Food is medicine.
It’s true. What we put into our bodies will have consequences for our energy levels, ability to ward off diseases, and maintain homeostasis in our body’s systems. We know this immediately if we pay attention to how we feel after eating poorly or well — we are either drained or renewed, weighed down or weightless. And of course, there are new studies added almost every day that link poor diet to the diseases we see so frequently in our culture that often revolve around a cluster of symptoms we call metabolic syndrome.
Adding herbs to our diets is an easy way to benefit from their protective and healing properties. They can also taste delicious!
Today, I’d like to share a recipe that utilizes the heart-healthy properties of hawthorn.
Hawthorn is Good for You?
On a walk with my parents a month or so ago, we passed a hawthorn tree and (I think) I surprised them after mentioning that this relative of the rose (coming from the Rosaceae family which also contains apples, pears, cherries, and more) is edible and good for your heart.
Although you can just nibble on the fleshy part of a hawthorn berry (the seeds, like apple seeds, should not be eaten), it can be easier to include hawthorn in our diet in the form of teas, tinctures, or powders.
Hawthorn is particularly respected for its ability to protect and heal the heart. The berries, leaves, and flowers are all rich in bioflavonoids and proanthocyanins that help to protect the heart and keep it functioning properly. In particular, these constituents relax and dilate the arteries which helps to increase the flow of blood to heart muscles. The bioflavonoids and proanthocyanins are also highly antioxidant which helps to prevent or reduce degeneration of the blood vessels.
While being a valuable herb to help with overall heart function, hawthorn has been used more specifically to treat mild congestive heart failure, irregular heartbeat, and high blood pressure. It has also been used in treating angina and coronary artery disease.
Some herbalists also feel that hawthorn is good to use in blends when dealing with problems of “heart sickness” — when we’re feeling deep grief, loss, or even when coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
“Heart Your Heart” Herbal Sprinkles
Thankfully, I don’t have any serious heart conditions, but it’s always a good idea to incorporate food and herbs that will help protect this most vital of organs!
For this recipe, you’ll need:
- 2 parts hawthorn berry powder
- 1 part cinnamon powder
- 1/2 part ginger root powder
- 1/8 part cardamom powder
Using a tablespoon equal to one part, place each of the powders in a bowl and mix everything together.
Transfer the mixture to a re-used spice jar and keep it nearby when you’re cooking or eating.
My favorite way to use this powder is with my oatmeal in the morning. I just add a generous sprinkle along with a few raisins and I’ve got a very heart healthy breakfast!
I’ve also enjoyed it on cooked squash, or it can be sprinkled on toast, cold cereal, and more. Let me know what else you try.
Note: I am not suggesting that this powder will treat or cure any ailments. If you have any heart conditions or concerns, check with a medical doctor before trying herbal sprinkles. Also, thanks go to Rosemary Gladstar for inspiration with this mix.