By Katie Browning, certified herbalist

Herb of the Month Hawthorn Tree, Crataegus spp., Rosaceae family

Parts used: Leaf, Flower & Berry

Medicinal Properties: Strengthens the heart and cardiovascular system, balances blood pressure, good digestive (helps breakdown fats), serves to calm heart palpitations and nervous disorders such as restlessness and insomnia, astringent (diarrhea) and diuretic.

Preparations & Applications: Tea — infusion/decoction, syrup, honey-brandy (elixir), tincture or bath.

Hawthorn is a beautiful and sacred tree in the rose family that originates in northern Europe. Crataegus produces a gorgeous white flower around the beginning of May and is associated with Mayday fertility and marriage rites. In the fall the brilliant red berries infuse love and protection into the heart. Hawthorn used medicinally strengthens the heart and cardiovascular system, balances blood pressure, serves to calm heart palpitations, nervous disorders, restlessness, insomnia and is astringent, diuretic and digestive. The leaves and flowers can be prepared as an infusion, tincture or bath and the berries are great as a decoction syrup, tincture, honey or my personal favorite — a brandy elixir!