as human neutrophil elastase. This enzyme is released by white blood cells during hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and is thought to be responsible, alongside free radicals, for any damage to the heart that can occur during hypoxia. Flavonoids are potent antioxidants but also increase collagen cross-linking in blood vessel walls, which strengthens blood vessels in the heart and throughout the body.
Hawthorn dilates the coronary arteries, reducing cardiac hypoxemia and the likelihood of angina attacks. Hawthorn is positively inotropic; it increases the contractility of the heart muscle, improving muscle tone and efficiency. Consequently, it reduces arrhythmia and directly targets the cells of the cardiac muscle, enhancing both the activity of the muscle and its nutrition. It will improve circulation throughout the heart muscle and vessels by encouraging blood vessel dilation whilst also improving general blood vessel health and calming raised blood pressure.
Into the Heart of Hawthorn
Hawthorn is considered to be a primary heart tonic and trophorestorative remedy for any cardiovascular disease or deterioration of the heart. It is a wonderful nourishing regenerative to the heart and regulates the whole cardiovascular system. It is specifically indicated in coronary heart disease or general age related degeneration, angina, hypertension, infection, muscular inefficiency and arrhythmia.
Hawthorn will strengthen the beat and muscle of the heart. The flowers and berries have similar actions, but the berries are thought to be more highly indicated in the lowering of blood pressure and the flowers at improving circulation to the peripheries. It is particularly beneficial for reductions of function due to old age, as opposed to the onset of any particular pathology. It will help to support heart regeneration and repair processes after infection, damage or surgery and sustain and gradually improve the overall function of the heart over time.
As hawthorn has such a profound action on the heart, which is a central organ to all metabolic functioning, it can encourage a regulatory effect throughout the body. Hawthorn is also a stimulant to the parasympathetic nervous system and can help to relieve anxiety and resulting palpitations or raised blood pressure.
Hawthorn helps to keep the heart healthy, minimising the risk of the onset of chronic degenerative conditions of the heart and cardiovascular system. It improves the availability and utilisation of energy within the blood and heart muscle improving its physical capabilities.
Heart & Cardiovascular: Indicated in coronary heart disease, cardiac weakness, palpitations, angina, hypertension, arrhythmia, atherosclerosis. Hawthorn will vitalise the blood, nourish and restore cardiac muscle and improve coronary circulation. It will also regulate the heartbeat and circulation of blood through the heart.
Heart & Urinary System: Indicated in cardiac oedema and hyperlipidaemia. Hawthorn stimulates the heart beat and circulation whilst also improving urination, removing fluid congestion and dissolving fatty deposits that may be affecting heart function.