Also known as ‘may’, Hawthorn has long been considered sacred and the custom of going ‘a-maying’ and choosing a May Queen pre-dates Christianity. The hawthorn has a close association with crowns, most significantly with Christ’s crown of thorns, but also with the English succession, as Richard III’s crown was found hanging on a hawthorn bush after the battle of Bosworth. The name ‘hawthorn’ reflects its habit and history, as ‘haw’ is an old word for ‘hedge’.
Hawthorn was traditionally used to treat kidney and bladder problems, but since the late 19th century its main application has been as a heart remedy and today it is used to treat heart and circulatory problems. An infusion of flowering tops can be used for poor circulation and a decoction of the flowers and berries, both astringent, will treat sore throats.
An aromatic, diuretic, astringent, tonic, warming herb which improves peripheral circulation, regulates heart rate and blood pressure.
Flowers May - June
PLEASE NOTE: These notes on the history and use of herbs have been compiled for general interest and are not intended as medical advice, for which you should consult a professional herbalist.
‘Herbs and Healing Plants of Britain and Europe’ Dieter Podlech (1987)
'A Modern Herbal' Mrs M. Grieve FRHS ed. Mrs C. F. Leyel (1973)
'The Herb Society's Complete Medicinal Herbal' Penelope Ody MNIMH (1993)
'RHS Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses' Deni Brown (2002)