We have found the best herb book ever, it’s called by two titles, Backyard Medicine (USA) or Hedgerow Medicine (UK) byJulie Bruton-Seal & Matthew Seal. It’s great because it uses a lot of the wild plants we are familiar with, & also uses  Wise Woman methods which don’t require a lot of faffing about. Hawthorn is an amazing plant, especially good for heart & blood pressure problems. I get a lot of arrythmia or erratic heart beats, & was prescribed Beta Blockers, but the list of potential side effects was very scary, so I started to look at natural remedies. Hawthorn has come up trumps, but anyone who is on heart medication needs to be supervised by a herbal or medical professional.

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Hawthorn can be turned into a tincture, by chopping the berries up with vodka, & leaving in a cool dark place for several weeks, you can also start with a tincture of flowers & then add that to the berries. A cheaper method is to make fruit leather. Pick through the ripe berries, discarding any discoloured or mouldy looking ones, rinse in a colander & measure. Put in a saucepan with slightly less than  half their volume in water, bring to the boil & simmer for 15 minutes.

Mash the pulp & rub through a sieve, we add a tablespoon of raw sugar per cup of berries. If the mix is too sloppy evaporate a bit more moisture before spreading onto the dehydrator sheets. Lightly oil the sheets, & spread the mix, setting the temp at  about 60 degrees C. Run  the dehydrator until the leather is dry & comes away from the sheet, ours takes about 4 hours.  If you don’t have a dehydrator you can dry the pulp on a baking sheet in a warm oven. The dosage is one square inch a day!! Sometimes I take 2 or 3 if my heart is particularly bumpy.

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This acts as a heart & circulatory tonic, & also calms the spirit, easing anxiety & restlessness.

I’ve also made a tincture with the fruit, whizzed up in a blender with vodka. In October I made a separate tincture with the flowers, now at the end of Nov, I’m planning to mix the two together to use when I run out of fruit leather. Here are some photos of the Hawthorn flowers & leaves, it’s a lovely plant.

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