Hawthorn – Crataegus laevigata
Hawthorn Leaf/Flower is also known as thornapple, May-tree, whitehorn, and hawberry. Many species of hawthorn have been used in traditional medicine. Hawthorn’s active ingredients are tannins, flavonoids, oligomeric proanthocyanidins, flavone-C, triterpene acids, and phenolic acids. Crataegus (/krəˈtiːɡəs/), (from the Greek κράτος kratos strength and άκης akis sharp, referring to the thorns of some species) commonly called hawthorn, thornapple, May-tree, whitethorn, or hawberry, is a large genus of shrubs and trees in the family Rosaceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Europe, Asia and North America. The name “hawthorn” was originally applied to the species native to northern Europe, especially the common hawthorn C. monogyna, and the unmodified name is often so used in Britain and Ireland. The name is now also applied to the entire genus and to the related Asian genus Rhaphiolepis. The name haw, originally an Old English term for hedge, applies to the fruit.
In the southern United States, fruits of three native species are collectively known as mayhaws and are made into jellies which are considered a great delicacy. The Kutenai people of northwestern North America used red and black hawthorn fruit for food. The fruits of Crataegus mexicana are known in Mexico as tejocotes and are eaten raw, cooked, or in jam during the winter months. They are stuffed in the piñatas broken during the traditional pre-Christmas celebration known as Las Posadas. They are also cooked with other fruits to prepare a Christmas punch. The mixture of tejocote paste, sugar, and chili powder produces a popular Mexican candy called rielitos, which is manufactured by several brands.
On Manitoulin Island in Canada, some red-fruited species are called hawberries. They are common there thanks to the island’s alkaline soil. During the pioneer days, white settlers ate these fruits during the winter as the only remaining food supply. People born on the island are now called “haweaters”. In Iran, the fruits of Crataegus (including Crataegus azarolus var. aronia, as well as other species) are known as zalzalak and are eaten raw as a snack, or made into a jam known by the same name.
Safety: Consult your physician before using this herb if you have high blood pressure or a heart condition because hawthorn compounds may increase the effects of pharmaceutical medications used to treat these conditions.
Country of origin: Chile