Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata)
Also known as May tree or Midland Hawthorne, the hawthorn is a common sight in the US and Europe. It is the source of the term "go a-maying," because that is what medieval knights and ladies said when they would gather branches of blossoms to decorate their homes. May was the time to think of love and fertility, and the herb became a part of that. The tree not only has lovely blossoms, but it forms red berries, or pomes later in the season. The branches are also covered with prickly thorns. It can remain a small shrub or grow to a height of 30 feet.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Hawthorn has been documented as being used for heart conditions since the first century. Today, the leaf and flower have both been used for congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease. It is sometimes used for hypertension and cardiac arrhythmia. It has also been used for digestive and kidney issues. Flowers and berries are astringent, and are useful for sore throats.
Externally Not used externally
Leaves, flowers, berries The leaves, flowers and berries are used to make tinctures, extracts, capsules and tablets.
While hawthorn is safe for long term usage, it is always wise to let your healthcare professional know what medications you are on to prevent interactions. This is especially true if you are on heart medications. It is safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Side effects may include dizziness, headache and upset stomach, though these sensations are infrequent.
Preparation and Dosage
Extracts and capsules are the most common form of this herb. The most common dosage for the extract is 80 to 300 mg two to three times per day. If you are using a traditional berry preparation, 4 to 5 ml of tincture two to three times per day. Hawthorn is slow to act and it may take a month or more for effects to be seen. It is safe for long term use.