Common names: May, Haw, Whitehorn, Hagthorn
Habitat: Common in Britain, Europe and USA.
Part used: Berries, leaf tops and flowers.
Actions of Hawthorn: Cardiac tonic, vasodilatory, hypotensive, antisclerotic.
Hawthorn leaves, flowers and berries, have a beneficial action on blood flow, blood pressure and heart rate, and hawthorn is one of the best tonics for the heart and circulatory system. The shrub contains what are known as flavonoids (nineteen in all have been found, including Rutin). These flavonoids have the distinct action of dilating the peripheral blood vessels (an action very often induced with drugs in cases of navicular syndrome), which will improve blood supply to affected areas. The incredible feature of this plant is that it has the ability to normalise blood pressure. The hawthorn is well known in the UK and is steeped in folklore. It was said that a mare’s afterbirth should be draped over either a hawthorn or a holly to ensure good luck.
Hilary Self BSc.MNIMH. Hilary is a Medical Herbalist who writes about the practical application of herbs and natural healthcare for horses and pets.