Hawthorne Syrup: Good for the Heart
November is hawthorn berry season when they are perfectly ripe for picking. Hawthorne (Crateagus spp.) grows as a tree and shrub that is found throughout temperate regions of the northern hemisphere including the PNW. The hawthorn plant itself is full of amazing properties – use the flower and leaves in the springtime, and berries in the fall. This little berry is packed with Vitamins A,C,E and B1 as well as fiber, prebiotics, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese.
Good for the Heart
Hawthorn has been used to treat circulatory and respiratory illnesses since the 1800s. Studies have shown it can help decrease blood pressure by dilating blood vessels which can also help decrease angina, and can help with chronic heart failure by increasing the hearts function.1
Hawthorn also has antioxidant properties from it’s polyphenols, including oligomeric procyandins (OPC). OPC compounds have been shown the help with Type 2 Diabetes, asthma, improve blood flow by strengthening vasculature, easing inflammation and slowing premature aging.2
How to use Hawthorne berries
There are many ways to enjoy hawthorn berries. You can eat them raw, though not the most palatable, or you can infuse in tea, make jams/desserts, wine, vinegar, tincture or as a supplement. Talk to your naturopathic physician, especially if you are on any medications for your cardiovascular system, to see how hawthorn can benefit you.
Hawthorne Syrup Recipe
Here is a delicious hawthorn berry syrup that is easy to make and an excellent addition to anything you would add traditional maple syrup to. If you have access to fresh hawthorn consider yourself lucky and pick now. If you don’t have your own tree, visit your nearby herb store where they can be found dried.
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4 cups fresh hawthorn berries, washed or 2 cups dried.
3 cups water
2 Tbs (raw, local) honey, or more if desired
1 quick squeeze of lemon
Shake in additional spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, allspice and/or
cloves. This gives a touch of warmth and fall flavors with extra micronutrients.
Bring water and berries to a boil, then simmer for about 30-35 min. Stir often. After, use a
masher to mash up the berries. Continue to mash until berries have broken down. Simmer for
another 20 min. Add a little more water if you need.
Use a large fine-mesh strainer over a bowl to strain and mash liquid and pulp through with
wooden spoon. You won’t get all the pulp through and that is fine. You just need some to
make the syrup a little thicker.
Pour back into the pot and leave on the warm (but off) burner. Add honey, lemon and spices
and stir. You may need more or less honey depending on your desired level of sweetness.
Pour into sterile jar and place in the fridge. The syrup will continue to thicken a bit.