" Hawthorn, white and odorous with blossom, framing the quiet fields, and swaying flowers and grasses, and the hum of bees." - F. S. Flint
Hawthorn was one of the first herbs that I learned about when I was going to school at Dominion. I remember thinking nothing of it, save for the fact that I loved how bright and vibrant the berry was, and enjoyed the fact that it was an herb that changed its useful parts with the season. In spring one uses the flowers and leaves, and in early fall one harvests the berries.
It was not until my third year of schooling when I was doing my clinical hours with our clinic director that I had my first real introduction to this amazing ally. I recall that we had a pretty intensive cardiovascular day. We were covering examinations, pathologies, anatomy, and reviewing appropriate herbs, dose, and methods of effect in the body. During this time our clinic director started having benign heart palpitations which she asked us to listen to. I remember clearly hearing the difference between a regular beat and the slight pause in her rhythm as she allowed all of the students to listen. I also recall the knowing smile on her face as she said "Now, let me take a dose of hawthorn, lets wait a few minutes and we will listen again". It was perhaps fifteen minutes later that she invited us to listen to her heart again. Sure enough, it was the steady glug-glug of a regular heart beat.
I understand that this is a singular case situation and that this herb is not appropriate in all cases or all individuals, and that results are not always the same. However, the experience of it really offered me perspective on the beautiful relationship between human health and plants. Since then, this has been my go to herb for so many issues related to general cardiovascular health, including using it on myself.
Now that we are in the season of a new kind of Christmas, I feel that hawthorn again is an excellent herb to be thinking of this time of year. Due to struggles with COVID, the inability to see family members, or to share in our usual traditions, can leave some of us feeling sick in our hearts, or in some cases even heart broken. This is of course not the same as a physical issue, but the bright red of the hawthorn berry, and the memory of its soft blossoms in spring reminds me that change is coming.
With that in mind, I welcome you to explore this beautiful herbal ally and to enjoy this materia medica printable.
Wishing you the very best over the holidays,
Petra Sovcov is not a Medical Doctor (MD) nor a Naturopath (ND), she is a Clinical Herbal Therapist (CHT) and holds a Doctorate in Natural Medicine (DNM). The suggestions or recommendations made on this site are not meant to be a substitute for advice from your MD, or as a substitute for any prescriptions you may be taking. Suggestions followed will be the responsibility of the reader, and are stated with the intention of interest and education only. If you have a health issue, please see your primary care physician (MD) first and foremost.