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Hawthorn, Crataegus (lat.)
For medicinal purposes mainly the flowers and the ripe fruit are being used. The flowers are gathered before they fully blossom; the fruit is gathered in autumn, when it is completely ripe. In order for flowers not to dry and not lose their natural look, they should not be gathered in the morning dew or after rain. Only the flowers gathered in dry, sunny weather, can be dried in cool place layered on a piece of paper. When dry, the flowers can be stored in boxes in dry and semi dark conditions. In a similar way the fruit is being gathered and stored. The stored fruit and flowers can be kept for two years. The medicinal purposes of hawthorn were known from 1st century BC, mentioned by the Greek doctor Diokorid. In the modern times people use the fruit and the flowers for tea to cure a number of heart related diseases, dizziness, cough, sleeplessness, etc. Avicenna has used the plant for oral and throat diseases as well as for sharp stomachaches. The extract of hawthorn seeds is known to strengthen gums and teeth.
According to the laboratory of pharmacology of the Institute of medicinal and aromatic plants of the USSR, the use of hawthorn preparations has decreased the number of atherosclerosis diseases among animals, as well as the amount of cholesterol in blood, blood pressure has stabilized, lipoid substances have decreased in organism. Animals not given hawthorn preparations lacked the positive changes.
Hawthorn preparations have been widely used in scientific medicine for a very long time. Many clinical studies have proven that the medicine made from haw and flowers is good for heart; they improve the blood circulation of heart and brains, are good for vessel spasm, pains and heaviness around heart, they normalize high blood pressure and the heartbeat rhythm, have long term relaxing affect. Thus, the extracts and decoctions of haw and the flowers are widely used in cases of functional heart diseases (angioneurosis), post-infection weaknesses, initial forms o hypertonic diseases, hypertireosis, arrhythmia, paroxysmal tachycardia, etc. According to W. Shonenberger, these preparations are good for heart weakness, overtiredness, and heart problems related to age. According to the author, these all are due to flavonoids, the red substance the plant contains. This substance widens the artery, improves supply to myocardium, as well as oxygen supply, at the same time stabilizing the heartbeat rhythm and blood pressure. Along with fruits and flowers, the hawthorn leaves and the cortex of young branches are also used for the same purpose in France mainly in case of diarrhea and fever. The regular use of hawthorn preparation for 1-2 month provides good results in case of hypertonic diseases and heart neurocirculatory distonia, reducing or eliminating excessive heartbeat, extremity numbness, aches and heaviness around the heart, and headaches. It normalizes sleep, raises the mood, stabilizes pulse and blood pressure, etc.
To make an extract from the fruit, one table-spoon of dry fruit is mixed with one cup of hot water for two hours. Have a table-spoon of it, 3-4 times a day. To make a decoction, 20 grams of dry fruit is mixed with one cup of hot water and boiled for 5 minutes. This should be drunk as tea. To make a decoction from flowers, 3 table-spoons is mixed with 3 cups of hot water and boiled for 5 minutes, and then drunken one cup, three times a day as tea.
To make a squeeze from haw, 25 grams fruit should be taken, added with 100 ml water, boiled until the water halves, then drunken 20-40 drops before eating, three times a day. To make an alcohol extract from the flowers, 1 portion of flower juice (from fresh flowers) should be mixed with 2 portions of 90 degree wine spirit, left for 15 days. This should be drunken 40 drops, 3 times a day. To make an alcohol extract from the fruits, 25 grams of dry fruit should be mixed with 100 ml 90-degree wine spirit and use in 15 days, 30-40 drops, 3 times a day, before eating.
20 grams of hawthorn flowers, 20 grams of valerian root, and 30 grams of mint is mixed to cure hepatitis. Two tea-spoons of this mixture is mixed with 1 cup of hot water for 30 minutes, and drunken as tea in the mornings and evenings.
These are folk remedies and are no guarantee is made as to either their effectiveness, or their safety.