A top story in the news today – exercise can be ‘as good as pills’ for people with cardiovascular conditions. Well, that’s not a great surprise, but it did prompt me to think of the hawthorn berries I picked yesterday. Hawthorn leaves, flowers and berries have been used for hundreds of years as a supportive medicine for the heart, generally in elderly people. Called ‘the nurse of the heart’ it has many beneficial properties to help keep the heart and circulatory system healthy and many (mostly German) studies have shown in to be of benefit in those suffering from mild to moderate heart failure. It actually increases the efficiency of the heart muscle, reducing the amount of oxygen required, which is good news for those with angina; it dilates coronary arteries which supply the heart with oxygen and also aids tissue health therefore improving the health of blood vessels.
Hawthorn berries grow so widely and are easy to preserve. I dried mine in a warm oven (the lowest setting) and will cover them is vodka for 3 weeks before straining the fruit off to leave a tincture which will last for years!