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  • Laura

Matters of the heart - Hawthorn

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

It’s coming up on a year since my mother passed away unexpectedly. My dad passed away in 2017 and now my mom is gone, too. I know that death is inevitable and I am lucky to have had both my parents in my life well into my adulthood, but the pain is still there. The child inside longs to be able to call them up and share the latest news from my life. They really were amazing at making me feel loved and were my biggest cheerleaders in life.

Over the past year, I was the personal representative for my mom’s estate. For me, it was a good distraction to be able to focus on more business oriented tasks rather than be swimming in emotion all the time. But the emotions still flooded in from time to time. Who am I kidding, the emotions flooded in quite a bit. But I didn’t stuff them. I knew that they were part of the process and it was better to feel them and go through the journey rather than try to numb them.

It was a different story back when my dad passed away in 2017. The sadness definitely flooded in, but I tried to numb it. I knew it wasn’t healthy, but I was just so damn sad and didn’t want to feel it. Fatefully, the darkness that occurred for me after my dad died directly led me to my current path, where I find myself delving into herbalism.

Hawthorn flowers in May

So here I am today and I have many more tools when feeling overwhelmed by emotions. Specifically when experiencing grief, my go to plant is the Hawthorn tree (Crataegus spp). Hawthorn is part of the same family as the rose and has protective thorns growing on its branches so be careful when you’re harvesting its medicine. I am lucky to live on a property that has a number of Hawthorn trees growing on it and I get to harvest hawthorn medicine in the Spring, gathering leaves and flowers, and in the Winter, gathering the berries.

I find that I gravitate to using hawthorn in many of my tea blends and also recently made a tincture made of the leaves, flowers and berries from this last year’s harvest.

Hawthorn’s clinical uses all are focused around cardiovascular health, helping relax blood vessels and make the heart pump better. But it’s also known as a heart tonic and helps the spiritual heart as well, for strength and protection.

One of my favorite formulas with Hawthorn comes from my former teacher who also passed away last year, Chris Smaka. Thank you, Chris, for this recipe, which helped support me last year:

Equal parts:

  • Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.)

  • Albizia (Albizia julibrissin)

  • Rose (Rosa spp)

Most of the time, I made myself hawthorn and rose tea in a base of holy basil and then added a dropper of Albizia tincture. On other days, I had hawthorn tincture by itself and took a dropper a few times a day.

Even when not in grief, hawthorn is one of my favorite plants to have in my apothecary. Whenever someone is working on issues with self love, empathy, or compassion, hawthorn can often play a part in healing. And then there's the physical cardiovascular support is has been proven to provide. This is a plant worth knowing.

Ripe Hawthorn berries in December
Hawthorn berries in December


Botanical name: Crataegus spp

Family: Rosaceae

Parts Used: Flowers, leaves, berries

Energetics: Slightly warming, slightly damp (berries)

Clinical actions: Diuretic, astringent

Tissues affected: Cardiac muscles, arteries, nerves

Uses: Cardiotonic, cardioprotective, hypotensive, vital stimulant

Taste: Sweet (berries), sour (berries), astringent


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are You selling this herb at the moment

Replying to

We have this herb in tincture form. If you want some, please contact us directly. Or, if you'd prefer, we have a few bottles posted on our Esty store:

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