Crataegus monogyna, C. laevigata (syn. C. oxyacantha)
Hawthorn is a superb heart and circulatory tonic, protecting and strengthening the heart muscle and its blood supply. It improves blood circulation around the body, and can be used to treat a
wide range of circulatory problems.
Hawthorn also affects the emotional side of what we think of as ‘heart’, by calming and reducing anxiety, helping with bad dreams and insomnia, and smoothing menopausal mood swings.
Description: Thorny shrubs or small trees with clusters of white or pink flowers in spring followed by deep red berries in autumn.
Habitat: Hedgerows, scrub and woodland margins.
Distribution: Hawthorn (C. monogyna) is common throughout the British Isles, while Midland hawthorn (C. laevigata) is found in south-eastern England, and occasionally naturalised elsewhere. They can be used interchangeably. The pink and red flowering hawthorns found in gardens and parkland are generally varieties of Midland hawthorn.
Related species: There are over 200 species worldwide, found in northern temperate regions. Several of these are planted as ornamentals in parks and gardens. Chinese haw (C. pinnatifidia) is used in Chinese medicine to calm the spirit.
Parts used: Flowering tops, leaves and ripe berries.