Earthy, soft and dense; hawthorn berries are another sign that autumn is underway. They are figuring prominently in my foraging efforts (right up there with Rosehips) this year.

hawthornberryI have typically thought of Hawthorn berries as a medicinal intervention, until I recently came across a recipe for Hawthorn berry ketchup, which piqued my curiosity. Now, I’m excited to discover other Hawthorn recipes, like hawthorn pie and jam.
Hawthorn berries are the fruit of the white thorn tree, also called the May tree. They grace the forest path and tracks quite beautifully. I find them unassuming yet majestic all at the same time. Their white flowers of spring give way to the autumn red of their berries as they cycle through the seasons.

From a culinary perspective, hawthorn berries are apparently more versatile than I originally thought. They can be eaten raw or added to salads, soups, stews; or even made into jams, pies, and the infamous ketchup.

hawthornteaThe only warning is to be sure to remove the seeds as they contain cyanide and while it might take quite a few to cause an issue, it’s probably best not even entertained.

From a health perspective, hawthorn berries are about as heart friendly as it gets. I use them in tea as a replenishing drink during the summer and a digestive aid. Research demonstrates that hawthorn berries are beneficial for issues like angina, cardiac arrhythmia, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure and other nervous system related disorders that specifically involve the circulation and heart. They contribute to strengthening the walls, vessels, and veins of the heart and circulatory system.
They also have some pretty great liver protective qualities, benefiting individuals who suffer from hepatitis and other liver related disorders and they assist in the elimination of oxidative stress.
Hawthorn berries have an astringent quality as well as antispasmodic, diuretic and they are sedating so assist with anxiety. They are a good source of Vitamin C and B as well as a wide variety of phytonutrients like flavonoids and bioflavonoids.
As a Bach Flower Remedy, hawthorn helps ease emotional turmoil, soothing the heart and clarifying confusing thoughts.