Its true, I'm way way behind on herbal ally challenges, and I have come to accept that I probably won't be able to do all of them over the course of the year. So be it. I'l do what I can, and what inspires me.
Starting hawthorn seeds just seems impractical and silly to me right now- i have no where to plant them, they take lots of scarification and freezing (too late for that this year) and I'm moving soon, and moving with too many flats of seeds is not my idea of fun.
But I am happy to report that despite my beliefs about what I thought I knew, researching my hawthorn ally resulted in some rather astounding discoveries and rememberences about this plant.
I looked in three books and was reminded that hawthorn berry's traditional use in China was as a digestive tonic. It addresses "food stagnantion", when your food just sits and doesn't digest, blocking up the channels of elimination and assimilation. Not a good thing. Chinese hawthorn berries are sour, chewy and very tasty. I remember snacking on them in herb school at NAIMH. But along with this recall, the digestive effects of hawthorn go deeper and are more versatile than I thought. Hawthorn is excellent to address heat in the digestive tract, and all the mucous membranes- resulting from inflammed gut tissues from food allergies. It reduces congestion and heat in the blood and can be useful for varisocosities- think of hawthorn for hemorrhoids accompanied by stagnant heat, and improves the metabolism and assimiliation of lipids/fats.
This heat reducing ability also applies the the respiratory tract mucous membranes, and we use it often in asthma, especially when it is accompanied by over excitability, ADHD like symptoms or grief manifesting as acting out.
Of course it is well known for its use as a heart tonic, but did you know that use only started in about 1895 in Europe. Prior to that hawthorn was mostly a food, served with meat, to improve digestion.
I've also made my hawthorn BERRY vinegar. I'm totally out of berries and leaves right now, they are on their way from Pacific Botanicals, but in the meantime, I haven't made any other preparations. The vinegar is delicious, ruby red, sour sweet. It makes me want to turn it into a shrub. Hawthorn berry shrub. Yes.
Thats on my list of things to do. Especially if I get lucky enough to get fresh hawthorn fruit this summer! I'm loving herbal vinegars more and more, as I stray away from traditional modern herbal preparation of tinctures. How to use herbs in food more and more is my song...I guess.
Great vinegar to clear summer heat- or just too much heat in general that results in a racing, pounding heart. Or the overwhelming grief and heartache I'm seemingly experiencing this year.