FEBRUARY 28: Hawthorn (Crataegus)
It is a thorny deciduous tree, native to Europe. While the flowers, leaves, and even the bark have been used medicinally, the bright red berries are the part most commonly used. In Ancient Britain, the hard wood of hawthorn and the berries were thought to have magical powers.
While it contains a number of medicinally active constituents, most attention has been focused on the cardiovascular properties of a few. Specific extracts of Hawthorn have been shown to increase the blood flow to the heart muscle, protect the heart muscle from decreased blood flow, increase the refractory time (rest time) between heart beats, and decrease the potential for arrhythmia. In addition, the antioxidant properties of Hawthorn extracts protect the cells from oxidative damage. Hawthorn extracts are most often used in cases of hypertension (high blood pressure), hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), and most frequently in mild cases of congestive heart failure.
To find out if Hawthorn is an appropriate form of treatment for you, please come in to see us for an initial consultation!
-Karen Hack, BHSc, ND
50 Most Common Medicinal Herbs; Boon, Smith; The Institute of Naturopathic Education and Research, 2004.