Hawthorne is my favorite tree (at least today it is). Not only does she grow beautifully with strong dancing branches, but she also produces a powerful medicine with the berries. Being a part of the Roseaceae family, Hawthorne adorns beautiful pink flowers in the spring. She is most reknowned as the heart herb, or cardiotonic.
Hawthorne is high in flavoniods, anthocyanidins and proanthocyanidins which have a stabilizing effect on capillaries/blood vessels. This makes it useful in hyper- and hypo-tension, elevated cholesterol, chest pain and arterioclerosis. She is a natural calcium channel blocker (ex. Verapamil) as well as ACE inhibitor (ex. Lisinopril) lowering blood pressure and strengthening heart muscle function. Hawthorne is also supplemented in circulatory disease, cardiac heart failure and dyspnea, inflammation of the heart and tachycardia.
Can you sense the theme? With all its affinity for the heart, Hawthorne is also used emotionally/spiritually for depression of the heart chakra. She is a big hug for a sad soul. Many people with anxiety, insomnia and heart-break find it soothing and uplifting.
The berries can be harvested when ripe in the early fall. They can be cooked or used raw or dry. Many people make strained jellies/jams from them. Hawthorne's flowers are harvested in the spring and make a delicious tea- infuse in hot water for a heart-warming diuretic (circulatory cleanser). The leaves are often picked and chewed for calming the stomach. Leaf-buds can also be stewed down and added to chilis or soups (tastes like lima bean).
Portland is lucky to have Hawthorne trees growing everywhere, hence the popular Hawthorne Street in Southeast. Even though we get a lot of rain, I am grateful for every drop. Trees, shrubs, flowers and food. The abundance of green makes it all worth it.
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!
Love your heart, and above all, just love.