Hawthorn, May tree, Crataegus laevigata, Herb, Herbal Remedy

Hawthorn, May tree, Crataegus laevigata, Herb, Herbal Remedy

Crataegus laevigata (C. oxyacantha) Rosaceae Also called May tree, Midland hawthorn.
Widely used as hedging throughout Ellrope, the bushy hawthorn, or May tree, can reach 10m in height. According to country folklore the but putrid scent was beqlleathed by the Great Plague.

Parts used

  • Flowers and berries
  • The flowers quickly spoil and must be picked while in bud or just before they open.
  • The flowers must not be allowed to lose their scent.
  • They are spread out in thin layers on cloth and dried away from sunlight in a well-aired place.
  • Both berries and flowers are used in infusions, capsules and tinctures.


The hawthorn flower contains aromatic amines such as tyramine, which are known to be good for the heart. It also contains flavonoids antioxidants that dilate and protect blood vessels and help to prevent cardiovascular disease. The berries contain anthocyan ins - pigments that are thought to be helpful in maintaining healthy blood vessels.

Medicinal uses

The use of hawthorn for medicinal purposes dates back to the Middle Ages. At first, only the fruits were used but today both fruits and flowers are known to have beneficial properties. Traditionally, hawthorn was recommended for angina, hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure and heart palpitations.

Hawthorn's effects on the heart and circulatory system have been the subject of extensive research - and scientists have proved its usefulness in the treatment of cardiovascular illnesses. It strengthens the heart and encourages a regular heartbeat. It improves the flow of blood to the heart and, by relaxing the involuntary muscles, helps to lower blood pressure. It dilates the blood cells and reduces the capillaries' resistance to blood flow: this effect was demonstrated in animal trials conducted in France in 1985. And finally, by reducing heart palpitations, hawthorn has a calming effect on the central nervous system.
Herbalists prescribe hawthorn for rapid or irregular heartbeat. It is also recommended as a tonic for a weak heart - such as the tired heart of a very old person. Hawthorn may also be prescribed, in combination with valerian, for minor sleeping disorders in both adults and children.


Hawthorn is a long-term preventative remedy. Do not attempt to treat any form of heart disease without consulting a doctor.

Large amounts may cause drowsiness: avoid driving.


Hawthorn can be grown from cuttings. It is very hardy and tolerates most soils. but prefers an alkaline, rich, moist loam.


For internal use

TO TREAT rapid and irregular heartbeat, weak heart (as a tonic), minor sleeping problems INFUSION Put 1-2 teaspoons of dried flowerheads into a cup of boiling water. Cover, infuse for 10 minutes, then strain. Drink 2-3 cups a day for three weeks out of every four.

TINCTURE 1:4 in 25% alcohol Take 20 drops with water after meals three times a day.



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