Hawthorn is easily the most loved herb for the heart. It nourishes and protects the heart, and has a rich history that is centuries old. Hawthorn can be found in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Europe, Asia, North Africa and North America. The Oregon Trail Pioneers would have found this wonderful herb all along the trail.
Botanically Speaking, there are over 280 species of hawthorn trees growing around the world. Many are used interchangeably. Hawthorn is from the Rosaceae family.
The pioneers would have carried this herb with them on the trail to use for someone who had had a severe scare and for someone dealing with grief. It was also great for the gut when it was out of sorts. Hawthorn has been known to strengthen the heart and reduce blood pressure.
When using Hawthorn, the pioneers would have dried the leaves, flowers and berries for a wonderful tea. The berries can be soaked in 80 proof alcohol to make an herbal tincture. The berries can be eaten in the fall when ripe as a food.
For centuries Hawthorn has been immersed with mystery and folklore. In the spring its branches are filled with white to pink blossoms which attract countless pollinators. Depending on the location, hawthorn is often found blooming in late April and early May.It has long been associated with Beltane the cross quarter holiday between the spring and summer equinox.
"The First herb I think of in connection with the health of our dear hearts is the sacred hawthorn tree, beloved of the mischievous faeries and all who believe that a life devoid of magic is not really worth living." (Robin Rose Bennet, The Gift of Healing Herbs)
There are over 280 species of Hawthorne trees growing around the world. So the Oregon Trail Pioneers would have found some trees all the way along the trail.