It’s been ages since I did a #DIYApothecary post, but I found myself really enraptured with a cup of herbal tea this morning and wanted to share. One of the many things I love about herbalism is the way that it encourages me to reflect upon the ways in which I am one drop in an ocean of history and herbal practice. Researching the properties and uses of various plants inevitably uncovers new information and shifts perspectives, and working with hawthorn has proved no exception.

First off, I want to reiterate that I am not a medical professional. This is for informational purposes only, and one should consult with a licensed medical professional when using herbal remedies to avoid adverse reactions, etc. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. With that out of the way, let’s enjoy a cup of tea! 

Today I’m enjoying a cup of hawthorn leaf tea, at the suggestion of my mother, who recommended it for its heart-healing properties (further evidence that I am one in a line of witches!). Hawthorn, or Crataegus as it is called in Latin, is native to the northern hemisphere and is found in Europe, North America, and Asia, and has been used in herbal medicine for centuries. Records indicate that Greek physician Dioscorides used it for treating heart ailments as early as the first century AD, and it is said to modulate blood pressure and increase blood flow to the heart. 

Anecdotally, hawthorn is also said to help soothe emotional pain and heartache, as well. An entry in ye olde Wikipedia offered a surprising insight: “The generic epithet, Crataegus, is derived from the Greek kratos ‘strength’ because of the great strength of the wood….” 

It takes great strength and courage to make ourselves vulnerable to others, just as it does to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off when we have been hurt. As we navigate the world, negotiating a balance between our logical minds and our tender hearts, let us take a moment to pause and appreciate this strange and beautiful muscle— one that, like any muscle, is made stronger through use.  And as we prepare for the shifting of the seasons, with shorter days and seasonal affective disorder impacting many of us, let us be gentle with ourselves and with others, perhaps sharing in a cup of hawthorn tea together… 🖤

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