Thursday, 1 May 2008


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)


Cheryl said...

Two minds with but a single thought. I am just putting together a hawthorn post for today or tomorrow.
I love the history, Hedgewitch, found that so interesting.
One tree, but we see it from different views, I love that.
I have used hawthorn medicinally for a long time now, it is a wonderful herb.

Lovely post for a wonderful native tree.

Dave Coulter said...

Very nice. There are some lovely old hawthorns that grow along the local river. Now that flood waters are gone I might be able to pay them a visit!

Hedgewitch said...

Thank you, cheryl.. I'm looking forward to reading your post :-) Its great to hear about different people's experiences using the herbs as remedies, and how effective they've found them.

Thanks, dave .. its great to see the blossom, isn't it?

Rose said...

Thanks for such an informative post. I wasn't aware the hawthorn had such an interesting history.

Hedgewitch said...

hi rose ... nice to see you!

Alchemille said...

If there is 1 tree I owe a lot to, it's hawthorn...

Hedgewitch said...

hello alchemille.. it is so great to hear about people's relationships with trees!

hawthorn is one i would like to get to know better :-)

Dave Coulter said...

Hedge, you might like these "across-the-pond" shots: