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Hawthorn Su B

There’s a gorgeous display of hawthorn berries in the hedgerows lately; a heart-lifting sight as we move towards winter.

Hawthorn lifts the heart in more ways than one. The berries (and the flowers and leaves to a lesser extent) contain cardioactive glycosides that help to maximise the efficiency of the way the heart works. Minor arrhythmias can be smoothed out, and congestive heart failure can be relieved. It also supports efforts to normalise blood pressure – whether high or low – and can help with circulatory problems.

The flavonoids it contains help to maintain the health of the blood vessel walls, so it’s a good preventative and/or management tool for hardened arteries and varicose veins.

Altogether, a solid support for all kinds of cardiovascular problems. And when you combine it with herbs like yarrow or limeflowers for circulation and blood pressure, horsechestnut for varicose veins, or lily of the valley (use restricted to professional practitioners only) for heart failure, it becomes even more effective.

You can make tea from flowers, leaves or berries. Right now, you can gather berries by the bucketload, and dry them for use later on.

You can even make a sauce from them for strong-tasting meats like venison and pheasant; another kind of winter warmer.

EDITOR: Su has an excellent handbook available to buy from her website or from Amazon.

Meet The Author...
Su Bristow
Who Am I?
I studied at the School of Herbal Medicine for four years, and qualified in 1989, becoming a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists ( The road to herbal medicine led from my early interest in organic gardening and healthy eating, through the study of social and physical anthropology at Cambridge, where I specialised in medical anthropology. What fascinated me was how people deal with their health problems when they have only the natural resources around them, and their own ingenuity. I went on to learn massage and reflexology, and worked at a residential naturopathic clinic, where I learned about the use of diet and other natural ways of healing. After qualifying as a herbalist, I set up practice in mid-Devon. Since then I have continued to expand my expertise, with counselling skills, first aid, and knowledge of the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of herbal medicine. Besides one-to-one consultation, I have also taught evening classes, students of the Westcountry Massage Association, and various private courses.
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