Original artwork © Ruby Clark 2011
Hawthorn Healing & Medicine
Hawthorn – in folklore & magic Opens the Heart – as it does in medicine
Leaves, flowers and fruits all have their place in herbal cures – infusions being used as a tonic to help with heart problems, angina, irregular or slow heart beat, poor circulation and high blood pressure. The berries contain Vitamins C and B complex.
Preparations of fruits and leaves have been proved to gradually improve and stabilize the movement of the heart muscle and to dilate small the blood vessels so enhancing the circulation. In Chinese medicine the berries are considered beneficial as a diuretic, to help with kidney stones, bladder problems as well as indigestion.
Hawthorn was one of the Ogham trees used as a remedy by the Druids – it’s thought that they gave it as a strengthening tonic in weakness and old age.
It is safe to make your own infusions and herbal teas with hawthorn – as the benefits are gentle and gradual, these should be drunk two or three times a day over at least three months for best effect.
A simple herbal tea .....
can be made by pouring boiling water into a cup with two teaspoons of crushed, dried berries, leaving it for 20 minutes or so to infuse, stirring occasionally, then straining before drinking. Sweeten with honey if liked. Dried leaves or dried or fresh blossom can also be used.
*** not recommended if taking any other medicine for hypertension / high blood pressure
Hawthorn Spirituality & Folklore
Part of the ancient and sacred triad of ‘Oak, Ash and Thorn’ the Hawthorn is a tree of magic and enchantment, though throughout the ages it has given very mixed messages of fertility and chastity.
In the past, a real fear of faerie folk was common, and the scraps of ragged cloth and other little trinkets tied on the branches were gifts to appease them. Often planted to mark and protect holy wells, the thorn trees are still decorated, petitioned and venerated as ‘Cloutie Trees’ to this day. ('Cloutie' meaning 'rags or ragged cloth')
Much of the folklore attached to it seems to come from the fact that the tree is smothered in long branches of early, white blossom around the time of Beltane – the First of May. If this seems early and the blossom is not ready – remember that the British calendar was changed and went forward 12 / 13 days in 1752 – trees have long memories and so work to the ancient dates! This is evident too in Hawthorn’s place in the Ogham Tree Calendar – beginning now on 13th May – it would once have started on May 1st.
At Beltane – ‘The Greening’ - the symbolism of the Hawthorn, or May Tree, as being able to ‘open the heart’ is not lost in the celebrations where fertility as seen in the old Maypole dances was key. Fertility for the people and for the land. The poles were cut and brought into the villages each year, ready to be decked with long ribbons and garlands of Hawthorn as the centre of festivities.
Ruling Planet: Mars